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1:72 Hasegawa F/A-18C Hornet VFA-122 USN Centennial


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I'm not a big fan of low-viz grey schemes on modern jets. But when the USN celebrated their 100th anniversary back in 2011, they had the brilliant idea to paint a variety of their current aircraft in retro schemes from throughout their history. TwoBobs issued several decal sheets covering these schemes, and I really took a fancy to the three-tone scheme applied to one of the Hornets of VFA-122 "Flying Eagles." Does this scheme look familiar?

 

R40551425929207fbd0188e02dea408a5

 

It sure does to me, although I couldn't tell you which squadron in WWII used these markings. My brain tries to tell me it was on a Hellcat, but it could have been a Corsair. Or something else, I'm afraid my brain is a bit addled.

 

Looking through my stash, it seems I have enough stuff to model this baby. First, the Hasegawa F/A-18C Hornet:

 

IMG_5776

 

I'm sure you are all familiar with this venerable kit. If not, here are the sprues:

 

IMG_5779

 

IMG_5780

 

The "Chippy Ho" scheme, even though there seems to be an eagle on the tail, is actually on a bird from VFA-195 "Dambusters." It's even a bit too gaudy for me!

 

IMG_5781

 

Now, it wouldn't be a Navy Bird build if I didn't leave well enough alone and try to finagle a bunch of aftermarket stuff into the model. Let's see, I have a resin, photoetch, and film cockpit from Aires:

 

IMG_5782

 

And some highly detailed gear bays, also from Aires (lots of pipes in there!):

 

IMG_5783

 

Quickboost provide new intakes and jet engine faces. Of course, the trunking is nowhere near long enough to properly represent the Hornet's intakes, but it's better than what Hasegawa provide. The real intake trunks have to slither their way around the main gear bays - I probably should try harder to find seamless intakes from XMM, but my initial search was fruitless. Ah, what the heck I have these parts from Quickboost so let's use them.

 

IMG_5784

 

And, of course, the decal sheet from TwoBobs printed by Microscale (hey, I remember those guys! Krasel Industries, anyone?).

 

IMG_5778

 

If I recall correctly, TwoBobs put all of their USN Centennial decal sheets into one package, along with a CD full of photos, so you could make all of these cool retro schemes. Too bad the USN had already retired the Tomcat as I think it would have looked very cool in overall Glossy Sea Blue. Or even better, in Blue Angel regalia.

 

I still need to determine if the vertical tails had the reinforcements and the stiffener plates. I believe I have these in the stash, I just don't know if I need to use them. And there is always the possibility that I may want to pose flaps, slats, and elevators. There may be more resin in my future!

 

I've started removing the resin bits from their casting blocks. I have to remove Hasegawa's gear bays, and getting the nose gear bay out of there looks like it will be a bit tricky. Wish me luck!

 

So that's my new project. Unless someone changes my other mind, then it will be something else.    :)

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Interested to see how you go with the Quickboost intakes Bill.  I had a lot of trouble getting them to fit in my Hase F/A-18 in the ANZAC GB, they needed a lot of thinning.  I can foresee trouble matching them and the Aries gear bays.

 

AW

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Oooooh, this going to be epic :tasty:

 

I'm in :popcorn:  :beer:

 

Ciao 

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15 hours ago, billn53 said:

This is going to be very cool 😎

 

I may be old, but I'm still cool!     :drunk:

 

6 hours ago, Andwil said:

Interested to see how you go with the Quickboost intakes Bill.  I had a lot of trouble getting them to fit in my Hase F/A-18 in the ANZAC GB, they needed a lot of thinning.  I can foresee trouble matching them and the Aries gear bays.

 

Oh, I always have fun with Aires resin. I think they have stock in the sanding stick companies. I cut the intakes at the position indicated by Aires instructions, and did some trial fitting. The intakes don't look long enough to interfere with the gear bay (famous last words) but once the engine face is added it looks to be tight. I think more sanding will be required in the Hasegawa fuselage itself to allow the intake to fit it properly. Fun, fun, fun.    :)

 

2 hours ago, giemme said:

Oooooh, this going to be epic :tasty:

 

Epic? Like Homer, Statius, Apollonius, Virgil, Dante, and Milton? Ooh, I'm in good company! I better brush up on my dactylic hexameter.     :)

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Well that wasn't as much fun as I thought it was going to be!

 

IMG_5786

 

That be a lot of grinding and sanding.    :drunk:

 

The process was accompanied by grinding and sanding of the resin nose gear bay which seems to fit OK. The forward portion of the bay is MUCH deeper than what's in the kit so I had some concerns about interference with the resin cockpit. Not that any resin from Aires has ever had any interference problems of course. After test fitting the components it looks like it will be tight, but it should be OK. I just need to be careful how much paint I put down.     :)

 

Hacking out the main gear bays should be easier, he said, not knowing if it will bite him.

 

Cheers,

Bill

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That positively looks like a lot of work! :frantic:

 

10 hours ago, Navy Bird said:

Not that any resin from Aires has ever had any interference problems of course

Sure....

 

 

Ciao

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8 hours ago, giemme said:

That positively looks like a lot of work! :frantic:

 

The most difficult part was making sure that I didn't damage the sidewalls of the fuselage, or the opening for the nose gear bay itself. That's really easy to do when you're grinding away with a Dremel. Therefore the last bit of styrene removal was by good old fashioned sanding - which took forever. To maintain the curvature of the fuselage, I wrapped sandpaper around a wooden dowel and used it as a mandrel of sorts. Luckily I had the F/A-18A Blue Angels kit so I could show before and after. I'd build the Angel at the same time, but I only have one set of resin gear bays. Does it matter? Whoever looks at the underside?     :)

 

Cheers,

Bill

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I shall follow along because I plan to build a Hasegawa F/A-18C later this year and have already purchased the Quickboost intakes.

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1 hour ago, Billy54 said:

I shall follow along because I plan to build a Hasegawa F/A-18C later this year and have already purchased the Quickboost intakes.

 

Welcome aboard! I'll do my best to point out any tricks necessary to make the resin work. Do you know what markings scheme you plan to put on your Hornet?

 

Cheers,

Bill

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Nice, I want to build the same kit. With Aires cockpit, resin intake, but other decals. The first navy jet to have shot down an iraqi fighter in 1991. Armed with 4x Mk-84... so I hope to get some good tips here! ;)

 

Alex

 

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1 hour ago, Navy Bird said:

 

Welcome aboard! I'll do my best to point out any tricks necessary to make the resin work. Do you know what markings scheme you plan to put on your Hornet?

 

Cheers,

Bill

 

Hi Bill, haven't decided yet but I am leaning towards one of the two VFA-81 Hornets that scored an air-to-air kill during the Gulf War.

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They all sound good guys. I built the F/A-18A (CF-188) kit once before, maybe 10 years ago, and made it look like a low-viz tiger:

 

IMG_2099

 

Those stripes are all decals, by the way, from Leading Edge in Canada. The rest of the model is OOB. I especially like the buxom lady hidden in the tail fin at the top of the slime light:

 

IMG_2109

 

My guess is this was intentional. What do you think?

 

Cheers,

Bill

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On 4/4/2021 at 12:40 PM, Navy Bird said:

I couldn't tell you which squadron in WWII used these markings.

VF-17 F6Fs as shown here on USS Hornet early 1945. #41 in the background is the only one of their birds with these markings I've ever seen in the 3(4?) colour scheme as the CONA jet was finished, all the rest appear to be GSB. I've this sheet & that kit with some of the bits you've got so very interested to see it come together. :)

Steve.

Image borrowed from Asisbiz

Grumman-F6F-5-Hellcat-VF-22-White-22-and

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@Navy Bird

In the post above I see you are going to use the Aires cockpit and wheel bay sets. I also have both. Cleaning the kit's wheel bay isn't the problem. The problem is that there's not enough space in the front fuselage for the front wheel bay and the cockpit on top.

 

It's a bit of extra work but you have to modify the depth of the front wheel bay. To my view it is a bit too deep.

 

Ramon

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Nice choice! I have the 'A' to build into a Canadian version. Will be following along intensely!

19 hours ago, Navy Bird said:

What do you think?

🤔its a difficult shape to emulate "accidently" :rofl:

Bob

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17 hours ago, stevehnz said:

VF-17 F6Fs as shown here on USS Hornet early 1945. #41 in the background is the only one of their birds with these markings I've ever seen in the 3(4?) colour scheme as the CONA jet was finished, all the rest appear to be GSB. I've this sheet & that kit with some of the bits you've got so very interested to see it come together. :)

Steve.

Image borrowed from Asisbiz

Grumman-F6F-5-Hellcat-VF-22-White-22-and

The marking is a G Marking introduced about Jan ‘45.  Basically it was a Carrier Air Group recognition symbol.  I have a photograph of VT17 Avengers with the same marking.  Marking was replicated on both wing tips too..  The marking was difficult to describe over the R/T which is why they were dropped and letters introduced instead (just like in the FAA)...

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You always select to build interesting aircrafts Bill. Looking forward to this one!!!

 

Cheers,

Bill

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On 06/04/2021 at 19:27, stevehnz said:

VF-17 F6Fs as shown here on USS Hornet early 1945. #41 in the background is the only one of their birds with these markings I've ever seen in the 3(4?) colour scheme as the CONA jet was finished, all the rest appear to be GSB. I've this sheet & that kit with some of the bits you've got so very interested to see it come together. :)

 

Thanks Steve. I knew I'd seen these markings before, and obviously the USN wouldn't make up a fictitious scheme for its centennial, so I'm glad you provided this. I think the kit will look rather dapper when it's finished. Assuming, of course, that I don't muck it up.     :drunk:

 

On 06/04/2021 at 20:01, Screech said:

Okay let's see you work your Navy Bird magic on this one!

 

I'll give it my best shot, but I can't promise magic. Alchemy maybe - transmutation of styrene into something...art? Nah, I'm not highbrow enough. I'll think of something.    :)

 

10 hours ago, Sting67 said:

@Navy Bird

In the post above I see you are going to use the Aires cockpit and wheel bay sets. I also have both. Cleaning the kit's wheel bay isn't the problem. The problem is that there's not enough space in the front fuselage for the front wheel bay and the cockpit on top.

It's a bit of extra work but you have to modify the depth of the front wheel bay.

 

Thanks Ramon. I've test fit the parts, and they seem to fit. Perhaps Aires made a change in their mould?

 

8 hours ago, moaning dolphin said:

🤔its a difficult shape to emulate "accidently" :rofl:

 

I agree! It took me a while to spot it. It's well camouflaged.

 

7 hours ago, Grey Beema said:

The marking is a G Marking introduced about Jan ‘45.  Basically it was a Carrier Air Group recognition symbol.  I have a photograph of VT17 Avengers with the same marking.  Marking was replicated on both wing tips too..  The marking was difficult to describe over the R/T which is why they were dropped and letters introduced instead (just like in the FAA)...

 

Good to know. The TwoBobs sheet has the markings for the wing tops so it seems the USN did their homework.

 

6 hours ago, Shalako said:

You always select to build interesting aircrafts Bill. Looking forward to this one!!!

 

Thanks! I like interesting subjects. You can only build so many Spitfire, 109s or Mustangs. (At this point, the author dodges the incoming detritus.)     :)

 

Cheers,

Bill

 

PS. No modelling today - morning at the doctor trying to avoid spinal surgery number 10, then off in the afternoon to physio. The Golden Years are wonderful.

PPS. Off to Maryland on Friday to spend the weekend with my son and celebrate his birthday. Back next Tuesday.

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10 hours ago, Navy Bird said:

Thanks Ramon. I've test fit the parts, and they seem to fit. Perhaps Aires made a change in their mould?

That would be very impressive and encourages to buy more of these sets.

Edited by Sting67
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Is there room for one more, sorry for being late to this one Bill!

 

   Stay safe           Roger

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4 hours ago, Sting67 said:

That would be very impressive and encourages to buy more of these sets.

 

As I progress with the build I'll document everything with photos. Hopefully that will show how I've approached the Aires resin.

 

3 hours ago, Hamden said:

Is there room for one more, sorry for being late to this one Bill!

 

There is always room Roger, but you have to stand at the back of the theatre. Which is closer to the popcorn stand by the way.    :popcorn:

 

Cheers,

Bill

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OK, here is the method to my madness. From experience I know that resin parts need to be completely removed from their casting blocks - there can be no residue of the block left that could interfere with the fit. In the instructions that Aires provide, the casting block is shown shaded. Here we can see the cockpit, part no. 9:

 

IMG_5796

 

And the front wheel well, part no. 1:

 

IMG_5795

 

In this specific case, if any of the shaded areas remain, the parts won't fit. I removed these areas with a razor saw, since I'm too lazy to sit there for days trying to sand the block off. The parts have a nice line cast all the way around so you know where to cut. I used this line to guide my razor saw and in the case of the front gear bay, I managed to accidentally remove a tiny bit of the roof of the well as seen here:

 

IMG_5788

 

The cockpit sets on the forward portion of the bay, and its floor will cover up the small holes. I will cover up the rear portion with some sheet styrene.

 

At first glance, it would be easy to think that the resin nose gear bay is too short, as the opening in the Hasegawa fuselage seems larger than the length of the gear bay. I don't think this is an error, or shrinkage, etc. When the bay is installed, you can see that its ends represent the surface that the gear doors would contact and seal against. (You can also see how "wafer thin" the rest of the bay roof is!)     :)

 

IMG_5789

 

Next, the kit's instrument panel coaming is removed, along with the rear cockpit bulkhead which was moulded as part of the fuselage. I tried to remove all of the coaming, and leave a flat surface.

 

IMG_5787

 

The cockpit was removed from its casting block, again making sure that all the shaded area shown in the instructions was removed. This time I managed to cut cleanly and not damage the floor of the pit in any way! The cockpit needs some sanding on the sides so that it fits easier into the fuselage, but that wasn't a big deal. The cockpit position is not clearly known, as the resin doesn't use any of the kit's locating surfaces in the fuselage, and they've all been sanded away anyway. Through trial and error, and test fitting of the other parts, the position was determined. It's important to do this or you could wind up with the cockpit in the wrong spot. The top of cockpit sidewalls must be aligned to the top of the fuselage sill. The resulting seam between the resin cockpit and the styrene fuselage will need to be filled.

 

IMG_5790

 

The resin instrument panel and coaming can now be added. It's a drop-in, literally. You'll notice that the resin coaming is a tad narrower at its aft end than the hole I made in the fuselage. This should not be a problem to close up. The resin coaming is a huge improvement over the kit, by the way.

 

IMG_5792

 

IMG_5791

 

Next, I put the two fuselage halves together and secured them with bits of tape to show that everything fits. The fuselage closes up properly. That said, it is a tight fit which seems to be a hallmark of the resin bits I've used from Aires.

 

IMG_5793

 

All said, I think it's well worth all this work as we now have a much more realistic nose gear bay, with full depth where the dual nose wheels go upon retraction. Compare the shot to the earlier picture of the Blue Angels fuselage and you can really see the difference.

 

IMG_5794

 

Note how you can't really see the damage I did to the forward portion of the bay since the cockpit is setting on top of it. The hole in the rear portion of the bay will be covered with card stock and after a coat of paint no one will be the wiser. Well, except for you guys because I showed you the skill employed in my "precision" razor-sawing.    :drunk:

 

Cheers,

Bill

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