1/48 Hasegawa F-18D

F-18D VMFA(AW)-242 "Bats"

by Erin Kewin

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My model is of an F-18D that I photographed at an MCAS El Toro Air Show a few years back.  It is for the most part out of the box with some minor changes to the cockpit and the addition of armament.  The markings are from a combination of Superscale and Repli-Scale sheets as well as some hand painting.

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I used True Details NACES seats, I realize that these are not quite accurate but, they were the only ones available at the time I built this model.  Since the Hasegawa cockpit represents the early dual control D model, the aft cockpit need some changes.  The aft instrument panel needs three Muti-Function Displays on the top and the radio control panel below the center display.  To create this I first made a mold of the original panel, I then cast a new one.  
I now took the original panel and removed the lower MFD and the radio panel.  Then I dissected the cast panel and placed the MFD and radio control panel in the right place.  I also deleted the center stick, cut off the grip and casted a second grip.  These were the placed on the side panels.

The only modifications /  additions to the exterior were the ailerons were dropped and the red and yellow arm /  safe buttons on the nose were added.  Covers for the screens above the engines aft the tail fins were  added for a bit more color.

The Sidewinder is from a Monogram kit with Model Technologies photo-etched forward fins.  The data on the missile was hand painted.  The 5" rockets came from a Technics armament set.  The rocket pod on the left side represents one that has been used before; with the rocket exhaust stains carefully airbrushed over white.  Yellow decal strips were used to mark the rocket warheads.

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The landing gear wells were detailed only with paint to bring out the details.  An oil wash was applied to add depth.  I used Verlinden's Lock On No. 15 F/A-18A/C & CF-18C Hornet, as reference here, as it has excellent color photos of this area.

The paint and decals were little bit of a challenge.  Since I was modeling a specific airplane I had mix and match the decals.  I also had to do some hand painting.  The VMFA(AW)-242 on the spine was created by using a frisket mask.  I created the art work on the computer using a drawing program.  I then printed it directly to backing paper of the frisket film.  Because I cut the mask from the backing paper side, cutting through the paper and the film, the image had to be reversed, i.e. printed backwards. Then the letters were carefully cut out with a very sharp scalpel and a straight edge using the printed image to produce a mask.  The bat and lighting bolt were produced in the same manner.  I reversed only one image though to make a mirror image on the other tail.  I used Testors Model Master enamels throughout, with Testors Gloss Cote for decal prep and Dull Cote for the final finish.

The weathering was VERY subtle, as the real airplane was relatively new.  I use a little oil paint strait from the tube to produce grease and oil leaks, some were smeared in the direction of the air flow.  A technical pen with black ink was used represent the more prominent rivets an panel line.  The canopy was tinted with Future and food coloring.  The inside of the canopy was carefully masked an paint with a beige color first to represent the caulking and inner color of the framing.  Then it was painted black.  This was worth the effort as  it gives the canopy depth and accurately represents the junction between the canopy frame and the glazing.

Erin

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Photos and text by Erin Kewin