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Academy's 1/32 scale
F/A-18C Hornet

by Esteban Murador


F/A-18C Hornet
Captain "Brick" Nelson and Captain "Killer" Kilkenny of VFA-37 Bulls, USS Enterprise, Operation Desert Fox, 1999


Academy's 1/32 scale F/A-18C Hornet is available online from Squadron




The "Three Seven" was established as an A-7 Corsair II attack squadron in July of 1966.

Today, this Navy strike fighter squadron, known as the VFA-37 "Ragin' Bulls" use the powerful F-18 Hornet for training and missions. In 1999, the Bulls participated in operation "Desert Fox" and flew successful missions without any friendly losses. Later, the Bulls joined other squadrons to spearhead combat missions during operation "Iraqi Freedom", participating in the "Shock and Awe" campaign in southern Iraq before shifting focus to assisting U.S. forces in northern Iraq.

The squadron returned home to Virginia in 2003 for continued training.


Intended to replace the A-7 Corsair, the F-4 Phantom, and the powerful F-14 Tomcat, the F/A-18 Hornet was created to perform as a multi role fighter. Serving as fighter escort, reconnaissance, close air support, forward air control, enemy air defence suppressant and utilized for day and night strike missions, the Hornet has proven to be the most versatile combat aircraft in service today. With its great structure and performance, the Hornet has become one of the most exciting aircrafts to see at air shows.

I used Academy’s 1/32 kit to produce this wonderful looking jet. This special project, consisting of about 150 hours of detailed labour, is undeniably my favourite jet project ever. I hope everybody enjoys these photos as much as I enjoyed building the Hornet.

You can see more images of this aircraft at http://www.ModelAces.com/





I started off with the Cutting Edge 1/32 super detailed resin cockpit set. After about 45 hours of tedious labour, the cockpit for this aircraft looked absolutely stunning.



The ejection seat was airbrushed Flat Black. The colour used on the cushion is Olive Drab while a Medium Grey, very similar to the fuselage, was used on the seatbelts. The colour scheme is very accurate, as research was completed before hand and reference photos were utilized for the correct colour of the seatbelts. The buckles were painted silver, as most buckles are, and a lot of attention went into the painting of the dashboard. Once completed, I attached radar screen images on the back of the clear parts for a realistic appearance.

The electronic bay is fully detailed. This area was painted as per the interior colour, Dark Gull Grey.



The electronic boxes were painted to match photo references I used for this compartment and, to make it look like the actual aircraft, a net was carefully cut out to match the opening of the bay area.



Painting and Markings


Upon completing the model, I painted the entire aircraft Flat Black and permitted a substantial amount of time for drying. Then, using low pressure on my compressor, I painted the Navy Tactical scheme; Dark Ghost Grey on the upper surface and Light Ghost Grey on the under surface. The tails were also painted Flat Black then applied a coat of Light Ghost Grey. This was done to achieve the faded look between panel lines. The wheel well bay and landing gear received the same attention. They were initially painted Flat Black, then, with low pressure on my compressor, I applied Flat White. This made the raised areas and corners of the gears and bays look dirty.



Sometimes, when applying Future, you tend to lose engraved details. So I decided to try something new [see dictionary under ‘insane’] and it turned out to be extremely effective. Once the paint scheme was completely dry, I used a modeling knife and started running it down all the panel lines. The greys were accurately scraped off, revealing the underlying black. Without having to apply a wash, I achieved the appearance of dirty panel lines. I used the same method to create the rivets, but instead of a modeling knife, I used a pin vise. This took a VERY LONG TIME, going after every single rivet, from the fuselage, upper and under surfaces of the wings to both sides of the tails. But, at the end, the results are FABULOUS! Now you can apply as much Future as you want for the decals without losing any detail.

Armament and Extras

Assembling the armament can sometimes be a huge hassle, but again, the results can be stunning. I installed two GBU-24 Paveway III missiles in Olive Drab, one AGM-88 Harm missile in Flat White, one AGM-84D Harpoon missile in Flat White and two Live AIM–9L Sidewinders with all the proper markings.



To finish, the "Remove Before Flight" tags were installed on all the appropriate sections; inside the cockpit, fuel tank, missiles, etc.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by Esteban Murador
Page Created 24 November, 2006
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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