The 1/72 Academy kit of the Hornet has been released for a few years now and has become the accepted model to build if you're after a Hornet in 1/72nd scale.
Fortune would have it that I had been looking at this kit recently and through the gratitude of a friend I had a set of these recently released Worimi Hornet decals in my hand. Steve Evans from Ronin Decals manufactures then here in Australia and they've been released in the three major aircraft scales. I don't know if they're still available but this is his eBay store.
So they decals didn't end up being consigned to the decal album to be built another day I put out the call for the Academy kit as they were becoming harder to find in the local shops. Paul Skuse is a chap I've come to know reasonably well over the last twelve months and he was the one who sold me the kit. It also helps the that he's the owner and operator of The Last Stand Miniatures and Gaming Hardware at Corinna which is only a thirty minute drive away. A good price was given and cash exchanged hands and I was off. As mentioned earlier I picked up the Red Devils VMFA-232 kit so I was good for all the correct parts. The Red Devils box contains both fin types to do the A and C versions, an ideal kit if you want to do either and you can't source the other versions.
This is the kit that I used.
The build of this kit has been covered numerous times on other sites that I won't go into. What I will discuss here are the things I did to make a RAAF jet and the paint colours used.
The changes required to make this a RAAF jet are as follows.
The cockpit is more than acceptable in this scale. You could go to town with aftermarket sets but I chose not to as I want to highlight the decals. The seat is incorrect for an Australian jet as we have different seatbelt arrangements due to its non naval configuration and different flight suits. The seat is probably the only thing to change or modify but I'm happy with it. The stencils on the head box come from the kit and I think the straps on the head box need to be blue. Green MFD decals are supplied which are a good colour considering the scale.
Priming was done using Gunze Mr Surfacer 1000 thinned with Mr COlor Levelling Thinner. I ran this through my Harder and Steenbeck Infinity at approximately 20psi. I thin it at a ratio of approximately 60:40 thinner to primer. The primer worked very well and showed up some finishing problems that I had.
Primer showed up a few problems around the ECM blisters behind the canopy. You can see my handy work to remove the issue. You can also see the holes that will be used to mount towing tanks. I filled in the outboard holes as they won't be used. Additionally the front nose panel forward of the wheel bay is correct. Be sure to choose the right one!
And finally the rear slime light has been replaced. It looks much better that the original kit suggestion.
I'll make a note here about the colours suggested on the instructions and the colour that Gunze suggests.
First of all, chic you references. I didn't.
It turns out through lots of photographic evidence that the underside colour of the Hornet should be lighter that what is suggested on both the instructions and what comes out of the pot of Gunze's H308 FS36375. Going by my Mk.I eyeball it was plain to see that the contrast between the upper and lower grey should be much more evident. This is most noticeable around the teardrop at the rear fuselage area which you can see in one of the photos. I've read that the top side colour fades to a lighter colour but I think in this case it is a good match. Next time I will lighten the lower colour by adding a few drops of white to the grey to lighten it. This will give a better contrast between the two colours.
I created a cutting template for the rear teardrop area so I can easily cut the shape. Flip it over and you've got the other side of the fuselage. These come in different shapes so I might do another one for some variation.
I don't go mental with masking particularly when there are similar colours involved. It's a different story however if metallics or dark and light colours are being sprayed. There can never be too much masking.
The Oxford??? blue that comes in the H326 bottle from Gunze's acrylic line is spot on for the Worimi Hornet. I don't think you could get a better colour match here. When thinned appropriately and sprayed at a lower pressure (15-20psi in this case) the stuff sprays like glass. Hopefully the images below will give you an idea of how it came out.
I've fixed the touch ups required seen in the photos since I took these. The model is now ready for a gloss coat!! Stay tuned.