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 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).
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.
Photos and text © by Carl Jarosz