Afterburner Decals have released a 1/32 decal set for the F/A-18E/F's, Afterburners third release in this scale. The aircraft in this release are all based at NAS Oceana and is fittingly titled East Coast SuperBug CAGs. This set is aimed at the 1/32 Trumpeter kit and the decals are printed by Cartograf. The decals are scaled up versions of three of the five aircraft featured on the 1/48 scale release of the East Coast SuperBug CAG's, see review of it here.
Protected in a A4 resealable plastic wallet. Included with this release are:
-3 x A4 colour guides.
-1 x A4 black and white stencil guide.
-1 x A4 decal sheet.
-2 x smaller decal sheets.
CAG aircraft covered by this release include:
-F/A-18E 166776, VFA-31 75th Anniversary scheme, USS George H.W. Bush, Sept 2010.
-F/A-18E 166650, VFA-105, USS Harry S. Truman, June 2010.
-F/A-18F 166805, VFA-211, USS Enterprise, Sept 2010.
Although there three options with this release, they are some of the best looking markings in the US Navy. VFA-31, “the Tomcatters” has been particularly popular with kit manufacturers in the past. Other not so well known units are included such as VFA-136 “the Gunslingers” and VFA-211, “the Fighting Checkmates” The “Fighting Checkmates” were the first East Coast operational Super Hornet Squadron. All aircraft featured in this release are painted light ghost grey [FS 36375] on the lower surfaces and dark ghost grey [FS36320] on the upper surfaces. What will appeal to many modelers is that the national insignia are not low visibility greys, instead you have the stars and bars in glorious colour. Makes a great change.
Also included are decals for Steel Beach's vinyl intake cover sets. There are decals for the ejector seats and white square decals for the interior of the exhaust cones as well. The sheet includes the red and green decals representing the navigation lights as well as the strips of formation lights.
The red cheat lines that separate the black back of “the Tomcatters” aircraft are printed in sections which will make placing them much easier than if they were in one strip as the line extends from the rear of the radome to the Bard Stacks heat exchanger vents just aft of the vertical fin leading edges.
There are full colour port and starboard views of each aircraft to aid the placement of markings and the colour demarcation between upper and lower colours. There are upper and lower plan views of 166776, 166650 and 166805 providing the layout for the cheat lines. There are very useful illustrations for the placement of the wing modex numbers for each aircraft. The separate stencil placement guide helps placing the numerous tiny stencils accurately. There is a small decal sheet for the “Felix the Cat” emblem, which replaces the character on the main sheet. This a huge plus for Afterburner Decals for keeping up their high standards by replacing decals they are not happy with. Interestingly the colour instructions show the port view of 166776, “the Tomcatters” which shows the cat on the starboard tail with blacked out eyes and missing the “75 years” written on the bomb. This must be a printing error on the instructions as this style of character does not appear on the decal sheet. The spine guide is also very useful in assisting exactly where to apply the masking to paint the spines of all three aircraft black.
Quality of the print by Cartograf is simply stunning. Decals are glossy with a minimum amount of carrier film and excellent colour depth. All the written stencils are sharp and legible, even the tiniest of stencils, that you have to view with a strong magnifying glass. I like the attention to detail, there are even decals for the personalised engine intake and exhaust covers for the Fighting Checkmates F/A-18F. There are enough stencils and wing walk ways for two aircraft, but there is nothing to stop the modeler from using the kits stencils to be able to utilise even more of the above markings. Decals are sized to the Trumpeter 1/32 kit.
Another superb release from the team at Afterburner Decals. They just keep delivering these subjects with all the enthusiasm and dedication too accuracy and quality we have now come to expect from this company. Outstanding Afterburner, outstanding.