This next build is the Revell 1/48 F/A-18E Super Hornet. For this build I will be using the Eduard cockpit detail set, a QuickBoost resin ejection seat, and Ares resin exhaust. The scheme I have chosen to do is VFA-37. The decal set is from Furball Decals for CVW-8 in 2017. The squadron was actually flying F/A-18C’s at the time and transitioned to the F/A-18E in 2018. However since I served with VA-37 (with A-7E’s) in the 1980’s and the squadron designation changed to VFA-37 when they went to the F/A-18’s, I am using the 2017 scheme on this Super Hornet to honor my squadron.
Starting off with the cockpit I detailed the instrument panel with the Eduard photo etch panels. The cockpit tub was also detailed using the photo etch. I then detailed the resin ejection seat which is a lot more accurate in size than the kit version. With the cockpit completed I turned to the fuselage. One if the negative parts of this kit is Revell marked the copyright stamp under the wing. Using a hobby knife and some sandpaper the marking is gone. I then prepared the intakes by filling the ejector marks with putty and filling the gap on the intake leading edge. I sprayed the wheel wells in white and then detail painted the cables and hydraulic lines that were molded into the bays. I dry fit the intakes to the fuselage and found the fit is poor. The intakes are going to require some shaping and putty to get them to fit correctly.
Week two of the Hornet I cleaned up the fuselage around the intakes. Since I will be using Aires resin Exhaust Nozzles I had to open up and trim out the exhaust area on the fuselage so they can be installed. I then turned my attention to the landing gear. The kit provides a clear nose gear door. There are vents on the bottom of the door. Revell opted to use a decal as the screen and be seen on the inside thru the clear portion. I decided to open up the areas and install some aluminum fine screen to better replicate the door. The nose gear was then assembled and installed.
The main gear needed some putty for some sink holes. While the putty was curing I added the outer section of the wings and the pylons. The horizontal stabilizers and tails were then installed. The main gear was then painted and installed. The kit main wheels have flat spots to simulate weight on the tires so I will install these after I finish with the landing gear bay details so I can get them in the correct position. Next up is building up the missiles and finishing the finer details of the fuselage so it can be painted.
The third week of the super hornet I finished the main landing gear. I then moved over to the missiles. I did not like the details and sizes of the kit missiles. I have two Meng kits that covers US missiles so I decided to use the AIM-9X from the one kit and the AIM-120C from the other kit. While they were drying after the initial painting I was looking over the fuselage and noticed that the kit does not include the ECS tubes between the tails for the later “E” version. I purchased the Eduard Brassin resin set and grafted these onto the fuselage. Since this is more or less a fictitious scheme I read that the US Navy is considering using a Litening targeting pod on the super hornets. So I used a 3-D printed Lightning pod and added a couple of Eduard resin GBU-54 bombs to the kit. With all the under wing stores built, painted, decaled, and ready for mounting I then started painting the base coat on the aircraft. I used Vallejo light ghost gray for the underside, dark ghost gray for the topside and the tails were painted dark sea blue. The gun plate was painted Vallejo metal color gunmetal. I am now working on the decals. Looks like I should have this build completed soon.
The Super Hornet of VFA-37 is I finished! I finished applying the decals and then top coated the aircraft. I then wet sanded the windscreen and canopy with 1000 then 2000 grit sandpaper to remove the mold seam on both parts. They were then polished with the Meguire’s Plastx cleaning/polishing compound.
I installed all the weapons, centerline tank, and Litening pod to the underside. The HUD and windscreen were installed. I positioned the canopy in the open position and this completed the aircraft.
The kit itself went together well with the exception of the intake fit. As noted this kit represents the early super hornet so I added the ECS tubes for the later version. The Furball decals were pretty good. The only issue I had was the walkway stripes fell apart due to the thin film when I tried to slide them off. I ended up using the kit decals for these. Overall I am happy with the final results. I also took some photos next to “C” model (also a Revell kit) so that you can see the size/shape differences between the two. I also included a photo with a VA-37 A-7E. I served with VA-37 and transitioned out just before the changeover to the F/A-18’s. I just need to build an A-7A with the early VA-37 markings to complete my set of VA-37/VFA-37 aircraft. Thank you for following along – Happy Modeling!