Written by 4:18 pm On the Bench

WIP : Academy 1/72 F/A-18E Super Hornet ‘Top Gun’ Pt.1 – Construction

Like any self-professed aviation geek, I was a massive fan of Top Gun: Maverick and upon seeing that DEF Model has issued decals for the aircraft in that movie including of course, Maverick’s F/A-18E Super Hornet, I just had to build one. The kit will be the newish Academy offering that is (somewhat) snapfit. I pretty much cemented everything though.

Unlike the F-14 of the original film, photos of the Top Gun: Maverick aircraft used are readily available on the Internet. There were actually two Super Hornets painted up in Maverick’s scheme: an E and an F. The E was used for the exterior shots when we see Maverick doing his ‘pilot shit’.

Work begins with the cockpit. Instrument details are nice but no restriants are prpvided for the seat. Note that the cockpit comes with the rear cockpit tub as one part.

The seat details are decent but I added more using styrene strips. In my opinion the ‘X’ on top of the headrest is something that must be done because it’s a very obvious feature when seen under the canopy. I also did my usual masking tape trick for the belts.

With the seat being so visible, the added details help.

Next is carefully painting the cockpit and drybrushing the details on the consoles. I decided to paint the screens green instead of leaving them black as they should be (being off) to make the cockpit slightly more interesting visually.

The kit is sold as a snapfit kit. Parts fit using the pin and hole method and for the most part, they fit very well without the need for cement.

I had to use clamps to get the gearbay and bottom fuselage together.

The intakes are paired and required painting before assembly.

Academy’s approach to the intakes is much better than Hasegawa’s.

There is however a rectangular slot inside each intake that needs filling.

These were filled with styrene plate and sanded smooth.

Looks good. Note the very positive locating holes for the gear doors. I’ll happily sacrifice realism for this solution any day.

the rear cockpit is covered with a rear deck insert. Note the molded-in actuator: there’s no open canopy option.

The two halves come together using a pair of large pin and holes.

More clamping to force the two halves together. If I had to do it all over again I would remove the large pins and simply cement the halves together for an easier fit.

Looking at photos of Maverick’s Super Hornet, when attached, only the inner most pylons were used so I filled the other two sets kof holes with cut sprue.

The upper fuselage comes as one piece with the main wings so any alignment issues are avoided.

This is shaping up to be a nice kit.

Build Log
Pt.1 – Construction | Pt.2 – Construction | Pt.3 – Painting & Finishing

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Tags: , , , , , , , , Last modified: 26 January, 2024