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chuck540z3

1/32 Academy F-18D to CF-18B kicked up a notch.

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Now that I've got the F-14B put to bed, I'm getting bored already. Time to start another 1/32 fighter!

This time it'll be the Academy F-18 kit, which I've made before into a Canadian CF-18A in the pic below.

Begin2.jpg

I did a pretty good job on this build, but I know I can do a lot better, so I'm going to throw the kitchen sink at this next effort, a CF-18B (Can you tell I'm Canadian, eh?) from the Academy F-18D kit…..

Begin.jpg

All those aftermarket extras on top are as follows:

• Black Box/Avionix F-18B cockpit and tail conversion set (AV32035). If you want the B version, this is the kit to have.

• Aires Resin Wheel Bays (2038). The kit gear bays are very, very good, but since I'm a better painter than scratch builder, this could be the ticket to gear bay perfection.

• Seamless Suckers (SS-7). This is the Achilles heel of the Academy kit. The intakes truly suck, so these should be a lot better.

• DMold Corrected Intakes (DM32002). OK, I should have bought these first over the S. Suckers, but I'm going to compare both and likely use these instead.

• Scale Aircraft Conversions metal main landing gear (32021). Another Academy flaw is the landing gear. It looks terrific but it always sags with time, so this should prevent that.

• G-Factor brass landing gear (32008). Like the DMold intakes, I should have bought these first over the SAC set, but I love choices. I'll compare these landing gear sets too.

• Black Box F-18 Exhaust Nozzles (CS 32018). Kit nozzles are so-so and the Aires ones are undersized, so these may save the day.

• MK1 Design F-18 Exhaust Nozzles (32001). Are you starting to see a pattern here? Yes, another head to head comparison.

• Leading Edge F-18 paint masking set (M32001). I'm not sure how good this set will be, but it comes with some nice foam inserts for the wheel bays. Lets hope they also fit the Aires wheel bays.

• Leading Edge CF-18 decals (32.21). If you want a Canuck Bug, these are the ones you'll need, especially if you want to build a "B" model.

• Eduard F-18 Hornet exterior photo-etch (32106). Although nicely detailed stuff, I usually use only about half of it because there's little or no improvement over the kit parts.

• Eduard F-18 Hornet mesh set (32111). As above.

• Eduard F-18 Hornet placards (32508). Nice stuff to have when there isn't a decal option, but generally too thick. I'll probably use half of these as well.

Edit:

• Eduard F-18D Hornet Interior (32556)

My last build was a bit of a struggle due to lack of reference pics for the exact aircraft and time period, so I've chosen CF-18B, 188910 as my next challenge due to the fact that I've actually touched the cockpit of this jet! This aircraft attended our annual "Calgary Stampede" in July, 2007 and I took LOTS of pics of it, so I should have no trouble getting it looking close. I'll be able to post pics of my build vs the real deal side by side without worrying about some copyright law, so this should be fun. Here's a teaser…

188910-1.jpg

For those who followed my last build of the Tomcat, you know that I'm going to be slow, so plan on another 6 months. There are plenty of other 1/32 CF-18's out there, but this one is going to be "kicked up a notch", or at least I hope so.

Edited by chuck540z3

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That's a lot of aftermarket goodies you got goin' on there! And, since I have this kit in the stash (albeit w/o the extras) I'll be following this one with great interest ;)!

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Fun, Fun, Fun ! ;)

This will be another must see build ...

Gregg

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wow!! what a project!!

I will stay here and watch!

bye

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Chuck, good luck on this build, I'm sure it will be another show-stopper! Question: Where did you source the "MK1 Design F-18 Exhaust Nozzles". I'm thinking about tossing my Aires nozzles, despite the fact that I have already finished building them. The Aires nozzles just don't have the correct convex Turkey feather shape. I did a google search for the Mk1 set but didn't find anything.

Cheers,

Marcel

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The Aires exhausts are very undersized. It's a shame as the ends of the petals look good.

I got the MK exhausts from HLJ.

Thx Dave... I'll go order some tonight. I can actually deal with the undersized part (some sanding + rescribing) but they are also just the wrong shape, the feathers are straight like those on an P&W F100 exhaust.

Marcel

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Where did you source the "MK1 Design F-18 Exhaust Nozzles". I'm thinking about tossing my Aires nozzles, despite the fact that I have already finished building them. The Aires nozzles just don't have the correct convex Turkey feather shape. I did a google search for the Mk1 set but didn't find anything.

Cheers,

Marcel

Hi Marcel,

I bought mine on ebay, but it sounds like Dave has a good source. As good as they look, the Black Box ones look really good too, so I'm not sure which set will "win". Maybe I'll take some pics later and let you decide.

Meanwhile, this was how the kit ones turned out last time I tackled this model. Not bad, but they could be better....

F-18-8.jpg

F-18-9.jpg

I had already read many posts complaining about the Aires shape to their "closed" nozzles, so I wasn't going to chance those.

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Nice work Chuck. I'll be following this build. If it's going to be an improvement on your last F18, it's going to be a real cracker!!!!

Cheers

Ian :thumbsup:

4099236638_258a0c4d52.jpg

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Here's the burner nozzle comparison.

First up is the Black Box nozzle. Pretty good....

Burner2.jpg

Now the MK1 nozzle, which is 2 piece instead of one. Note the more detailed divisions between the petals....

Burner3.jpg

and now the inside. Note the rivet-like detail and the grooves along the blades. Black Box and kit inside blades are smooth.....

Burner4.jpg

This would make the MK1 offering the clear winner, but for 2 things. One, I'm not sure of exact diameter until I cut the resin parts and two, I don't see much rivet detail in the interior of the bird I'm trying to build (my pic)...

Burner1.jpg

I think it will all come down to which part fits the model the best. I can paint the interior of either to match fairly closely.

Edited by chuck540z3

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The Aires exhausts are very undersized. It's a shame as the ends of the petals look good.

I got the MK exhausts from HLJ.

Da*^^$%# Dave, you are right, they are also just too small. I will now definately have to buy some others at this very late stage of my Hornet buid. The Mk1 sets don't seem to be available anywhere :coolio:

Marcel

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The Dmold Intakes are beautiful and I would use those over the seamless suckers. They fit perfectly as well, and would be the best set of intakes I have ever bought and used! The GFactor brass gear is in my opinion better than SAC's.

Edited by Cunumdrum61

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Wow Chuck, you don't waist time. Already onto an other kits.......sweet. Well, an other form that is a must to follow. :coolio:

Mike

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Thanks for the confidence Guys! You won't be sorry (I hope!)....

No real modeling progress, other than some pics of the tasks at hand. RESIN! I love it and I hate it, especially at this stage when it's on those blocks that are very difficult to remove. In this build, I have a double problem with the Black Box resin cockpit sitting on the Aires resin front gear bay. Normally you'd have resin to kit part, so this should be interesting. Above these main parts, I have the vertical stabilizers to trim and sand, as well as several little bits to glue into the cockpit. The seats need a lot of trimming too..

Resin1.jpg

.... a closer pic of the cockpit to front gear resin parts before cutting....

Resin2.jpg

The detail of the resin parts, however, makes this worth it....

Resin3.jpg

The Black Box/Avionix cockpit....

Resin4.jpg

And the Aires front gear bay....

Resin5.jpg

Now to the cutting of the resin parts, the part I hate....

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Before I start cutting and getting to a point of no return, I thought I'd check the fit of the Aires wheel bays against the model parts. Sure enough, the front gear bay has characteristic "Aires shrink", making it about 1/8" shorter than the kit calls for. Note the side pins, which are too short to fit the sides of the front fuselage.....

Resin6.jpg

Now one might simply delete the Aires part and stay with the kit parts, but the detail of the Aires stuff is SO nice. Note the thick hoses of the Aires part (top) vs the tiny pipe on the kit part (bottom)....

Resin7.jpg

So I have to do some mods if I want to use it. The rear wheels bays, however, have minimal shrinkage, but it's going to be a BEAR to get the kit ones out without making a big mess....

Resin8.jpg

I've got my work cut out for me.

Edited by chuck540z3

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Id be seriously ****** if I had laid out that much dough for a set of aftermarket wheel wells that is too small. I used the Eduard exterior PE set for mine, looks ok to me. I never really noticed how much more detailed the heavy hose can be though. Too late fro me to do anything about it.

Edited by Charlie Cheetah

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Id be seriously ****** if I had laid out that much dough for a set of aftermarket wheel wells that is too small.

Well it doesn't thrill me, but it also presents another challenge to overcome. The Avionix cockpit is made to sit on the kit front wheel well and the Aires front wheel well is made to have the kit cockpit sit on top of it, but resin to resin presents another challenge. The pic below shows how the 2 parts fit after cutting the huge resin blocks off each part. When fitted to the fuselage, there's a big gap at the back. Since the front of the resin pieces have been shaved off so that they are getting very thin, the cockpit can't pivot upwards any more because of the cross member behind the front seat. Note I also had to cut off the side pins on the Aires part to get it to fit properly....

Resin9.jpg

The fix is to shave off this part a few millimeters in order to allow upward movement of the back. I find sanding nail files to be perfect for this, because it erodes the resin down in a straight line.....

Resin10.jpg

There, all better, but I need a small wedge of plastic card to fill the new gap at the back between the upper and lower resin parts....

Resin11.jpg

Next is to dry fit the side panels before painting and gluing. The crappy Avionix instructions call for you to cut off the side panel detail of the kit parts first, then glue on the new side panels. Having done this before to my F-18A build, my advice is to paint the side panels, glue them to the painted cockpit, then re-fit the cockpit to the fuselage later. If you glue the panels to the fuselage now as per the instructions, you will get a large gap between them and the cockpit- and using fast drying CA glue makes for no wiggle room on fitment....

Resin12.jpg

Once the resin parts have been cut and dry fitted, it's time to fill the cockpit with lots of parts, both resin and kit pieces. I remember from my last build that the Academy kit has all sorts of extra parts for the A and B model, even though the kit is for the C or D version Hornet. Sure enough, there are 2 front instrument clusters and 2 rear clusters, with the kit instructions calling for Parts G27 and I6 respectively. A pic I took of the front instrument cluster of the bird I'm building clearly has a couple of blank spots on it, which Part G26 has and G27 doesn't (among a few other differences), so G26 must be the correct one.....

Cockpit1.jpg

Another thing I learned in my last build is to avoid using the resin clusters over the kit ones. The kit ones are actually BETTER and they also have the ability to insert the gauge/screen decals and clear plastic covers that the resin parts can't....

Resin13.jpg

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Wow, that resin IP does look pretty bad compared to the kit part.

Looks like you're moving along, looking forward to seeing this progress. :thumbsup:

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I would go with the Aires front wheel bay but not use the two main gear bays.The detail is not much better than the kit parts and if you do replace them make sure you set them in correct otherwise one of your landing gear maybe shorter than the other.Personally I used the front bay only and stayed with the kit rears. Just not worth the hassle for minimal extra detail.

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I have the BB early cockpit in my single seater and the detail was alot better than that panel you showed us. It looks like it was a direct copy of the kit but had better detail on the sides of the centre post where the rudder pedals attach. Well I ended up cracking it in 2 right thru the lower MFD opening. luckily the kit part fit perfectly in its place.

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I would go with the Aires front wheel bay but not use the two main gear bays.The detail is not much better than the kit parts and if you do replace them make sure you set them in correct otherwise one of your landing gear maybe shorter than the other.Personally I used the front bay only and stayed with the kit rears. Just not worth the hassle for minimal extra detail.

I thought the same thing in my last CF-18A build and stayed with the kit parts, which are pretty good overall. However, there are a zillion 1/32 Academy F-18 builds out there that all look terrific, so I want this build to somehow be "special", which includes the Aires wheel bays. I'm pretty sure when they finally get installed and I get the G-Factor gear in them, you'll agree it was worth it. We'll see.

Edited by chuck540z3

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I have the BB early cockpit in my single seater and the detail was alot better than that panel you showed us. It looks like it was a direct copy of the kit but had better detail on the sides of the centre post where the rudder pedals attach. Well I ended up cracking it in 2 right thru the lower MFD opening. luckily the kit part fit perfectly in its place.

I found the same problem with the Black Box/Avionix F-18A cockpit I put in my last CF-18A build. Besides horrible instructions (they are still a joke), the instrument panels are poorly cast, with vague details and warped edges. Thankfully the kit ones are really, really, good, so when it's all done, it should look as good as my last attempt below. This time I'm going to tone down the vivid decals in the screens, which are too bright.

F-18-3.jpg

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