Hello and welcome back to The Scale Model Hangar!
When Meng Models announced their new tooling of the Super Hornet they immediately had my attention! Men’s reputation for crisp, accurate models has won them praise in the scale modelling community and new releases always attract high volume sales. This kit was no exception.
The Superhornet has been a difficult subject for model manufacturers and until now Revell and Hasegawa kits were the only game in town in 1/48 scale. Hobbyboss has also jumped onto the bandwagon but as of yet I have not built their rendition of the Superhornet.
Meng’s kit is what I will dare to define as a kit sitting somewhere in between Tamiya and Hasegawa in terms of quality, engineering and fit. By that I mean, its better in detail and fit than the Hasegawa kit but not as almost perfect as the latest generation of Tamiya kits that many of us drool over with wonderment!
My kit being the E model of the Superhornet is the single seater version so I would not need the extra bang seat and pilot that was supplied on the sprues giving us the indication of an F model kit to follow on in the future.
Meng’s kit gives the modeller a lot of options-It comes with crew figures, a full array of underwing stores both air to air and air to ground munitions, a wing fold option and several decal options too!
I had a particular jet in mind for my Superbug so I chose an anniversary CAG scheme from VFA-31 TOMCATTERS for after seeing this scheme I fell in love and was compelled to build it!
I had saved the FIGHTERTOWN decal sheet for quite some time with the Hasegawa kit in mind, but when Meng came along with their new tooling I knew I would use it for this jet.
So here is the beautiful VFA-31 Superhornet I wanted in my collection:
There really was not much that I felt I needed to add to Mengs kit-I did however purchase a resin Maverick missile from Eduard and a US Navy pilot figure from Reedoak as I wanted to pose this aircraft as it would have been on its 2015 deployment cruise on USS George W Bush.
The assembly of the model was straightforward enough and minimal sanding of seam lines was enough to prepare the surface for priming. The landing gear and their wells are exceptionally well moulded and look fantastic with a dark wash over them to accentuate the details. Also the surface detail of the airframe is very well done, recessed lines are sharp as is the rivet detailing. The flaps and slats can be posed up or down, I chose the latter configuration for my build.
The real challenge here was to capture the look of a US Navy CAG jet on deployment. So it is going to be weathered, it is going to have paint corrosion but it is also the CAG’s jet so it will also be well cared for.
This is a fine line to tread as I love to weather my subjects! In the end, what I chose was to weather my jet in such a way to suggest its coming to the end of its deployment on the carrier and as such carries the look of a salt beaten Navy strike fighter.
My paint and weathering technique was my usual combination of Black base, Marble mottling and then layers of grey. For the Greys I used Gunze acrylics 307 and 308 US Navy Greys as I feel they offer the best, most realistic colour matches. The model was then clear glossed and decals from Fightertown were applied. They are without doubt some of the finest decals I have ever used. Highly recommended!
Once I had the markings on another clear gloss was applied to the model and after curing for 24hrs I set myself task of weathering this lovely looking jet. I used MIg AMMO Blue/Grey enamel wash to highlight the surface details and oils were used to add depth to the paint. Used well, they can enhance the whole look of the model and add an extra layer of depth to the paint and weathered tone to the aircraft’s skin.
The rest of the build was made up of finishing the weapons loadout, canopy and pilot figure. I also bought a custom display case and painted it to resemble a carrier deck.
Here is a gallery of some “work in progress” shots from the build:
So here is my “Easy Rhino” Meng’s 1/48 F/A-18E Super Hornet in the markings of VFA-31 TOMCATTERS!
Thanks for stopping by and looking at my model. I sure hope you enjoyed my take on the Superhornet and maybe try Meng’s kit yourself.
I’ll see you again on the next build, in the meantime, take care and Happy Modelling!