F-18 Double Ugly - Loadout?

I’m back at the bench for the winter season and just started working on a 1/72 Academy F/A-18C (this kit). When I bought the kit last year I’d intended to do one of the colorful CAG birds, but having just finished a hi-vis F-14 I changed my mind and decided to do a lo-vis operational bird instead and take the opportunity to practice my weathering, mottling, fading, etc.

The switch means I’ve also decided to go with a more realistic, operational loadout… something that looks asymmetric, menacing and used… so, obviously tanks on 5 and 7 for starters, the pods (AAS-38 and ASQ-173) on the 4 and 6 stations, and the AIM-9s on the 1 & 9 wingtips.

Visually the GBU-12 pair on a VER looks cool, so that would go on 2.

That leaves 3 and 8 in need or ordnance.

The kit hardware is as follows:

4 x AIM-9L/M Sidewinders
2 x AIM-7M Sparrow
4 x GBU-12 Paveway II
1 x AAS-38 Laser Designator pod
1 x ASQ-173 Laser Detector/Tracker pod
1 x AAR-50 TINS pod
2 x Vertical Ejector Racks (VERs)
4 x External Fuel Tanks

I do have a Hasegawa smartbomb kit (JDAMs, JSOWs, and various GBUs), but not the AGM kit (with the Mavericks, HARMs, etc.)


Speaking only from experience of DCS a “usual” load out for me would be

Plylons left to right

1 - Aim 9
2- JDAM/JSOW depending on the target
3 - Fuel/GBU
4 (cheeks) AIM 120
5 - Lightning pod
6 Cheeks Aim 120
7 - Fuel/GBU/JDAM (same as 3)
8 - Aim 9

Assuming you want a ground attack.

Otherwise as many aim 9s and aim 120s as possible and a fuel tank in the centre.

No idea how realistic this would be but its a nice symetrical loadout

I found a loadout along the lines of what I’m thinking about listed on another forum…

1 - AIM-9X or AIM-9M
2 - GBU-12 on BRU-33 or 55 (VER)
3 - GBU-31
5 - Drop Tank
6 - AIM-120 (don’t have one yet… may leave it empty until I find a kit with one eventually)
7 - Drop Tank
8 - GBU-38 on BRU-55 / or AGM-65 Maverick / or AGM-88 HARM (don’t have, empty for now)
9 - AIM-9X or AIM-9M