Super Hornet – VFA-103
kit actually is my second Super Hornet, both based on the excellent Hasegawa
kit. The first was featured here on ARC some time ago now. My first kit was
built almost straight from the box, with some details added mainly in the
the first model was crushed in a display case, when the vibration of a lorry
passing in the street made the shelves collapse one on the others. Some kits
could be repaired, but the Super Hornet was amongst those that just could not be
restored to display condition. I salvaged some parts, just in case, amongst them
the resin ejection seats. The spirit on this first Rhino model lives on as these
are these seats that were used on this project, out of laziness probably.
this project is a bit more ambitious. After reading so many comments about the
1/48th Revell Super Hornet in the 1/48th scale, I thought
that I should deflect flying surfaces on my model, as they should be on a real
Super Hornet at rest. I also had decided my final livery, a VFA-103 machine.
Checking photos I then found out that this very aircraft had a different cockpit
installation (ACS cockpit) than the one which is provided by Hasegawa. I then
had to partly scratch-build part of the cockpit, specially at rear office level.
a consequence building started with a huge cutting session, trying to cut all
flying surfaces as sharply as possible so that I could re-use parts. I also
heavily altered the RIO instrument coaming building a taller upper deck with
plastic card. The rest was detailing instrument panels with photo etched parts,
an again a few alterations on the RIO instrument panel, building it around a
ultra large center screen. I also scratch-built the canopy retraction system
behind RIO’s seat with bits of plastic and made my landing gear a bit busier
with stretched sprue, electric wire and a few photo-etched bits.
images below to see larger images
generally followed instructions for the main build. As ever attention was given
to protect surface details. Filling and sanding were kept to a minimum. In a few
instances panel lines were restored or enhanced with a scribing tool, trying to
be as delicate as my big fingers would allow to keep re-scribed as petite as the
original Hasegawa panel lines. Care was also exercised when I put flaps and
rudders back in position so that all would align correctly and with proper
or receivers are cemented in position, documentations is useful here. Most
antennas are made of thin plastic card, thinner and sharper than plastic
original parts. Landing gears are glued at this stage as I generally find it
easier putting model on it gears while I paint main camouflage and progressively
fan of US naval aviation, painting a TPS camouflaged model always is a challenge
to me. I try to reproduce an operational machine with touch up effects. I always
liked the idea of trying new ways, adapting solutions from model to model.
also have general principles. I am no fan of pre-shading and all my weathering
effects are built up on plainly applied standard camouflage. I feel that is how
thing happen in real life. That is also why I slightly change my ways on every
model as I believe no two aircraft weather the same way. A second principle is
to build up my stains, discoloration etc… over a period of tome,
progressively, slowly piling up effects over time. This avoids me systematical
or symmetrical effects... again with the will to copy real life.
started airbrushing the plain TPS scheme (FS 35237, FS36320 and FS36375) using
Gunze acrylic paints. I then worked on panels either darkening or lightening
them with black, white, blue or close colors (remember we are working on
basically bluish greys.)
then worked on touch ups, mostly along panel lines. After most painting is
completed, model is decaled. Decals are from the excellent VF-Decals set
VFD-72001 for VF/VFA-103 Jolly Rogers F-14B and F-18Fs. That is receiving this
set that made me start building another F/A-18F.
then is continued over markings. I will generally spray a very thin layer of
base color over main decals as this helps making them as painted on. Panel lines
are then enhanced with thinned sepia
or dark grey artist oil paint. Oil paint is used here so that solvent
(thinner) is not acrylic compatible. This ensures that my main painting will not
be spoiled when I wipe my dark wash off.
people (mechanics, crew) walk on aircraft leaving soot all over the aircraft I
airbrush an extremely thin black wash over the aircraft upper surfaces, where
people are supposed to walk : that is over LEX, between fins, over wings or
stabilators center panels etc…When done I will add a few touch ups again over
grime, often using lighter grey shades. All this is completed with a very thin
uneven layer of matt varnish.
as pylons and main transparent parts are added now. Folding ladder was found in
a photo-etched part set. I was glued in position, putting an end to a very
images below to see larger images