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F/A-18D Hornet, VMFA-121 *Finished!*


Alan P

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Hi alan , 3 revell kits  the 48th scale adv, the  48th gr4 version  and the revell 32nd scale gulf war boxing, and 1 italeri 1/72 gulf war tornado , i like the tornado 

Only other big jet in my collection alan is the me262 by trumpeter

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The Revell 1/32 Tornado's not the easiest build but it does look the biz when done. I've done three and I have one left in the stash which is going to be an F3. When, I don't know!

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Realised one thing while looking back at my last update - the leading edge flap gaps on the outer wing sections also need filling!

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Added the nose and the model has now outgrown my 18in cutting mat/workspace...

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Filled in a couple of sink marks on the spine - one will be covered by the GPS dome but it needed smoothing out:

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Added these very nice double chaff dispensers by F4dable Models:

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There are inserts to add to the main gear doors as well, fit is excellent

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The same set includes these PE fascias to represent the later herringbone circular vents in the port side LEX:

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And there's also a replacement for the oversize GPS dome in the kit. All in all an excellent value addition!

 

The nose needed a bit of surgery to fair it in:

 

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Once sanded down it's pretty good:

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One last little simple detail - the tails fit quite well but in reality there is no seam between the tails and the fuselage. Instead there is a fairing/strengthening strip that's riveted along the outboard base of each fin.

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I replicated these using Tamiya tape and then ran a riveter along it. Some panel lines will be added before the first primer coat.

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Soon be ready for said primer coat, hopefully tomorrow!

 

Alan

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Might have been optimistic on the painting schedule, just realised I need to attach the canopy first, which means finishing more of the cockpit...

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Instrument panels look a bit wobbly closeup but once installed they're pretty effective!

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The HUD was a bit trickier...

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First added a little-cars 3mm lens from modelling-tools.com. I painted the edge of the circumference Tamiya clear green.

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HUD frame is the modified kit parts (added the AOA indexer on the left side). The glazing was coated in polarised cyan/brown film and edged in clear green again

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It's a nice effect because it changes colour as you view from different angles.

 

The model was then primed with Mr Surfacer Gray 1500, along with the gear doors:

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Last touch was to paint all the non-grey bits - cockpit framing, radome tip, ECM radomes and engine nozzle rings. 

 

One bummer of the build so far - the main canopy is probably the largest clear part I've ever used on a kit, and as I was working on polishing out the moulding seam, it cracked about 10mm at the rear end. I swore a lot, but that's life. Going to use it anyway, and try to hide the crack as best I can. 😬

 

Otherwise the primer and light preshading worked very well, so next step will be the paint.👍 

 

Cheers, Alan

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Been busy on this over the weekend but haven't posted any pics...till now:

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White bits masked ready for painting. Apart from cat litter this is probably the next best use for the Daily Fail - sadly I'm subliminally reading it while modelling and I'm starting to worry about statins and Princess Kate's dress sense in my sleep...

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Red edges of the gear doors done using a brush-tipped pen,which worked well.

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Here's the insanely detailed main landing gears, brilliant pieces of work by Academy and one of the highlights of the kit.

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LEX walkways masked and ready for painting.

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Also came out well, very pleased with the panel line effect..

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Bombs/missiles - one per pylon and sidewinder drill rounds for both wingtips. The blue was mixed from whatever Vallejo acrylics i had to hand. Close enough for a base coat.

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Gloss coat on and we're ready for decals 👍

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Hi and thanks very much again @Romeo Alpha Yankee! You appear to have the only seat in the house 😄

 

Had a productive day today, this build has really come together and it's actually exciting!

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This is the airbrake. The decal sat down very well with MicroSet/Sol and it just needed a trim to fit. Excellent work by Flying Leathernecks Decals.

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Wheels are done - I wanted to use the rubber tyres but either they weren't in the Kinetic kit release or I lost them somewhere along the way 🤔

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Attached the landing gear and they look really good in situ.

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Nose gear is finished with gear doors and lights fitted.

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Used Little-Cars lenses for the landing light and LSO signal lights. Huge improvement on the kit parts.

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Also fitted the pylons in preparation for the flat coat.

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Sitting on its own legs for the first time!

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Added the LEX fences, both are decorated with the name of the legendary Marine Corps ace Joe Foss.

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And here we are with the flat coat applied - used Xtracrylix Flat Varnish which is the absolute best acrylic flat coat I've ever used.

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Next - weathering. This is a show bird so it's pretty clean, but you can't get away from the grubby underside and walked on upper surfaces.

 

Alan

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Okay, weathering. This doesn't need much but it is weathered on the top surface and underneath the engines. This will happen in several stages:

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Step 1 - applying the staining. I used Colourcoats enamels, several different Afrika Korps matt colours thinned about 50% and sprayed lightly on.

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I just picked out the areas that get the most stained.

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Step 2: Added Panzer Grey/Sand Brown mix and then went over the whole thing with a thinner-dipped cotton bud and paper towel to blend it in.

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Also picked out the compartments that appeared well-used in my references - the ground power and ground service access panels:

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Step 3 will come tomorrow once the enamel has dried!

 

Very pleased with how it's turned out so far - looking forward to working on it some more!

 

Alan

 

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10 hours ago, Romeo Alpha Yankee said:

Cheers Alan, it is the best seat in the house too. You are doing a really great job wit this one.

 

I have the 1/48 kit and will be stealing some of your ideas when it comes time to build!

Thanks very much Ray. Feel free to steal anything you want, that's what it's there for 👍

7 hours ago, Andwil said:

This is going to be spectacular when it’s finished.  Fantastic work.

Cheers AW, very kind. Its shaping up to be a good one! 

1 hour ago, Jabba said:

Well done with the decaling, Flying Leathernecks usually turn up trumps with their fit wise on parts. The weathering is also well done being a bit restrained.

Cheers Mark. I ordered some more during the lockdown for my Zulu Cobra, been waiting a while 😬 hope they make it... 

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Step 3 of weathering was pastels - it's quite subtle but that's it finished.

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You can see the subtle pastel streaks from the flap actuator mounts and below from the rudder hinges:

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Just need to finish it all off now.

 

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Sway braces fitted - not one thing going under the wings fits the spacing of the sway braces so I need to drill some holes in the armament.

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Speaking of which - all the bombs, missiles and pod have been dirtied up a bit.

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Centre drop tank - I managed to knock the mounting pins off, so this will need holes drilled too.

 

On the home straight now, hope to have this finished by Friday then it's on to the Super Hornet :yahoo:

 

Alan

 

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Thanks Charlie 👍

 

Payload is on...

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The NiteHawk pod optics reflects the light nicely!

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Also added a lens to the seeker head of the Paveway:

 

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This is a real feelgood build, so far everything I tried worked out.

 

Then I discovered the Aires torture chamber, aka their ludicrous seatbelts. An entire afternoon spent trying to bend and thread tiny pieces of photoetch, with no spare parts supplied and I've discovered the meaning of frustration.

 

Perhaps there's some kind of eastern European fatalism driving the Aires design team, determined to challenge why hobbies should be fun, no pain no gain or whatever. Anyway, lesson learned, never again. Moulded seatbelts from now on!

 

More to follow tomorrow, hopefully the finished product!

 

Alan

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58 minutes ago, Hewy said:

Great job on the weathering alan, i realy like that,shame about the crack in the canopy, but theres going to be plenty to avert the eye 👍

Thanks Hewy, that's the plan at least. 

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Final straight with this build - it's amazing when you've done all the painting and weathering, you think it's finished but all the bits and pieces take forever to finish off!

The final pieces of the cockpit took an age - but then I did do it the hard way...

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Decided to thread the black around the yellow eject handles. That was a time-consuming and frustrating error. Doesn't look that good. Will paint it next time!

 

Same applies to the seats - Used the Aires SJU-17 double set.

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Remember way back in post #1 I was saying how great they looked, and they do. Unfortunately you have to do atomic-level origami with unwieldy photoetch belts threaded through the insta-snap-in-half belt buckles. Utter bloody frustration, concentration, cross-eyed neck ache-inducing chore - and muggins here got to do it twice. They don't even look that convincing. Never again, it's Quickboost all the way for me in future!

 

One other bit of close-up work I had to do...

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The canopy has this cross-brace which is provided in the kit - unfortunately it isn't long enough to reach across the width of the canopy! I added the two extension parts using plastic card and painted up with Vallejo Black.

 

Anyway, once all that was behind, the cockpit does actually look pretty good.

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Alan

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Final assembly took place - the struggle with the seats took some of the shine off this otherwise hugely enjoyable build, with the result that I seemed to fall out with it a bit.

 

I invented a new game to while away the frustrating final steps - it's called 'What Can I Knock Off The Build Now It's Almost Finished' and it's nature's way of making you want to give up modelling. It really works too!

 

Here's a little list of stuff I managed to knock off while final assembling:

  • Both left wing pylons, complete with their bombs
  • Centre drop tank
  • Right rudder
  • Left Sidewinder
  • Both aftmost gear doors
  • Right hand LEX fence (needed three goes but I eventually got it to snap off)
  • Not knocked off, but somehow lost the left AOA probe even though it was inside a compartmented box WITH A LID

Anyway, I ended up with this and I'm happy!

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Still have a few parts left to add - the wingfold actuator covers and the handle grip on top of the WSO's instrument coaming.

 

The big headache at the moment is the canopy - I cannot work out for the life of me how it actually fits in the open position. There seems to be nothing for it to grip onto. I might end up gluing it closed, and that won't make me weep with frustration at all.

 for

Anyway - next post will be the Gallery shots, so thanks very much for following: @Romeo Alpha Yankee, @Hewy, @Andwil @Johnsonand @Jabba thanks for the timely support when it was needed. Also many thanks to @FIGHTS ON for the generous offer of a LItening pod 👍

 

Cheers and see you in the Super Hornet thread in a day or so!

 

Alan

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I’d say the cockpit is somewhat better than “pretty good” and I can’t see much wrong with the seat belts either, fine reward for painstaking work.

 

AW

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