The one thing I have noticed about these two Academy kits I've been working on (See Academy 1/72 F-18A here
) is how detailed they are straight out of the box. I'm a lover of detail and have a habit of throwing lots of resin and photo etch at my projects. But these 1/72 offerings really don't need any aftermarket parts.
That being said I thought I would try out a detail set from Aires just to see if I could add a few areas of interest.
The aftermarket set
When the Aires set arrived I found it to be jam packed with resin and photo etch, cockpit tub, ejection seat, gun bays, wheel wells and doors, refueling probe and housing, air intakes, 50cal machine guns and a full engine. The photo etch fret contained a burner can ring, seat harnesses, machine gun ammo belts and various bits for here and there.
And so to the build.
As ever the resin cockpit was first and I was quite surprised at how good the Aires control panel looked once completed.
A little fiddly at this scale but well worth the effort.
The resin ejection seat was another little gem but the face curtain handles where again quite a challenge to add without bending.
After this it was just a question of painting and adding detail to the knobs and dials. I deliberately didn't do too many fading effects in the cockpit due to the scale.
On to modifying the fuselage halves by cutting out two panel sections, one from each side. The first being the gun bay and the second the fuel probe housing. Once these sections were removed I did a little careful sanding to square off all the edges.
At one point I was a little worried about all the resin that was going into the fuselage (the cockpit, gun bay, fuel probe housing and the engine) but fortunately after a little sanding here and there everything fit snugly.
Although the Aires resin set was quite extensive I decided not to use all of it as some pieces were identical to the kit parts and it would have been pointless to just make work for myself, so I left out the wheel wells.
The resin engine was another great little addition with its photo etch burner ring. After everything was fitted in place it was time to button up the fuselage and after a little sanding of resin it went together nicely.
Once the general construction was done I turned my attention to painting. Not too complicated as it's just grey!
Although as usual I did do a little pre-shading and then after the initial coat of ghost grey I lightened the mix with white and sprayed here and there to fade the paintwork. I repeated this step four times, adding more white on every pass.
I always had a fondness for the US Navy's Sundowners (VF-111) Squadron, so it was a no brainer that I would use some aftermarket decals for this build.
Sadly the Print Scale decals I went with were to be honest, terrible. Very thin and prone to folding up on themselves or tearing. I found once I placed them on the model, even with copius amounts of water they would bearly move. So enormous care had to be taken.
After everything was sealed in I coated the Crusader with some general dark dirt weathering and some hydraulic streaks. The undercarriage and refueling probe were added and there we go, all done.
In conclusion these Academy kits are great and really don't need any resin to upgrade them unless your a total detail geek. I would definitely recommend them to anyone who wants a good solid kit that goes together with little or no trouble.