Academy 1/72 F/A-18B Hornet, 2OCU RAAF – Tiger Scheme
It's been a slow year at Casa de Crosby but a second build has crawled it's way over the line.
The kit is the quite nice 1/72 Academy F/A-18D converted to an Aussie B. In order to get to the B version that we flew, a few lumps and bumps need to be removed from the plastic as well as a few omissions in the way of the ECM blister behind the canopy and the cheeks of the nose. Aussie machines also had the catapult launch bar replaced with a square piece of steel bar similar in weight to the original launch bar. They did operate without the launch bar for some time however shimmy problems of the nose gear required the installation of the bar to negate this problem.
Another item that needs to be addressed for RAAF machines is the tail stiffener on the left side of each of the fins. The Kinetic kit comes with the stiffeners as etch items so I scanned then traced them in Affinity Studio, scaled them down to 1/72 and then cut them in vinyl. A bit of Mr Surfacer of the top and they blend in well. The reinforcing cleats at base on the inside of the fins are also needed however as this kit was a D version they weren't supplied. If you've the A/A+ boxing you'll be in luck as they are included. I made mine from some plastic card cut to appropriate size and shape.
The decals are from Ronin Graphics here in Australia. They are very thin and the colour density is excellent but they are quite fragile if not handled correctly. I managed to fold a section of the tiger decals on itself so had to order a second set...doh. Anyone want a 95% complete set of this scheme in 72nd?
A colour chip of the orange is also provided with the decals so some paint alchemy, 30 minutes and lots of test spraying and I think I nailed the colour. There are many photos of this jet showing how worn out the grey scheme was at the end of its service life. A good example are the stabs. The left and right side are inter-changeable and this can be seen in the photos with the lighter colour of the underside appearing on the top side indicating they had been swapped out. I could spend hours on the weathering of the airframe but I'm happy with where I've got it to. Perhaps if it was 48th I'd spend a lot more time on it.
Enough words, onto the pics.
Hope you like!