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F/A-18F VFA-11 Red Rippers Rhino


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Hi all,

 

Fresh out of completing my first GB with the F-14, I'll jump in to this one, with another Hasegawa 1/72 F/A-18F. No doubt this will be a kit familiar to many of you, so please feel free to jump in with advice and tips - I still very much have my training wheels on!

 

I have the newest reboxing of the kit with decals for VFA-11 Red Rippers' CAG bird jet circa 2012-13.

 

What’s in the box

 

In a rush of blood I ordered some Eduard PE for the cockpit (which hasn't arrived yet). Have not used PE before so I'll give it a go, but I reckon my eyesight and unsteady hands might work against me. See how I go...

 

Otherwise will build it out of the box:

 

What’s in the box

 

The box artwork is pretty stunning so it's pretty hard to go past using the kit decals, despite the temptations of aftermarket decals.

 

Plus a USN jet will add some variety to my small collection, joining this RAAF classic Hornet I finished a few months back:

 

OCU

 

This was actually the first model built I'd built in 25-30 years (Academy 1/72 kit, Ronin Graphics decals), so I learnt a lot from my many mistakes in building it!

 

And that's my main aim with this GB, to keep learning and to watch how the pros do it!

 

Cheers all and happy modelling,

 

Gerard

 

 

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Wow, a really cool scheme. with the warthog on the nose it begs for a nice A2G loadout as well (some big Paveways mabye?). I am sure you will get a lot of support and hints from the regulars (but you know that already- right?)

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1 hour ago, Anatol Pigwa said:

with the warthog on the nose it begs for a nice A2G loadout as well (some big Paveways mabye?)

Not sure of the load out yet but that’s the beauty of the Hornet, the options are pretty endless!

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So I've made a start. A modest one, but a start. The longest journeys and a single step and all that!

 

Seam was scraped and the canopy polished; a bit of dark gull grey for the cockpit and a bit of Mr Color tyre black for the exhausts; and I've made a start at removing some of the little protrusions the instruction say to remove from the forward fuselage. (Not sure if these lumps and bumps are for the Growler or Block 1 Supers.) There are also a couple of panel lines I need to fill in, as per the instructions (and confirmed having looked at photos of the real aircraft)so I 'll see what kind of mess I can make with Mr Surfacer 500 tomorrow.

 

The postie delivered some Quickboost seats today. Will see if I can make a respectable job of them, they certainly bring a bit more detail and texture than the kit seats. They were inexpensive so I popped them in the shopping cart when ordering a few paints. You know how it goes...

 

Speaking of detail I did order an Eduard PE set to dress up the cockpit a fortnight ago now, but it hasn't made it onto a flight to Aus just yet, according to the post service's tracking app. Not sure if I'll just use the kit decals instead, or wait a bit longer. Depends how much else I can achieve this weekend I expect.

 

Finally, a nod to @Adam Maas, have picked up quite a few useful tips following your Growler build, cheers!

 

This is going to be a fun build I think.

 

And we’re off…slowly

 

 

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3 hours ago, Bertie Psmith said:

Fun is the prime directive

Sometimes I need to remind myself that - mainly when glueing on undercarriage doors!

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7 hours ago, Wings unlevel said:

Sometimes I need to remind myself that - mainly when glueing on undercarriage doors!


As I discovered last night.
 

Hornet doors remind me of Game of Thrones. “Hold the door! Hold the door!”

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So far, so good (fun),

 

Looking back on the weekend I got a lot more done than I'd expected. So many builds on this GB are off to a flyer, so I've been dragged along in their wakes, it seems!

 

Now the lawn didn't get mown, the garage still need sorting out, and I didn't get any real exercise in... but, I do have something that looks like a Super Hornet.

 

Had a good run on Saturday, cutting bits, trimming bits, filing pin marks, drilling holes for the centreline tank and underwing pylons, sanding bits, priming a few bits (to see how good the filling and sanding bits was), and general prepping.

 

At the close of play we had this:

 

Bits and pieces

 

Somehow on Sunday I knocked over all the major assembly. I came to appreciate the kit the more I went along. I did a fair job attaching the intakes, the key joints feel pretty flush. But the rear fuse is a bit untidier. It's probably part down to the kit design, but moreso down to operator error, I have small but definite overhands and underhands where the top and bottom fuselage haves meet near the horizontal stabs, and along the bottom of the pieces that form the intakes and then run down the sides of the fuselage.

 

A good weekend

 

Oh, and as you can see, I went with the kit decals. Not sure when the PE set turns up and to be honest I'd likely make a mess of it with all the teeny parts for the instrument panel displays.

 

As others have remarked the cockpit is basic and off the pace for a contemporary kit, but there's a lot worse too. And I'm a lid closed kind of guy...

 

A good weekend

 

The forward fuselage actually went together quite nicely, despite being a bit fiddly where you have the nose split vertically joined to a long underside part (onto which the cockpit sits). But it came together quite well, and the whole assembly made a satisfying click when joined to the main fuselage.

 

A good weekend

 

Assembling the wings was quite neat and straightforward too, with the join lines largely following panel lines on the real thing.

 

A good weekend

 

So now we have this:

 

A good weekend

 

 

(The horizontal tails aren't glued on, while the stabs you don't glue - the pins insert into rubber grommets, I just like seeing the build take shape.)

 

Next up, to borrow a phrase from @Pappy, filling, sanding and repeating... but I'd probably add swearing to that list too. Glueing bits together is the fun part, now comes the elbow grease to make it a bit more presentable!

 

Putty and Mr Surfacer are at the ready!

 

Cheers all,

 

Gerard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Wings unlevel said:

I just like seeing the build take shape.

 

I do that all the time!

 

Your Hornet is looking good to me. With the lid closed that cockpit is more than good enough.

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16 hours ago, modelling minion said:

That has come together very nicely Gerard, doesn't look like you will need too much of the filler at all.

Thanks MM, in the clear light of a new day doesn’t look too bad.

16 hours ago, Freester said:

A fair weekends progress that. I think the cockpit looks good using the OOB decals 👍

Thanks Freester, it will do I reckon.

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I have a blackbird now. I got carried away with my priming tonight. My objective was to run the primer over the joins I'd trying to clean up so see how much more work they needed, but I ended priming the whole model. Mostly it looks pretty good - the kit's panel lines and rivet detailing looks terrific under the primer. And I am happy with the joins for the nose, forward fuselage, intakes and the wing joins (top and bottom), but the underside of the lexes need more work, as does the three way joins at the rear fuselage (which is never going to be quite right I don't think).

 

Primed

 

So, a bit more filling and sanding to go. :(

 

And my canopy masks haven't turned up - may have to mask manually. :( 

 

So I need to do that and finish off my seats before I get too much further.

 

But hopefully come the weekend I can start on the base coats, as well as prepping the landing gear and stores etc.

 

So decent but not amazing progress for what is looking to be a decent but not amazing build.

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Slower progress this past week, and even slower progress this week to come as we’re going away to Melbourne (where at least I hope I can stick my head into some of the model shops in the city!).

 

Bits and pieces

 

Have spent a fair bit of time trying to smooth over best I can the joins at the back end. They’re never going to be perfect but with the stabs in place will look ok. Other than that I’ve been doing little jobs - spraying the undercarriage bays and gear legs, the exhaust cans, and starting on the tyres and seats. Plus the ATFLIR mount and flap actuators have been attached. 

 

My mail order with the canopy masks (and the cockpit PE I’ll have to save for next time!) should turn up when I’m away, so that’s one benefit of slower progress!


Finish the seats, mask up and attach the canopy then it will be paint time.

 

Goal is to finish by end of Feb to give me good run in the bomber/strike/ga GB. Might have decided what to build for that by then too!

 

Gerard

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  • 2 weeks later...

A small update, literally and figuratively, but I have finished seats! My Quickboost resin seats are ready for installation. They’re not finished to Pappy/Fly Navy standards, but to my eye are far better than the kit seats at least. First time using resin. It’s fragile! I managed to knock off part of one of the seat’s ejection handles, and part of the seat frame extending from the seat base on the LH seat, but from a distance and under a closed canopy I think they’ll look alright.

 

Seatz

 

Oh and some final touch up filling with Mr Surfacer. Now my masks have arrived, painting on the weekend, come hell or high water!

 

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Topside now done too, with AK's RC251 dark ghost grey. Which it has to be said is not all that much darker than light GG. Vertical tails done too (image doesn't really show it but it's a deep deep blue.)

 

More DGG

 

Some touch-ups, detail painting and the blue band along the nose-canopy-spine to do. The kit has decals for this but will paint it instead.

 

And a courier delivery just now means I have my ordnance sorted - GBU-38s and AGM-65s to go with AIM-9Xs and an AIM-120 from the kit.

 

Extra bits

 

Tapping away at it now...

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17 hours ago, modelling minion said:

Looking really smart.👍

Thanks MM!

 

Think it’s now looking just a little less great. Had a long, tiring and ragged day at work today. Wanted to feel like I achieved something with my day so I painted the deep blue spine on the model tonight. But I was tired and the result is a little ragged! From the canopy back it looks pretty good actually, but the nose section is uneven and will need another go. I’ve got other small details to paint and touch ups to do too, so one or two more evenings spraying before I can gloss coat and decal.

 

Blue spine

 

Hope everyone else’s Mondays were a bit less ragged than mine!

 

Gerard

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9 minutes ago, Wings unlevel said:

Thanks MM!

 

Think it’s now looking just a little less great. Had a long, tiring and ragged day at work today. Wanted to feel like I achieved something with my day so I painted the deep blue spine on the model tonight. But I was tired and the result is a little ragged! From the canopy back it looks pretty good actually, but the nose section is uneven and will need another go. I’ve got other small details to paint and touch ups to do too, so one or two more evenings spraying before I can gloss coat and decal.

 

Blue spine

 

Hope everyone else’s Mondays were a bit less ragged than mine!

 

Gerard

 

Just replying to say I relate to the 'ups and downs' of the build process. For what it's worth looks OK to me...

 

Edit: PS in my timezone the monday at work isn't even half way through but feels very ragged!!!!

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