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1/32 Trumpeter F/A-18F Super Hornet REBUILD


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Went to my local monthly hobby night and on our display table was a Super Hornet. Long story short, it became mine for free!
The kit is 95% done, with the builder sort of giving up because of an issue with one wing (a bit lopsided) and not finishing the ordnance, particularly the AIM-9X missiles which were missing from the kit.

Took me about an hour, but I disassembled what I could, including the offending wing, but also all the undercarriage, canopy, seats, tails and nozzles. He didn't use very strong glue so it was relatively easy to manhandle apart.
The only extras on the kit were resin seats - which are too tall to close the canopy - and some photoetch for the cockpit. Rest is stock.

I'm clearing my bench to finish this, where my plan is to convert to wheels up, repaint and weather the heck out of it, providing a great testbed for my other naval aviation subjects. 


I shall call it the "Recycled Rhino"

Here we go...


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Some progress.


I started with the cockpit and trying to get the canopy closed. It was posed open because the resin seats that were used were too tall to close! I removed these and made up the kit seats, then modified (i.e slimmed down) some surplus Academy crew figures to fit. Had to chop off the back seat driver's feet - this is normal for Trumpeter, they never seem to make their cockpits the right depth.





Next was trying to get the canopy to pose closed, and after checking that the crew and seats fit with the closed canopy, I noticed a big gap down each side. I tried first to remove some offending PE on the back plate that I thought was blocking it, but then I needed to take away a fair bit of the notches on the back as well as a bit of clean up where it meets the front windshield.


 This is the best I came up with - a near 1mm gap on one side, and 0.5mm on the other:


I will add a shim to the bottom of the canopy and reshape to fit, seems the best option.


Also took the windshield off and cleaned up the glue join, then noticed there's no HUD! So I'll scratch one up next. May add some more detail to the cockpit, its pretty bare, but want to get cracking.


Next is fixing those wings....

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Are you taking the decals and paint job off? I know that Speed Hunter Graphics have a nice sheet for the Super Hornet, and Zacto models can fix the missing Aim 9x problem with some amazing resin missiles, and he now also has

aim 120c amraam. 

Good luck with this, I look forward to seeing your progress. 


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Yep Ive already stripped the decals and most of the paint off. I'm going to make up some masks using my silhouette cutter, plus I have some stencils that are surplus. I'm thinking of doing 205 from VFA-103, which means I'm not stripping the tail paint, just modding the numbers (originally 200).


For the AIM-9X, Ive got some spares inbound, or I might use some AIM-9M's from my Tamiya F-16C kit. I have some references that they are sometimes used on Super Hornets.

I'm trying not to go down the aftermarket route - keeping it cheap but cheerful. I'm getting other weapons from other sets, thinking a HARM and a GBU31 with a centertank for the loadout. Just need to work out the base next for posing inflight.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got all the paint stripped off, now it's time to start converting to inflight.


First, a "jimhole" - Long story - in the fuselage, I positioned this just behind the centerline fuel tank:


Next, a 3.8mm styrene rod. I put a cap on this and shaped each end to sit flush inside the fuselage and match the outside contour:


excuse the messy wheel wells, I'll be closing them up remember! 

Next, a 3mm carbon fibre rod inserted into a nice little base I got off a local supplier:


And voila - flying SuperHornet:


Thinking a squadron patch on the base perhaps?


You might see some black dots here and there on the fuselage - thats my next stage, cleaning up the seams and bad joins from the original build. A fair bit to do actually, the more I took paint off, the more sloppiness I saw. I'll get this done, plus close the wheel wells before reassembling the wings and other bits.

And when I run out of patience, I'll start painting the crew and detailing the cockpit.

Thanks for watching...


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More work on the Rhino. Pictures look rough, but it will clean up once done!


First, I closed up the main wheel well doors. These required the usual shimming and adjustment - on almost every surface to get fitting somewhat respectably. The drawback of being an aircraft modeller....



Note the seams that needed addressing nearly all round with some Bondo (red) putty.

These weird triangle indents done by Trumpeter were filled with shaped 1mm plasticard:


And the ladder door was taken off and refitted as best i could flush, will need some filler, I couldnt find the small tab piece at the end so added with plasticard.



Next will be wing and nose reattachment and filling those seams, spot priming to check it all looks good, then I can get on with the cockpit and crew. 

Ordered some new low viz decals and stencils - very hard to find!  


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