A Round Tuit

It’s big, it’s heavy and it’s been this way for maybe 15 years. Testors F/A-18 Hornet. 

Well, it’s been a fun semester. So much fun that I didn’t write half the things I intended, well, not in here anyway.  The World History:  Military Aviation course at PSU was a lot of fun.  I gave my presentation on the TSR-2 on the very last day of dead week.  We had presentations on the B-24,  C-130, F4U Corsair and the Sopwith Camel from the other students. John Daley told us about the A6M2 Zero as well. We had a good time talking about the late James Stokesbury’s  book A Short History of Air Power and we had some frank discussions about errors, omissions and possible sub-editing.

As you may have gathered, inspired by all of this I did make a couple of models while I was on the course.   Not only the TSR-2 and B-24 but also an F-111, all in 1:144 scale.  The F-111 fitted with my narrative on the TSR-2 story quite well. One day I want to do a little more research on the fascinating political history of the TFX / F-111 and the number of times the Convair / General Dynamics plant in Fort Worth has been at the center of  some degree of controversy.

Emboldened by all this, I went to visit a site in the house which has been more or less undisturbed for quite a while.  This is the place where I put down the Testors F/A-18 Hornet in about 2003, thinking “I’ll get around to finishing it some day.”

I bought it in the Joplin branch of Hobby Lobby ages ago. It was on sale for a ridiculously small amount of money.  It’s big and it’s heavy, being mostly made of die-cast metal.  You can see from the kitchen scale picture it weighs two pounds and three quarters of an ounce (928.44714 grams) in its current state. I started putting it together and as you can see filled in some of the more egregious gaps in the nose.  And that was where it stopped. “Oh, I’ll get around to it.”  The human condition in a nutshell.

I have the box in which it came.  It’s empty. I use it to hold a few assembled models.  I do not seem to have any of the remaining bits. No ejector seat, no undercarriage doors, no underwing pylons, no arrestor hook, no fuel tanks or weapons (if there were any).  I think those pieces are in the house somewhere but I have no idea where.

The trouble is, I’d like to finish this thing.  I’d hate to discard it.  I have been looking for any kind of box, container, envelope that might contain these items but to no avail. 

My next thought was aftermarket accessories. I can certainly get a fairly nice ejector seat,  but undercarriage doors and pylons?   Someone was selling pylons a few years ago but not any more.  I could get a new wheel well detail set including the undercarriage doors but the surgery involved on this lump of metal is just too much.

I noticed on the Web that there is a much derided 1:48 Hornet kit by a Chinese (?) company called Kangnam, and the sub $15 price tag online makes me think seriously this might be a cheap way to get some or all of  the bits I want.  I can see a few risks in kit bashing at this level but the price tag of the whole kit taken against the total cost of aftermarket parts makes me think it just might be worth it.  I’d much rather adapt a few parts than try to make my own from scratch.   I can worry about aftermarket decals later. I was thinking of a USMC Desert Storm scheme simply to emphasize the mass of the thing but that’s for another time

If any of the readership out there has any thoughts on this I’d be very happy to hear from you.   If you happen to have a surplus 1:48 Hornet that we could haggle over, so much the better!