January 14, 2016

Final 2015 In-House Contest Results

Here's the final standings from our yearly in-house contest.  The top three finishers all received HobbyTown gift cards at the Christmas party on December 29th, 2015.  Congratulations to the winners!
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Total
Pablo
7.5
10
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
10
7.5
10
90
Gary
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
10
7.5
10
7.5
87.5
Cody
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
82.5
Scott S.
7.5
7.5
7.5
10
7.5
7.5
0
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
77.5
Tomasz
10
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
0
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
77.5
Michael
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
0
7.5
7.5
7.5
75
Jon
0
10
7.5
7.5
10
7.5
10
7.5
7.5
0
0
67.5
Scott L.
7.5
7.5
7.5
0
7.5
7.5
7.5
0
0
0
0
45
Randy
0
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
0
0
0
0
45
Samuel
7.5
0
0
0
7.5
7.5
0
0
7.5
0
0
30
Mark S.
0
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
0
0
0
0
0
0
30
Ron
0
0
10
0
0
10
0
10
0
0
0
30
Jerry
7.5
0
0
0
0
0
7.5
0
0
0
0
15
Dave D.
0
7.5
0
7.5
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
15
Chip
7.5
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
7.5
Mark P.
0
0
0
7.5
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
7.5
Larry
0
0
0
0
0
0
7.5
0
0
0
0
7.5
Jamie B.
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
7.5
0
0
0
7.5
Mark B.
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
7.5
0
0
0
7.5



The plane that won it for Pablo

Pics from the final meeting of 2015




Cody's Revell '36 Ford, 1/25 scale

Another view of Cody's Ford -- I love that rumble seat

A couple of Revell 1/1200 waterline models from Gary -- the Scharnhorst and the ship that sunk her, HMS Duke of York

Michael's 1/56 T-26  from Battlefront

Hobbycraft Polikarpov I-16 type 24 by Tomasz

Tristar 1/35 PzKpfw IV D by Scott S

Pablo's Meng Me 410 in 1/48 -- Model of the Month

January 11, 2016

F/A-18F in 1/72 Scale, Revell vs. Hasegawa

By Jon Caldwell

Currently the mainstay in both attack and air defense for the US Navy, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet has become a popular subject for jet modelers.  Hasegawa's 1/72 Super Hornets first appeared around 2004 and have been re-released many times with different markings.  Revell came out with a 1/72 scale kit of the single-seat version in 2009, but it wasn't until 2012 that they issued their two-seat F kit.

As a test of how these two manufacturers compare on this latest version of the Hornet, I built both kits.  I’m hoping my experiences will be of help to those considering one or the other of these kits for their own collections.

General

The Revell version (kit # 04864) provides markings for planes from VFA-103, the Jolly Rogers, while the Hasegawa (kit #02010) has markings for a VFA-32 Swordsman CAG aircraft or a low-visibility scheme of a VFA-11 Sundowners craft.  Both kits had very similar parts breakdowns, from two-piece air inlet ducts to forward fuselage sections comprised of several pieces.  The rear fuselages were split horizontally into a top and bottom section.  The fit of both kits was excellent, with the exception of the joint between upper and lower fuselages behind the wing.  Here filler was required on both, and the molded-in scribing of the formation light was lost in both cases.  I chose to leave a smooth surface and apply the formation light decal without re-scribing the framing.

Hasegawa's VFA-32 F/A-18F
The Revell kit provides horizontal stabilizers molded in one piece with a shaft running between them; you’re supposed to install this unit when joining top and bottom fuselage pieces.  To make it easier to finish the fuselage joint, I cut apart the stabilizers and made a support for the inner ends of the shafts  so they could be installed at the end of the project without sagging.  The Hasegawa kit provides rubber rings that are installed in the fuselage interior so the stabilizers can be installed without cement and can be positioned, if desired.

Detail

The inlet ducting of the Revell kit is complete up to and including the engine inlet fan, while that of the Hasegawa kit ends in a blank wall at the front of the main landing gear bay.  Hasegawa’s panel lines were fine and included recessed rivets.  Revell’s recessed lines and rivets were deeper, which meant less re-scribing as work progressed.  On the finished models, it’s hard to tell the difference. 

Stores
Revell's version in VFA-103 markings

Both kits supplied two under wing and one centerline fuel tanks.  Hasegawa provided two AIM 120 AMRAAM  missiles and AIM 9X wingtip Sidewinders, but nothing for the remaining two wing pylons.  Revell’s kit has two MK 83 bombs, two AMRAAM missiles, and two HARM missiles along with AIM 9X Sidewinders.  Both kits also provided AN/ASQ-228 FLIR pods for the fuselage as well.

Cockpits

Both kits give you decals for the instrument panels and side consoles.  Hasegawa surfaces are flat where Revell provides recessed detail on the panels, consoles, and pilot seats as well.  I chose to spruce things up with Eduard’s F/A-18D seat belt set (#73-369) for the Hasegawa kit, and the Eduard Zoom F/A-18F cockpit set (#SS 488) for the Revell kit.  This set could probably also be used in the Hasegawa cockpit, but the  side consoles are slightly narrower and may require trimming the Eduard parts.  Adding the Eduard details benefited both kits greatly, and this was my first experience using after-market cockpit parts.  The seat belt set required about 2-1/2 extra hours while the complete cockpit rework on the Revell kit added about 4-1/2 hours.

Wings

Part breakdowns for the wings differed for the two kits.  Hasegawa provides the usual two upper and two lower wing parts; these assemblies are then added to the fuselage.  Revell has the upper wing surfaces, out to the wing fold location, molded along with the top of the fuselage, which saves time and filler at the wing-fuselage joint.  Even though Hasegawa’s fit was good, I spent some time adjusting the wing tabs and fuselage holes to get the location where I liked it.   After all this, the Hasegawa wings needed filler on the bottom to blend the wing into the fuselage, and the Revell kit needed some filler to take care of some minor sink holes on the bottom of the wing leading and trailing edges.  The Revell kit supplies separate pieces for the outer wing panels, so they could be displayed folded, but no hinge detail parts are provided.


Canopies

Both kits had very clear, thin, high-quality canopies and windscreens.  Hasegawa’s is molded with a three-piece mold, which gives a greater-than-180 degree bubble shape, but there is a mold line along the top of the outside.  This only took a few minutes to sand and polish out.   Frame details are recessed scribing.  The Revell canopy was the standard molding, with raised frame details, making masking slightly easier.

Decals

Both kits had extensive decal sheets which provided more than 120 separate decals for each airplane.  Colors were sharply printed and in exact register, so there were no problems in that area.  The Revell kit has you apply yellow trim and white skull and cross bones to a black painted vertical stabilizer, and the colors were very slightly transparent.  I had to touch up the yellow areas where two layers overlapped, since the single layer was slightly less yellow.  If I had it to do over again, I would take more care to make sure the yellow trim pieces meet at a corner so they don’t overlap.  The white markings looked fine once everything was complete. 

The Hasegawa markings for the CAG aircraft would have you use one decal to cover the entire vertical stabilizer surface.  With several raised housings at the top of the stabilizer, I decided this was too much to ask of a decal and chose the alternate color scheme of a non-CAG aircraft.  To its credit, Hasegawa also provides separate numbers and insignia for those who want to paint the stabilizers, but I still went with the alternate scheme.

Both kits’ decals responded well to Micro Sol, but they were somewhat stiff.  This was not a problem except when applying stripes to the missiles.  The only way to get the decals around each missile was to apply solvent; then it was a race to get the marking in position before it became too soft and wrinkled to be able to move it.

Instructions

Both kits had good instructions, but each had minor flaws.  Revell showed the weapons being mounted not vertically, but correctly slanted outward at a four degree angle.  Hasegawa didn’t make mention of this tilt, but perfectionists would want to know.  Revell’s instructions failed to mention painting the beacon lights on the vertical stabilizers.  Revell also had vague indications of exactly where the decals should be placed on the interior of the engine inlet ducts to simulate air bleed holes.

Summary

So which kit is better?  I guess it depends on which of the minor differences are more important to each modeler.  I spent the same amount of time on each kit, about 40 hours, half of which was for painting and decaling.  Both kits required a little filler in some areas but the overall quality was great.  For me, I’d have to give Revell a slight advantage because of the complete engine ducting, wings molded in with the upper fuselage, and more complete stores.  My suggestion – build both and see which you prefer!

Postcript-2017

Jon's Revell F/A-18F won Third Place in its category at 2017 IPMS/USA Nationals in Omaha.  Congratulations, Jon, on your great build.