with True Details resin seats and Orion Decals decals
US Marine Corps, VMFA(AW)-225 ‘Vikings’, USA 1998
Not satisfied with building two Hasegawa F-14s side-by-side, I then built two of their Hornets simultaneously as well. This is the F/A-18D kit from Hasegawa, and while not as complex as the F-14, it runs it a close second. A lot of plastic comes in the box as well as white metal gear legs and photo-etch for various cockpit, undercarriage and ladder fittings. The detail straight from the box is very good, but I replaced the seats with resin examples from True Details. The main short-coming of the model is that no intake trunking or engine faces are provided — a surprising omission given the cost of the kit and the detail provided elsewhere. The fit is good to poor, my particular problem areas being the nose to fuselage join, the join of the fuselage halves at the rear of the aircraft and the fit of the sensor pods on the fuselage undersides. I made a couple of modifications to improve the accuracy of the model: replaced the blade antennae with swept examples, added two extra chaff dispensers (taken from extra pieces of Hasegawa’s A-4 kits), added a GPS dome, added the IFF in front of the canopy (using spare Sidewinder etch parts from a Flightpath detail set), and removed the antennae from underneath the intakes. The reinforcing brackets for the fins were also intentionally left off. The markings are from Orion Decals and they were very comprehensive. I got some silvering, but that’s probably because I didn’t persevere with the decal solvents. Paints are Humbrol enamel and the upper surface colour hides the decals — I’m not sure if the error is with the paint or the transfers. This kit is complex, but nicely detailed. Like the Tomcat it requires patience and perseverance.
Year bought: 2000 (Interlaken, Switzerland)
Year built: 2003 (Victoria Road, Cambridge)