Academy 1/48 General Dynamics F-111C

with Flightpath resin and metal Pave Tack pod and Aussie Decals decals

Royal Australian Air Force, 1 Squadron, Australia 1997

At the time of writing, the F-111 series from Academy are the only kits of the ‘Aardvark’ in 1/48 scale (excepting the rubbish Chinese copies). They are basic, but provide a good basis on which to build, and they have an accurate shape. I made a few modifications to this F-111C to make it a bit more accurate, such as modelling the main gear doors so they represent an in-service machine. The kit assembles well. Some have criticised the joint between the front fuselage, which is split vertically, and the rear fuselage, which is split horizontally. If the instructions are followed there will indeed be a large step between the two halves. However, my approach was to build up the front fuselage, and then attach it to the upper rear fuselage. Once hardened, the rear lower section can be added with only a very small mismatch. I added some plastic card to the interior of the main fuselage to simulate some ducting back to the engine faces. I also purchased a Flightpath Pave Tack pod and attached this to the fuselage underside. It looks too big, and only just clears the ground, but I’ve no idea if it is the correct dimensions or not. I should have positioned the laser designator as stowed. On the wings I hung an ordnance load I’d seen on an F-111C consisting of a Sidewinder, two Paveways and a Harpoon (actually an AGM-84E, which is longer) — all these are from Hasegawa weapons sets. The four-tone camouflage is Humbrol enamel, and the exhaust areas are Alclad II. The decals come from Aussie Decals, and they were fine. I positioned the refuelling receptacle markings in the wrong place — I should pay more attention to the instructions! At this time I became dissatisfied with Humbrol Matt Cote because it never seemed to harden. It dried, but would rub off and become grimy and sticky with handling (even when wearing gloves). I switched to Pollyscale Flat varnish, which is just as flat but dries and hardens much quicker.

Year bought: 1997 (Antics, Guildford)

Year built: 2002 (Maid’s Causeway, Cambridge)

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