Some more pictures of the USMC strike group progress. This time it’s the fixed wing assets. The USMC operates a large number of F/A-18s in both ground and air-strike roles. Hind Commander doesn’t require many airplanes so I will just be doing 2.
The scheme is pretty simple and has been pretty consistent throughtout the 21st century. The top of the plane is painted in a light blue grey with a neutral grey underside. The colours are a little tricky, it’s hard to trust most of the pictures out there as they are pretty washed out (automatic white balance with a predominately blue background is the culprit). However, they are US planes so the federal standard will help us out. Research was pretty easy for this one. MAW Decals specialise in ultra-modern USMC and posts their instructions and painting guides online. They are all pretty similar when you are modelling in 3mm, but this sheet shows the livery quite well. I used the following colours for the base coating:
- Underside FS36375: Light Grey (VMA 71050).
- Topside FS36320: USAF Medium Grey (VMA 71120).
- Canopy: 50% Black & 50% German Grey (VMC 70950 & VMC 70995).
- Nose Cone: Golden Yellow (VMC 70948).
- Missiles: Medium Sea Grey (VMC 70870).
The difference between the top and underside of the airplanes is pretty subtle and not easy to see in the photos. Hopefully the first photo where one plane has the Light Grey undercoat and the other has been given the Medium Grey topside make it clear.
Once the base colours had been applied I added a wash. I’ve really fallen for the grey wash I used for the E-8 build: AK Interactive’s Grey Wash for Kriegsmarine Ships (AK 303) and so I applied that to the panels and joins. I then cleaned the panels with white spirits. The following pictures show both with the wash: before and after cleaning. One of the things I like about this technique is that it doesn’t change the underlying base colours. Acrylic washes slathered on (and dips) do change the colour by leaving a thin layer on everything that you then try to pick off by highlighting.
And now to prove I can use the camera, a couple of photos of them both all done with the white balance properly set. Still slightly red, but that’s pretty much their colour. I might do some highlighting of the wing edges to make them pop a little more, but I’m pretty happy with how these two turned out.