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1/32 Academy F/A-18D VMFA(aw)-224

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Hi there. Here's my very first 1/32 jet. Obviously for me, it had to be a Hornet.

I chose the markings (or actually an approximation of) VMFA(aw)-224 as it appeared during 2005 deployment to Al Asad in support of OIF.

Built it out of the Night Attack boxing, which I hoped would include some decals I could use for the scheme. I knew I would have to do some masking or such for some markings - the unit designation and such, but hoped I could at least have the Bengal crest as decals. In the end, I had to design and print all the decals, save for some stencils near the tailhook and slime lights. That was another first for me.

Finding any reference turned out to be a bit of a pain, since the Bengals operated a tiger striped jet since at least 2002. And it isn't the same one 😉 Actually, Academy decal sheet had the correct BuNo, but it was repainted sometime before the 2005 deployment. I've read somewhere it had its center barrel replaced. Based on few photos I had, of which there were only 3 from Al Asad I traced the stripes onto my model. The rest - most signifcant - topside, was guesstimated based on the Academy paint callout and some pics. So much for accuracy.

I used strictly model master and pactra paints.

The only aftermarket I used were Legend seats, SAC landing gear and D-mold intakes, coupled with a pair of gbu-12's from Eduard.

The seats were a must since in the box there are SJU-5/6's not the SJU-17's. SAC gear I had to use, since I broke the strengthening rod in the mlg. Intakes just looked nice, big plus for the perfect fit on the two part resin intakes. Gbu's were used, since that's what the jet carried usually.

The Litening pod was from a 1/32 Sufa I hoped to build as a Polish AF F-16D. I've sold it since though. Not enough shelf space and such, though this has changed since then.

All in all, a lovelly kit. Enjoyed every minute of it. If I were to do it again I would jump right in. Just would paint the darn thing dark gray, and then mask the stripes.

Here's a short WIP:

Sorry for not so stellar pics, it's the best I could do with a phone. And it shoots way better photos than my camera.


It doesn't help that, as a 1/72 scale guy I just don't have the proper backdrop.








I was really looking forward to that cockpit. In the end I'm not 100% happy with it. Frankly, I thought, that since I mostly do 1/72's It'd be a breeze to paint up that huge pit. Ah well. I was wrong.







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PT 2, with some better-ish lighting:

They were shot about a year after the previous ones.






Thanks for stopping by. If You have any comments and suggestions, they're welcome. Tips on taking photos with an iphone are also welcome 🙂


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Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate them very much.



On 12/28/2019 at 3:05 AM, speedlimit said:

Nicely done. Love the stripes. I too have a knack for hornets. Hoping to make a nice tiger striped hornet like yours. Congratulations!


Isn't the Hornet just a lovely plane? There's a nice Kinetic tiger striped Hornet currently on the market. Though it's the ATARS version, not used in combat in this livery afaik. And there were some very nice Canadian stripes in form of Leading Edge decals.They sometime pop up. Another great scheme, even if it's "just" a showbird. I built the 1/ 72 version - they were great.


I'll keep an eye out on Your build 🙂 


On 1/4/2020 at 5:02 AM, aircommando130 said:

Nice Hornet! I have that kit on the shelf  too. In the first set of pictures the blinds pulled the way they are almost look like a revetment wall!




Ha! Never thought of that. Now I wish I took some better pics.


On 1/4/2020 at 10:07 AM, polybebber said:

Quite impressive build and finish - compliments!!! Are the wingfolds an

option in the kit or are they scratchbuilt? If so, another hats off!!



Academy kit is great, wingfold is in the box. I've had some minor problems with it, but slight alteration on the kit parts did the trick.


Thanks for stopping by!

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