1/48 Hasegawa a F-18F Super Hornet

Gallery Article by Carl Jarosz on July 8 2019



F-18F Super Hornet VFA-41 Black Aces

I had this kit nearly finished over five years ago, and finally got the gumption to get it finished to my liking. It's one of Hasegawa's best releases of the F-18 E/F Super Hornet. The special Cartograf decals depicting the CAG aircraft of the unit forced me into buying it back when.

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Hasegawa's part moldings were nearly flawless, so I didn't add any exterior detail sets, but I increased my investment by buying True Details after market cockpit seats; they're unsurpassed in detail. The cockpit panels were from the kit; they looked great to me as is. I also loved the moveable parts: I pitched the rudders, stabilators, and flaps to represent a landed aircraft.

As one can anticipate, the greatest chunk of time spent on this build - with the exception of the masking and painting - was the decal application. I caution a potential builder of this kit to be gentle on the broad black ace decal on the dorsal fuselage: it'll stretch coming off the decal sheet backing, and if pulled too hard, it'll split, leaving a real mess to salvage.

I added one special touch: I fashioned intake duct covers from 1) cotton balls for backing (sticking inside the duct and leaving enough for pushout of cover); 2) red masking tape for the covers, cut to size; and 3) application of the "Black Aces" emblem onto the masking tape covers (for unit identification, so no other unit on board the aircraft carrier will steal the covers).

I went easy on the ordnance, as "CAG birds" were kept much cleaner than other aircraft assigned to the unit and not exposed to hazardous missions unless in emergency. It was impossible, however, to prevent oil streaks and grime being created from normal flight operations. I used black pastel for the oil streaks. I employed Black Detailer in the wheel wells to give them the right contrast with grime accumulation. 

Finally, since I didn't want to hide the characteristic stripe on the centerline external tank, I omitted the extra external wing tanks.

Carl Jarosz

Photos and text by Carl Jarosz