by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ ]
The latest decal set from Werner's Wings allows you to build a wide selection of helicopters from the US Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) “Night Stalkers”. This set covers both A/MH-6 Littlebirds and U/MH-60A/L Blackhawks from the beginning days of the 160th SOAR following the failed Operation Eagle Claw, the aborted rescue attempt of US Embassy hostages in Iran, up through Operation Gothic Serpent (immortalized in the movie "Blackhawk Down") in Somalia in 1993. The decals are very nicely done and look to be the same high quality as Werner’s Wings other helicopter decals. They were also designed by Mason Doupnik and printed by Cartograph. The colors are the correct, subdued OD Green as seen on the Night Stalker’s flat black airframes. There are also full-color markings for the early aircraft before the transition to overall flat black was made as well. Each aircraft profile is clearly shown in full color to make decal placement easy and gives FS color codes for each aircraft. Also, each profile has a few sentences that provides a bit of history on the aircraft.
The set includes markings for 17 different aircraft (8 A/MH-6s and 9 U/MH-60s) plus partial stencil markings to include exit window markings, data plates, markings for rocket pods, and some other smaller warning placards. The Littlebirds that can be modeled include two early Y-tail AH-6Cs; one AH-6G that was shot down during Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1983; two other AH-6Js; and three MH-6s that allow you to build pretty much every version of Littlebird used by the 160th SOAR, as the title implies, from their conception up through Operation Gothic Serpent in 1993. For the Blackhawks, the set includes two early UH-60As with open exhausts that were used in Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and still sported standard US Army Helo-Drab Green paint, commonly called Velcro-Hawks since their equipment and gear was changed often; two UH-60As with Hover Infra-Red Suppression System (HIRSS) exhausts installed that were painted Navy Grey (known as Greyhawks) used in Operation Prime Chance in the late 1980s to protect US-flagged oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. The other five MH-60s are four L models and one A model that were involved in Operation Gothic Serpent in October of 1993. All of these are overall flat black with HIRSS exhausts installed and were featured in the movie and book "Blackhawk Down". Many of the actual aircraft and crews that were on the mission were used to film the movie as well. The decals depict “Super 61 – Thunder Struck”, CW3 Wolcott’s bird that was shot down, including the stylized “Elvis” and other chalk markings seen on the aircraft; “Super 62” which dropped Medal of Honor winners Shughart and Gordon at the crash site of “Super 64” before it too was damaged by an RPG and had to make an emergency landing; “Super 64 - Venom”, CW3 Durant’s bird which was shot down and a wounded Durant was captured from; “Super 66 - Gun-Slinger” which carried a chalk of Rangers, and “Super 68 - Razor’s Edge” which was a CSAR bird on the mission.
In addition to the decals, there are three pages that give a full history of the Night Stalkers which focuses on the aircraft and how they were outfitted for each operation. There is also a page that explains some of the decal nuances for some of the aircraft and gives additional data on decal placement and use. This sheet also has recommendations for additional SOAR decal sheets by Cobra Company to add even more details to your build if you like; however, most aircraft are pretty sparse on stenciling from what I have seen.
The final page is a tribute to all Night Stalkers who have paid the ultimate price in the defense of freedom, may God rest their souls.
This decal set comes in all three (1/35, 1/48, and 1/72) major helicopter scales.
As a final note, Floyd mentions that there is a forthcoming Part 2 in the works, which will include the latest A/MH-6s, MH-60L DAPs, MH-60Ks, and MH-47 markings on it. I can’t wait for that set as well.