1/72 Hasegawa F/A-18E Super Hornet

Gallery Article by Carl Jarosz on Mar 16 2018



F/A-18E Super Hornet VFA-31 “Tomcatters” 75th Anniversary

        This latest build, an established Hasegawa molded kit of the Super Hornet, that replaced the aging F-14 Tomcat in Navy service, was a welcome change of pace for me, as I became engrossed in the larger scale kits. This was a clean, well detailed kit that went together rather well, and is very stunning in appearance when finished, i.e. making it look like the box kit photo.

        The folded, oversized instruction sheet was logical and up to latest Hasegawa standards for clarity and painting information. Unfortunately, the cockpit parts follow Hasegawa tendency for the Spartan look. The seat begged for an aftermarket replacement; I chose one of Aires’ offerings. With small 1/72 scale models, if the instrument and console decals seems crisp and full of dials, knobs, and the like, I use the decals rather than spend the money on an interior aftermarket set that costs more than the kit itself.

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        The kit included the usual ferry fuel tanks and both Sidewinder and AARAM missiles. Using the extra fuel tanks in addition to the centerline tank, however, would have robbed the needed attention to the characteristic “Tomcatters” design on the centerline tank; I left off all ordnance, save for wingtip Sidewinders (inert, non-armed type, as distinguished by the blue stripe).

        I practiced the now-expected blackwash to accent recessed panel lines and details, with a little twist: I first airbrushed the top and bottom main gray colors, aiming for 90-100% coverage. After sealing the entire model with Future, I then used the thinned blackwash for wreathing accent. I found that use much less wash than the usual mess I made on bare plastic, only to be cleaned up before painting. I also was able to control the second application of gray color, hitting only the washed areas, and getting the overall weathered tone I desired. Be sure to use Future after painting the first coat, though, as the wash I used employed black enamel paint, and cleaning up excess with thinner dipped Q-tips would mar the first coat into a hideous mess.         

        The kit decals went on smoothly, . . . with another twist. The kit comes with decals to cover the black areas of the fuselage. As one can anticipate, using a decal to cover a rather large compound curved surface is only asking for frustration, splicing of the decal at major change of form, etc. I decided to mask the black-covered areas on the dorsal (top) side of the fuselage, then black spray painted the affected areas. Ah, but there’s that neat, characteristic red cheat line at the bottom of the black areas! I took the kit decals and cut the red cheat line – with an equal width of black decal included. 

        I used the strip of black decal with red line to apply in place on the aircraft. I found that trying to apply only a razor-thin width of any color decal would cause adhesion and straightness problems; a bit more width really helps solves this matter. If a splice at a curve is required to eliminate decal wrinkling, then a smaller cut with an X-acto blade is easy to do, and blend in with plastic surfaces is pretty much guaranteed.

        I sealed the entire finished model with dullcoat, except for the canopy pieces, leaving them in high gloss state.

Carl Jarosz

Photos and text © by Carl Jarosz