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F/A-18C Hornet

by Mike Grant


F/A-18C Hornet


 Hasegawa's 1/48 scale F/A-18C Hornet is available online from Squadron




This Hasegawa 1/48 F/A-18C was built for a U.S. Marines pilot to represent an aircraft from his squadron, VMFA-115. When I agreed to do it I envisaged a straight-forward out-of-box build, though it turned out to be neither.

I found the Hasegawa kit to be very nicely detailed but poorly engineered. The fit of the rear fuselage parts and intakes was particularly troublesome, and the separate nose section created a nasty seam that took a long time to eradicate. Interestingly most on-line reviews/builds of this kit make no mention of similar problems so perhaps I got a bad copy of the kit (or am just inept).

I was quite prepared to use the kit cockpit until I found pictures of Fred List's superb model on HyperScale ( http://www.kitparade.com/features01/fa18cfl_1.htm ). Fred used a Black Box cockpit and I was inspired to do the same.



At this point the buyer contacted me with a very specific weapons load request, and I had to purchase SOL resin AIM-120s and borrow items from a friend's Hasegawa weapons set to comply. The 1,000lb bombs didn't come with the ablative coating so I used MiG-Productions' acrylic resin to stipple on the distinctive fire-retardant texture. Assembling/painting/decalling the weapons and pylons took 6 long evenings of work, I'd forgotten just how labour-intensive modern jets can be.



Painting and Markings



The model was painted with Polly Scale acrylics, thinned with Future/alcohol and lightened with 50% white. I did some dark grey pre-shading but very selectively, trying to avoid the circuit-board look which can occur when every single line is shaded. After a few coats of Future I painted the panel lines with watercolours, varying the colour between browns, greys and blues. I then airbrushed some streaks and post-shading, then applied further streaking with watercolour and a fine brush.


I'd found a set of Hi-Decal decals which included a VMA-115 aircraft and had duly ordered the sheet, along with the accompanying set of stencil data.

The day they arrived the buyer e-mailed me some photos of the exact aircraft he wanted depicting, so I consigned the Hi-Decal sheet to the spares box and proceeded to create a custom set to his requirements. Although the ALPS struggles to create greys they turned out acceptably and once on the kit, the half-tone dots become virtually invisible.



I still intended to use the HD stencils but they proved quite inflexible and, short of using a staple-gun as a solvent, would not conform to even the slightest curve. In the end I left most stencils off. (Had I bought a Hasegawa kit in USMC markings I could have at least used the kit stencils but in my infinite wisdom I'd bought a Canadian AF boxing of the kit) I did create the walk-way decals, applying scuff marks and wear-and-tear in Photoshop before printing them.

The photos depict the aircraft 99% complete, I still have to add bomb fuses and a few aerials.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2004 by Mike Grant
Page Created 25 March, 2004
Last Updated 25 March, 2004

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