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Royal Navy FRS 1 Sea Vespid

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The story starts in 2010 when the British Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review recommended the installation of CATOBAR on the two new aircraft carriers being build by BAe Systems and VT Group, so that the more capable F-35C version of the Joint Strike Fighter could be used and to preserve cross-platform utilisation with the French and US Navies. BAe Systems calculated the projected costs of installing this system to be twice the estimates given in the Defence Review. This projected cost was rejected by ministers and BAe Systems told to stop taking the piddle and just do it. (This is of course a complete fantasy, but one can wish!).

Fast forward to 2014 - the cost of conversion to CATOBAR ends up being a fraction of the cost BAe Systems quoted and senior management in the company are hauled into court to face charges of attempting to defraud the taxpayer (see I told you it was a fantasy!). The problem now is the F-35 programme is vastly overdue. Problems getting the F 35B STOVL version working in a safe and reliable manner have pushed back the development of the carrier version, which has seen its own share of problems due to the short distance between the main landing gear and the rear of the aircraft. With only 2 years left before HMS Queen Elizabeth is launched, it has no combat aircraft to fly from its deck.

The Ministry of Defence suddenly discovers a long dormant stain of common sense (yet more fantasy!) and decides that in order to not look like total idiots and have aircraft carriers with nothing to fly from them, promptly leases some F/A 18 Super Hornets to use as a temporary stop-gap. Sadly, their common sense ran out and they allowed British Aerospace to persuade them that these new planes needed to be "upgraded" to work with the "new systems" on HMS QE. Thus in 2015, BAe took delivery of the first tranch of FA-18 E's and promptly stored them in a hanger. The costs of the "upgrade" escalated until eventually some VPs of BAe were lined up against a wall and shot. Subsequent progress was rapid and cost effective. The aircraft were re-designated the FRS-1 Sea Vespid and eventually started flying in 2016. Of course HMS QE was also delayed and was not ready for launch in 2016, but finally in the Summer of 2017 the first aircraft in the newly reconstituted 890 NAS arrived on board and HMS Queen Elizabeth undertook her maiden voyage...

So for this build I am using the 1: 48 sclae Revell F/A 18-E Super Hornet. I've got an Aires resin cockpit for it plus some Model Aliance FAA decals from HMS Ark Royal Air Wing and was planning to use the decals from a Sea Vixen from 890 NAS in 1964. I think I'll adapt one of the earlier Dark Sea Grey/Sky two tone colour schemes before they became boring grey all over.

Here is the box shot:


and the obligatory sprue shot:


Edited by Kallisti
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  • 3 weeks later...

...and so we finally begin. Having rolled away the steam roller, we come to the RN Sea Vespid.

To start with here is the aftermarket I've collected for this build over the last few months:


Now since taking that I've realised that the Two Mike's seamless intakes don't fit at all well with this kit and IMO aren't really necessary as the intakes of this version seem okay to me. I think this is intended more for a Hasegawa kit - although I believe this Revell is a reboxing of a Hasegawa kit, but the guide photos show a very different lower fuselage, so it must be a different version. Never mind, it'll keep for when I win the lottery and can afford a Hasegawa kit!

Work has begin on the cockpit - the aries resin is very nicely detailed but has taken a lot of work to fit into the fuselage, not helped by the front panel that replaces the one moulded onto the upper fuselage is too small to toally replace the original! This has required some considerable surgery with part of the original panel being reused to fill in the Grand Canyon of a gap that would have otherwise appeared. Currently painting the seat and consoles, so more pics will be forthcoming.

As you can see from the aftermarket weapons, I am to depict her fully loaded :)

I say chaps!

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I think the final main colours should be like the Sea Vixen or Phantoms. DSGrey over white unders! Using sky for the lower sides would make me feel a little.....sea sick :sick:

Edited by Paul J
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Love this. Was wanting to use my Super Bug to ease me back into modelling with an OOB build and move onto a FAA Tomcat but I'm seriously tempted to build my Hornet as a bird from 890 as well...

Maybe my Tomcat can be from 892...


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Now since taking that I've realised that the Two Mike's seamless intakes don't fit at all well with this kit and IMO aren't really necessary as the intakes of this version seem okay to me. I think this is intended more for a Hasegawa kit - although I believe this Revell is a reboxing of a Hasegawa kit, but the guide photos show a very different lower fuselage, so it must be a different version. Never mind, it'll keep for when I win the lottery and can afford a Hasegawa kit!

Looking at the sprues, that's a Revell mold not a Hasegawa, the engineering is pretty much identical to their 1/72 version which definitely is of Revell origin.

Nice idea for the build, I was sorely tempted to do an RCAF Super Bug using the Revell 1/72 kit and a set of decals from Academy's F-18A in Foreign Service box, but I decided I liked the included markings so much that I was actually going to build the CAG bird on the box and not use it for this GB.

Edited by Adam Maas
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I still haven't worked out if I want to do a DSG top and sky undersides or white undersides... Never really liked painting white, but maybe the airbrush will be okay! The white undersides is just that little bit more "modern" thank the sky however...

Anyway bits of progress, starting with the Aries cockpit and here is the bang seat:


Now this is an American seat and I'm sure that the powers that be - ie the rip-off merchants in BAe would prefer replace this with a Martin Baker seat just so that they could overcharge the MoD for the changes! However unlikely as it seems, the MOD resisted this blatant attempt at pocket lining and insisted that if the ejector seats were good enough for the US Navy, they were good enough for the Royal Navy!

Still need to put the belts on the seat though, just need to work up enough enthusiasm to mess about with more tiny bits of PE!

Now for the cockpit itself:


This is being represented with the power off so no displays on the consoles. Next the bit that fits behind the cockpit under the canopy:


There is a resin insert under the PE grill which is just about visible through the PE and is black with silver highlights. Finally for the cockpit, the canopy surround PE - this still needs a bit of drybrushing and was a complete bu**er to assemble!

Next the nose has been assembled and primed to check for gaps where the upper and lower panels are fitted. These don't fit very well but a bit of Mr Disolved Putty and some very careful sanding to avoid removing too much rivet detail sorts that out.


The Resin cockpit requires you to remove the moulded fascia in front of the cockpit, but the replacement part which contains the front console doesn't fit the gap left so there had to be some very delicate surgery to merge the kit part into the resin part


Next, the upper and lower fuselage sections have been joined. You can see the gap at the front where the fascia has been removed!


Finally the intakes have been assembled and put in their correct places. This is a bit tricky as the fit of some of the parts isn't all the great. There is still soem work to do to blend the intakes into the fuselage, but fingers crossed that will work well.



The second photo shows how the side panel needs some attention to blend it in with the fuselage along its lower joint. This will need careful work to avoid loosing too much engraved detail. I'm not great at scribing, so I'd rather avoid doing that if I can :)

More to come...

Edited by Kallisti
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Great work in the cockpit detail painting and looks to be taking shape rapidly now.

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Coming along very nicely, intresed is seeing what you be hanging off her.

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... must ...get ...to ...bed!

Before I do though here is a progress update...

Nose is on, wingtips attached, twin tails attached (although some more filling will be required at the joint) and elevators fitted:


There has been a certain amount of filling and sanding required but I've been able to preserve 95% of the engraved detail. I mostly used Mt Surfacer 500 plus some Mr Dissolved putty for the larger areas such as the front part of the cockpit:


Underneath, the fit was reasonable and I've added the bracket for the TIALD unit.


While filler etc has been drying, been building the ordnance to put under the wings:



This is one of the Flightpath Paveway II bombs. You get two in the pack and they are construction projects in their own right! This one took most of yesterday evening to complete!

The rest of the stores are shown here:


I've decided to mount

2 AIM 9X (from kit) on wingtips

2 AIM 120 (from kit) outer wing pylons

2 1000 lb bombs (Flightpath) middle wing pylons

2 Paveway II (flightpath) inner wing pylons

TIALD Starboard under fuselage

Still need to put something on the Port under Fuselage mounting point. Was thinking of a ECM pod or similar, but can't find anything suitable in aftermarket stuff. I'm almost tempted to raid something out of the Hasegawa Weapon set B I have in the stash - an ALQ-131 or ALQ-119 ECM pod but that would be quite old so I doubt it would be really suitable. Not sure I can be bothered to scratch something up from nothing!

The engine exhausts have been painted - I was very unhappy with the first attempt so stripped the paint of with IPA and painted them again and they look much better. The cockpit is ready to be fitted but It won't be until the fuselage paint is complete. I've added some lead shot to the nose to make sure its not a tail sitter so the next job is going to be priming and painting...

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Plenty of bang on those pylons :boom: Sure the asymmetric load with just the TIALD pod will look quite cool.

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Looks great so far! Just a suggestion...you could perhaps swap the TIALD pod for a sniper pod, given the timeframe you're putting it in.

Just a thought though! I really must start my Lightning II!


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I've ordered the Hasegawa Set E from Hannants - 1/3rd off the price at the moment!

So here are the rest of the weapons fully painted and decaled although they do need a final coat of matt varnish to take away the shine form the Klear:


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