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Painting the
Black Box Combat Series

1/32 F/A-18C Cockpit
Part One

by Dave Roof


Close-Up of  1/32 Scale F/A-18C Seat


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Here is the F/A-18C cockpit painted and ready for installation. I will also point out assembly tips to assist those modelers that may need them. This is only one of literally dozens of ways to paint, assemble and install a cockpit. I hope what I have done will be useful to others.



Painting the Combat Series F/A-18C Cockpit

1. The Instrument panel and foot pedals

First, remove the panel and the foot pedals from the carrier blocks. Be very careful removing the pedals. I used a scalpel to gently press in between the pedal and carrier block until the parts separated, then cleaned them up with a sanding stick.

The panel and pedals were then airbrushed with Model Master Enamel FS 36231. I let that dry overnight, then applied a gloss coat using Pollyscale Acrylic Gloss. After that dried overnight, I applied a wash of Humbrol Flat Black (33) to the instrument dials, CRT displays, and HUD control panel. Once the wash dried to the touch, I followed with thinned Humbrol Black and painted the areas that received the wash.

After the black had dried overnight, I airbrushed the panel with Pollyscale Flat Coat, then followed it up with a dry brushing of MM Enamel FS 36375. All of the switches were picked out using Humbrol Light Compass Ghost Gray (127), MM Enamel Silver FS 17178, and Yellow craft paint from Wal-Mart.

I painted the inside of the CRT displays Clear Green from Tamiya and all of the dial faces received Tamiya Gloss to represent the glass. The pedals just received a dry brushing.

The screens for the CRT displays? Well, you’ll have to wait a few more days for that secret! No, they are not painted. Yes, they change colors (look at the various photos I have provided) depending on the light and angle they are viewed from.

Once the instrument panel was finished, I attached the foot pedals and set it a side.

**NOTE: Look at where the pedals attach to the base of the instrument panel! The instructions are wrong and have you glue them to the disc closer to the pilot. This is being corrected, but is noted here in case you get the incorrect instruction sheet.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


2. The Cockpit Tub

The tub was painted using the same techniques as the instrument panel, and was done at the same time. The Orange ‘tube’ is really a cable that is covered with an Orange colored tape. The Orange is actually Humbrol Matt Red Brown (100). The cannon plug on top of the Black box on the aft bulkhead is painted with MM Enamel SAC Bomber Tan FS 34201. I found this color to be an almost perfect match for that particular item.



As I have stated before, Jef got this cockpit correct down to the rivet pattern on the deck and aft bulkhead. If you had the inclination to depict your Hornet in a maintenance setting with the seat out, all of the detail in the real thing would be visible.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


3. The ‘Hell Hole’ (Avionics Bay)

Once again, the same painting techniques that were used for the panel and tub were used here.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


4. The SJU-17 NACES Ejection Seat

The ejection seat and rocket tube were airbrushed Tamiya XF69 NATO Flat Black. Once that dried overnight, I gave it a clear gloss coat using Pollyscale Gloss.

After the Gloss dried overnight, I gave the seat a wash using Humbrol Flat Black (very subtle, but noticeable). The seat cushion was painted using Model Master Enamel SAC Bomber Tan and lightly dry brushed with MM Flat White.

The seat belts were painted with SAC Bomber Tan lightened with White, and the buckles were painted Flat Black. The harnesses were painted with Humbrol Matt Uniform Green (76) and MM Enamel Intermediate Blue FS 35164.

Once everything had dried, a coat of Pollyscale Flat was applied. A dry brushing of MM Enamel FS 36375 and Flat white finished the seat.

The ejection pull ring was made from fine copper wire bent to shape around a piece of styrene rod. It was then dipped in Yellow paint. Once dry, the rings were painted with Flat Black. It was then super glued to the seat.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


5. Sidewalls and Other Cockpit Items

The side walls, top of the control stick, map case cover, avionics boxes, and throttle were all airbrushed Tamiya XF69 NATO Black. The base of the control stick was painted FS 36231 and given a wash using Black. Once dry, all of the parts were given a dry brushing of MM Enamel FS 36375 and set aside.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Click Here to go to Part Two

Click Here to go to Part Three

Text and Images Copyright © 2003 by Dave Roof
Page Created 06 July, 2003
Last updated 17 March, 2004

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