McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A-21-MC Hornet
Lt. Col. Jim "Catfish" Hunter
MCAS Beaufort, 1996/97
The US Marines Corps’ Warlords were disbanded in Feb 1997. The CO’s
aircraft was painted in patriotic colours just before the final ceremony.
With the release of the Black Box cockpit set, followed closely by the
Aeromaster sheet which had this scheme included (AMD48-485 "Stinging
Hornets Pt. VI"), there was no great effort required to decide to switch to
1/48th scale to build this aircraft. I was originally going to attempt to build
this aircraft in 1/72 and use my ALPS printer for the attractive blue-grey,
white and red markings. This aircraft is reasonably well illustrated in
Concord Publication's "Hornets Nest".
The kit was assembled almost as per kit instructions. I used the Black Box
cockpit set which made a big difference to the appearance of the
"office". Other changes made to the kit include:
- increasing the chord of the outboard ailerons by 1.5mm
- increasing the length of the droptank by 2mm (see below)
- added scratchbuilt angle of attack vanes to replace the overscale kit items
- added the canopy safe lever and chaff switch to the left side of the
cockpit (not in BB set)
- reduced the length of the pitot tubes as the kit ones are too big
- added the gun safety indicator on the forward port fuselage
- etched grille added over the rear accessories panel between the main gear
- intake blanks added from tissue and white glue
- added pins and "Remove Before Flight" tags to gear legs
- all panel lines forward of the nose rescribed to correct panel lines
- tail nav light drilled out and replaced with 5 minute epoxy
- added canopy handles between the mirrors
The fuel tank was lengthened by a whole 2mm by cutting the tank just behind
the rear panel (see photo) and inserting 2 pieces of 40 thou Evergreen
plasticard (tank is a scale 4" too short). The length of the full-size tank
is 188" (99.5mm in 1/48th scale).
For those using the Aeromaster decal sheet for this aircraft, do not use the
pair of decals numbered 38 (pilot's name "Maj. A. J. Savage").
This pilot's name is bogus, as stated on the decal sheet instructions. The
pilot's name that appears on the port side of the cockpit (in the same place as
decal 38) should read LTCOL J.E. HUNTER. The pilot's
callsign is located on the opposite side of the cockpit in the same place and
should read CATFISH. On the port nose gear door, there should be
two lines of text; the top one should read PLANE CAPTAIN, and
under that should be SGT MITCHELL. All these markings are the same
colour as the squadron codes on the decal sheet. This information came directly
from the Warlord’s final CO, Jim "Catfish" Hunter and one of the
former unit’s pilots Bob "Brutus" Charette.
I also produced a new set of warning and data stencils around the cockpit.
All these decals were done on an ALPS MD-1000 printer and are still legible
under a magnifying glass!
Intake blanks were made from tissue and white glue, and the ALPS used to
recreate the red stripe and white stars. Panel lines were preshaded with black
acrylic. The aircraft was painted using Gunze Sangyo acrylics. Being the COs
mount, weathering was kept to a bare minimum, with a wash of Payne's Grey oil
paint thinned with turps in the panel lines and some Burnt Sienna representing a
few post flight oil streaks.