by: Tim Hatton [ ]
A very welcome release amongst F-4 Phantom II fans is the release from Afterburner Decals of the stencil set in 1/48. This release is specifically intended for the slatted wing F-4E dressed in South East Asia [SEA] camouflage. Afterburner say this is a definitive release and who can argue with that, as Afterburner Decals are well known for their passion and depth of research of their chosen subjects. The decals are printed by Cartograf.
The F-4E Phantom II was notable for many things, one of them was the huge number of stencils that were applied to the aircraft. Not many if any of the kit manufactures rose to the challenge of producing a comprehensive set of stencils within their kits. Afterburner Decals have stepped into the breach and are now offering a complete set of stencils for the F-4E.
Within the A5 transparent resealable bag are:
2 x sheets of decals. They are approximately A5 and A6 in size.
9 x A4 full colour stencil guides.
Afterburner Decals have sensibly broken the stencil guides into sections:
Left side nose.
Right side nose.
Left side aft fuselage.
Right side aft fuselage.
Fuselage top and wing pylons.
Bottom fuselage forward and bottom fuselage aft.
Bottom wings [inside the hinge line]. Also the speed brake and main gear door interiors.
Upper wings [inside the hinge line].
Left upper and lower wing, right upper and lower wing.
Afterburner Decals sensible breakdown of applying the stencil, will mean that the modeler should be able to work on one section of the model in one or two sessions. The reason for this is the shear number of stencils involved. For example there around 35 stencils to apply onto the right upper [outer] wing. On one wing pylon alone there are 14 stencils to apply.
Each stencil is clearly marked both on the stencil guides and the decal sheet. As you can see from the images there is no need to reach for the magnifying glass when consulting the stencil guides.The guides are large and clear. You may need the magnifying glass for some of the decals though. If you do you will discover that the stencils are, despite there small size, all very legible. The quality of the decals printed by Cartograf is outstanding, each is is sharp, good registration and colour is nice and deep. The decal sheet is logically arranged with each section grouped together with relevant stencils. Valuable time is spent placing the stencils, not searching for them on the decal sheets.
National insignia are included for the four positions where they were applied. Also included are formation lights for the wings, fuselage and tail. Mentioned earlier was the passion and depth of research of the Afterburner Decals. This is I think is summed up with one stencil in particular the “NO STEP” warning in yellow for the bang seat cushions. Yes there are stencils for the ejector seat as well.
This is a great release from Afterburner Decals and one that many “double ugly” fans have been waiting for. It is going to be time consuming applying them all, there is no doubt about that. But we have waited a long time and this modeler thanks Afterburner Decals very much for producing them