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Flyboy3394

1/72 Academy FA-18F Super Hornet Jolly Rogers Air to Air build.

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Decided to go with Academy's new FA-18F Super Hornet (new tooling). Going to build this as an air to air specific interceptor with all air to air missiles (6-8 Aim-120C/D and 2x AIM-9X). Weapons spread will be 2x Sidewinders on wingtips, 2x AMRAAMS each on two underwing dual LAU 115 launchers, and two AMRAAMS on single LAU 127 launchers. May put another 2x AMRAAMS on additional single LAU 127s on each wing for 8 AMRAAMS total (less realistic build). Using the Hasegawa Weapons 5 kit for most of the AIM-120s and the LAUs. I do have the option of using the Attack Squadron ones I purchased, but I have a huge mess of CA glue to clean to make them look halfway decent. 

 

Also doing this SuperBug in Jolly Rogers livery as included on the box. 

 

Initial bits: 

5bQZVEY.jpg

QRs5dn8.jpg

 

Top and bottom connected with intakes (masked internally). Sensor Pod also attached. 

atFJjrI.jpg

lVeRqII.jpg

Wondering if I should use a razor saw to cut the Flaps apart for a bit of added realism. 

 

 

Turbines painted in a mix of Alclad Pale Burnt Metal and Steel. 

3nf8T83.jpg

 

Exhaust bits also painted in Alclad Pale Burnt Metal and Steel mixed (not sure of ratio). 

bBuv3s3.jpg

 

Cockpit tub is painted in Dark Gull Gray as well as all the instrument panels and the inside of the upper airframe structure. 

ZhvFVOz.jpg

 

All the LAUs, missiles and drop tanks are painted. 2 underwing tanks in Light Ghost Gray, underbelly in MM gloss black. 

 

M5TLD0U.jpg

 

 

Up Next: Cockpit tub detailing, installation, and completing assembly. Then primer, preshading, and base coat(s). 

Edited by Flyboy3394
Addition

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Update 1:

Cockpit tub and displays are painted and in. 

AS7gXbA.jpg

Mxgf5uX.jpg

 

Almost done with final assembly

07K5rwO.jpg

 

Fitment issues with the nose section, very uncharacteristic of these new tooling Academy snapfit kits

8iTy1au.jpg

A4i2HS5.jpg

 

So I used plastic cement to get it attached evenly, and slapped putty on to fill in the gap:

LSGPI4d.jpg

CRtIZsE.jpg

 

Weapon Mounts!

Decided to use the resin dual LAU launchers from Attack Squadron, and attach them to the pylon meant for the 500lb JDAM:

 

33wYMa0.jpg

EbCfho6.jpg

LiWDOPa.jpg

 

And here it is after gluing the resin to the plastic pylon:

sK7pps5.jpg

jaFrZvp.jpg

57j7x8z.jpg

 

Once dry, I will fill in the gaps with some putty and repaint all of it together in LG Grey. 

 

Next up:

sanding the putty fix on the nose section, priming, and final prep for paint. 

 

Stay Tuned

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Update: 

 

 

O5iwA0y.jpg

tKirTMX.jpg

 

Puttying was complete, then I noticed that the nose was unsecured on the lower section, so it would come apart slightly and the putty had not properly adhered to the plastic, so I applied more putty, and cemented the inside of the LG bay to hold the nose on. 

 

Weapons (mostly) painted.

0liLJcJ.jpg

t1aDgeM.jpg

Most won't be used, aside from 2 AIM-9x and 6-7 AIM-120s. LAUs in there for good measure. 

 

Will update with those pictures, as well as the bird fully primed and ready for paint. 

 

Edited by Flyboy3394

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Update: 

 

Bird is primed and half painted: 

 

Primed in Alclad grey primer. Looks extremely close to if not identical to the Light Ghost Gray MM enamel I used on the bottom half. 

OpX26kN.jpg 

qPNpxzY.jpg

 

Light Ghost Gray MM Enamel: 

IpEOmvo.jpg

QDIYcZv.jpg

Coat came out pretty smooth and adhered well to the primer. 

 

2 AIM-120s are done: 

fO9fWr9.jpg

 

2 others are mostly finished (paint wise) but need a second coat as the acrylic MM I used was runny and the coat is uneven. 

 

Next: Topside of the airframe, Canopy masking and painting (gloss black), a second coat on the remaining missiles, landing gear, vertical stabs, and LG bay doors. 

 

Stay Tuned....

 

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Update: 

 

Topside base coat is down: 

hf3nazd.jpg

mJDJDUf.jpg

UbNlHwk.jpg

zl6e1gf.jpg

hEUk8LH.jpg

 

Note the blotchiness all over the top. This was done purposefully to add some weathering effect, like salty air eroding at the paint unevenly. It came out ok, but once I add the postshading effects, and addition weathering, I think it will end up looking at bit better at the end. 

 

Next: Postshading top and bottom, and additional weathering effect (maybe salt crystals). Landing gear bays, doors and the gear itself also need to be coated in White and LG Grey. 

 

Stay Tuned.....

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Looks good so far, I have the Hasegawa kit but there is an Academy kit on the LHS shelves that calls to me every time I go in there :rolleyes: I might have to rescue it next time!

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Update: Postshading

 

Took my first stab at postshading today. Did not come out clean or orderly, but I am not concerned due to this F18 being a very dirty bird. 

UGP9ryo.jpg

gtDjrqk.jpg

gBtg5rL.jpg

 

RT6zMGO.jpg

 

Also have all the AMRAAMs white tips painted as well. 

 

Next: Curing, landing bays, and random bits. 

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Update: 

 

The postshading came out really bad, at second glance, so I went back over it and covered it all up (on the top). 

HNubgm3.jpg

 

 

Looks uneven, but not ridiculous like with the squiggly lines. 

 

Landing gear bay doors are complete as well

14jN1Jz.jpg

 

Next is cockpit masking, nose painting, and curing. 

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Update: 

 

Canopy is masked and ready for some gloss black paint. 

vh4lkvt.jpg

Update: 

 

Got the Canopy painted and curing:

qnZ01RE.jpg

 

Radome done as well: 

h6bpg6d.jpg

AbWDYAy.jpg

 

Front gear bay painted as well: 

rsIuZ3c.jpg

BiNiWE6.jpg

 

Sidewinders are ready for decals (post curing): 

WXbF1zK.jpg

 

And got the gear built: 

pz0awmk.jpg

 

I know there is some kind of red striping on the front landing gear, but cannot, for the life of me, find any pictures that show the backside of the gear. Aside from this, I will likely go with some enamel steel to denote the suspension stanchions of the gear, and will do a black panel wash to give depth here, and the gear bays as well. 

 

Now I have to let this all sit and cure for a few days. Then, I think I will apply a coat of alclad aqua gloss as my first topcoat. I had better luck with the alclad than using future. Future kept bubbling on me, and I could not get a clean coat. 

 

Next: clear coat, then salt weathering? 

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Update: 

 

Sidewinders painted: 

a6AOPWD.jpg

 

Landing Gear bay painted: 

NUjBI89.jpg

 

AMRAAMs also painted and awating clear coat: 

wfEPxza.jpg

 

Clear Coat: First coat did NOT go on smooth, but as I am doing salt weathering, it shouldn't be such a big deal. 

OkTOulz.jpg

 

Got the gun section painted in a custom mix of MM enamel steel, RN Dark grey and burnt metal: 

SEgXQ6h.jpg

 

Next up will be salt weathering. No clue what I am doing with this, but it seems like if I take my time, I will be fine. 

 

Stay Tuned....

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Update: 

 

Decaling has begun, and I have found that the provided decals are extremely stiff, unwieldy, and prone to ripping. The large black decals shown below are extremely difficult to place correctly. Makes me wish I had just painted those sections black. 

 

These decals are Academy branded, and a far cry from the Cartograph branded decals included with the F15E strike eagle I build late last year. Those were easy to use and very solid. 

 

Decals: 

XCpC8jb.jpg

oIh4tlE.jpg

UNIyXv9.jpg

 

Will be continuing this tonight and until I finish. Also not going to do salt weathering after all, as I will likely just use washes to mimic weathering after decaling. 

 

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Update: 

 

Decided to strip the crappy black decals and paint them. I used ALclad black gloss microprimer as it would level better than, and dry faster, than standard MM enamels. 

uiwpiPZ.jpg 

rLrK1dn.jpg

 

Came out nice and smooth, and I think I was able to keep it covered long enough to avoid debris getting imbedded into it too deeply. 

 

Meantime anyone have recommendations on a good 1/72 FA18E/F decal sheet? I ruined a few other decals in this process and need to replace them. 

 

Will begin decaling Missiles and other bits next. 

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Update: 

 

Got the Vertical Stabs Decaled. Though, without a base coat of paint or clear coat, the decals refused to stick. So I got them all on, and sprayed some spray can clear coat. Things have stuck, and I will apply a more refined clear coat after. 

 

bmcliJ2.jpg

EXzkZtU.jpg

 

Painted the black bits, and they came out quite well. Need to seal it up with clear coat, as it is just gloss primer. But so far, so good. 

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Update: 

 

More decaling done, and I am just about finished as far as i can tell. 

yPsAR6a.jpg

Sm4X06P.jpg

o2QUBSL.jpg

4lA0aWN.jpg

 

Under Fuselage fuel tank is all decaled and ready for clear coat: 

XR3GeJZ.jpg

5CXenqk.jpg

 

I did a dry fitting of all the wing station tanks and weapon pylons. Very tight fit but all looks good. 

KdxN0xU.jpg

uUQAMBh.jpg

 

Bit of a bummer that spraying the clear coat over the black bits made the paint bleed. Wondering if there is an easy fix for this.... 

 

Next step: seal up all the decals and prepare for the panel wash. Missiles still need to be decaled, and I have to go back and paint the AMRAAM tips due to some mistakes with clear coat that pooled up on the warhead. Bummer, but oh well, easy to fix.

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Update: 

 

More decaling done, and I am just about finished as far as i can tell. 

yPsAR6a.jpg

Sm4X06P.jpg

o2QUBSL.jpg

4lA0aWN.jpg

 

Under Fuselage fuel tank is all decaled and ready for clear coat: 

XR3GeJZ.jpg

5CXenqk.jpg

 

I did a dry fitting of all the wing station tanks and weapon pylons. Very tight fit but all looks good. 

KdxN0xU.jpg

uUQAMBh.jpg

 

Bit of a bummer that spraying the clear coat over the black bits made the paint bleed. Wondering if there is an easy fix for this.... 

 

Next step: seal up all the decals and prepare for the panel wash. Missiles still need to be decaled, and I have to go back and paint the AMRAAM tips due to some mistakes with clear coat that pooled up on the warhead. Bummer, but oh well, easy to fix.

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She is done! 

 

8QKdcPR.jpg

4SWM9yz.jpg

284dMCz.jpg

GTBl05w.jpg

 

 

Y9jq12i.jpg

 

Lots of things could be better, but I am overall pretty happy with the result! 

Edited by Flyboy3394

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7 hours ago, Flyboy3394 said:

She is done! 

Lots of things could be better, but I am overall pretty happy with the result! 

Better...that's why there is more models to build! So we can take what we have learned and apply those lessons to the next one!

Well done sir.

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Another build under your belt- alright!  I’m curious what tools and paints you are using for your paint work-  The reason I ask is because some of the texture issues you are having with your paint leads me to believe that you are applying too much paint in a single spray session, or perhaps you need to thin your paint a little more before spraying it.  What brand of clear coat do you use and how do you thin it? 

 

Steve

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15 minutes ago, Falconxlvi said:

Another build under your belt- alright!  I’m curious what tools and paints you are using for your paint work-  The reason I ask is because some of the texture issues you are having with your paint leads me to believe that you are applying too much paint in a single spray session, or perhaps you need to thin your paint a little more before spraying it.  What brand of clear coat do you use and how do you thin it? 

 

Steve

So I use MM enamels. I definitely had some snafus with thinning on this bird. I also made a real stupid gametime decision about spraying more paint in one spot to denote weathering. Dunno what i was thinking. That was the root of all the problems that happened later on. 

 

So yeah, little bit of both. I use the Alclad clears (pre-thinned). For this one, I used the lacquer gloss. Have had better luck in the past with the Aqua Gloss (acrylic). 

 

Also, the decals really were a major pain here. Super brittle and not great quality. Do not mold to curves well at al. 

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The weathering looks beautiful!!!  Did you ever find out what caused the black paint to bleed after clear-coating?  

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2 hours ago, crackerjazz said:

The weathering looks beautiful!!!  Did you ever find out what caused the black paint to bleed after clear-coating?  

 

Yeah it ended up being the clear coat itself. Its lacquer and the paint i used was an enamel gloss primer, so they just reacted. I solved it by leaving the masking on until I had clear coated over it. Made the black stay in place and seal nicely. 

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