Introduction: Blue Angels Model Conversion
This instructable is about how to make a 1/48 scale blue angels F/A-18 Super Hornet model, without decals. I enjoy reading about military history and have a large personal library, and enjoy researching and building military vehicle models. This model started out with a gift of Revell's 1/48 scale model F/A-18-E Super Hornet kit for my birthday, I decided to convert it to a blue angel after pondering what type of paint scheme I wanted. This project took a lot of work and planning and I ended up painting the body blue and the easily masked wingtips, tails, and dorsal arrow, and then setting the model aside for a number of months since I didn't feel ready and prepared to finish the project. After conducting more research and gathering more images to rely on and give a consensus of how things should look I finished the model about 2 years ago. This model is not accurate depiction of a blue angel since this is a super hornet version E and the Blue Angels use the older regular hornets and haven't updated yet.
Model kit of F/A-18 Hornet - can be found online or at a hobby store, Hobby Lobby is the best since they have their 40% off coupon.
Paint - I used Testor's enamel oil based Gloss, Dark Blue, Yellow, Black, and White all over and inside the model as well as Silver for the engines. I would suggest using Acrylic paints though since they are much easier to clean up than oil.
Paint thinner or Cleaner.
Masking Tape - I used masking tape on the tail and elevator surfaces and the dorsal arrow on top of the body.
Glue - Testor's model cement is what I used.
Paintbrushes - I didn't have an airbrush at this time so the model was entirely hand painted with 2-3 coats of colors, so I used a medium sized brush for the body and a very fine tip brush for the detail work.
Steady Hands - When hand painting or even airbrushing you need to e steady and sure of what you are doing.
Photos and reference material - I gathered photos from online, took photos of a blue angel on the Lexington in Corpus Christi, and saved a magazine article about the blue angels.
Step 1: Complete the Model.
First you need to complete the model and have the aircraft mostly together in order to begin finishing it. To begin you paint the interior items of the model first and assemble them according to the instructions, paint engine inlets, wheel wells and landing gear, and Cockpit. After the structure is complete you want to paint the body Testor's Gloss Dark Blue or another color equivalent (with mode paints many different companies make essentially the same color but have different names). Some parts of the body should not be attached now such as the Tail and Elevator surfaces, since it will be easier to work on them if they aren't attached. I used a paintbrush for my model and had to apply at least 2 coats to have a good color cover, it is easier if you have an airbrush but can be done with a paintbrush.
Step 2: Mask and Paint the Model
Now you mask the elevators and tails leaving the tips uncovered with the masking tape in order to have the straight yellow tips. Also mask the dorsal arrow on the top of the model which will be easier to do if the tails are left unattached, the dorsal arrow is also easier if you make the model with the cockpit closed. The wingtips also need to be masked as well, all tip masking should occur on both sides of the tails, elevators, and wingtips. I chose to make my model the number 1 aircraft since masking the number was much easier than any of the other digits, I simply masked out a rectangle in the appropriate spot on the tail. The entire model is much easier to paint if you made it flying instead of sitting on a runway like mine since you don't have to figure out how to paint around open wheel covers and open cockpits.
Step 3: Practice Painting
The most difficult part of this model was painting the Blue Angels name and shield under the cockpit, the U.S. Navy on the underside of the wings and rear of the body, and the F/A-18 Hornet Boeing logo on the upper sides below the dorsal arrow. Before attempting to paint them I practiced first by drawing the shield, the blue angels, and a scale wing and rectangle space for the US navy. I then practiced painting the blue angels by hand multiple times to know how to do it on the body. The shield was a cool project, I figured out how to first paint an entire yellow shield and then paint the left blue border and right side blue field on top of the yellow. Then a small white cloud on top of the blue field, and then 4 black dots on top of the white cloud, and a black dot on the yellow field on the left with a white dot on top of that. Under the shield is the blue angel banner which I did by painting the banner a yellow line first and then blue inside the yellow line.
Step 4: Paint the Details and Finish
After practicing I painted the Blue Angels shield and name on both sides of the fuselage under the cockpit, as well as the Boeing logo below the dorsal arrow. Then I painted the U.S. NAVY on the undersides of the wings and the sides of the engines, the undersides of the wings were a bit tricky and took a couple of tries and redoes. The final piece was the arrow on the bottom of the fuselage, which I painted by masking the wheel flaps and the lower part of the arrow and finished by hand painting the upper part of the arrow.
That is how I hand painted and converted my model from a regular Super Hornet into a Blue Angel.
Participated in the