Detail & Scale Header
Digital Publications Link
Aviation Photo Section Link
Scale Modeling Section Link
Aviatin Artwork Link
Furball Aero Design / Detail & Scale Decals
About Us Link
Contact Us Link
Home Page Link

Detail & Scale Books

Quick Links to Available Detail & Scale Series Publications.


Detail & Scale Series


F3H Demon in
Detail & Scale
**********F2H Banshee in
Detail & Scale, Pt. 1

**********
SBD Dauntless in
Detail & Scale

**********

F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale
**********

F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale
**********

F-8 & RF-8 Crusader in Detail & Scale

**********

Military Aviation Websites:
Click Here

——————

Scale Modeling Websites:
Click Here



DECAL SHEET REVIEW


Fightertown Decals Tomcats at War Part 3:
Bravo Delta Haze Gray -- 1:48 Scale



vol_2_image

Many people look back upon naval aircraft of the 1960s and 1970s and recollect the diverse higher-visibility colors and many creative and memorable paint schemes.  That all started to go away with the adoption of the lower-visibility TPS paint schemes in the 1980s that utilized multi-tone grays and did away with all glorious color.  Of course, some color has still made it in since then, usually adorning the CAG and CO jets (see our review of Fightertown’s Tomcats at War Pt.  2: Bravo Delta Showbirds HERE <link pending>).  Yet, most jets in any given squadron were line jets and painted in subdued markings and TPS colors.  

The F-14 was designed as a fleet defense interceptor and it served admirably in that role beginning with its first combat cruise in 1975 for Operation FREQUENT WIND.  By the 1990s, the retirement of the A-6 Intruder and cancellation of the A-12 Avenger II meant the Navy was facing a real loss of ground attack capability.  The latent air-to-ground capability of the Tomcat was developed and it evolved into a very potent multirole fighter.  During Operations ALLIED FORCE, SOUTHERN WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, and IRAQI FREEDOM, F-14s provided for all manner of air superiority, TARPS reconnaissance, and ground attack roles including FAC-A, strike, kill-box patrols, buddy lazing, SCAR, strafing runs, and close air support often backing up special operations troops.  The F-14 was a true workhorse to the very last Tomcat cruise in early 2006.

Fightertown Decals is a well-known manufacturer of aftermarket decal sheets specializing in modern U.S. naval aviation.  Tomcats at War Pt.  3: Bravo Delta Haze Gray features markings for seven F-14Ds and four F-14Bs from the late 1990s until the final combat deployment.  These decals are sized to fit the Tamiya and forthcoming AMK 1:48 scale F-14D.  These span six squadrons, and with the decals that are provided, you can work in a total of 16 markings options for the following airplanes:

Fightertown Decals maintains a sterling reputation for their work, and a sheet like this demonstrates why.  First, the quality of the decal design is simply masterful.  Each individual sheet will impress, from the giant Felix on the tail of the Tomcatters jets to the smallest of airframe stencils.  I could say something positive about virtually every decal on the sheet.

Second, the decal printing by Cartograf is technically impeccable.  Even though the decals are mostly all various shades of gray, they are gorgeous - vibrant, opaque, and in perfect register.  The carrier film is very thin and exceptionally restrained.  There’s really nothing that could be improved upon regarding the technical attributes of this sheet.

Third, this decal sheet demonstrates outstanding accuracy, itself built upon a clear depth and competence of research.  As a Tomcat guy, I am seriously impressed.  The markings guides capture the deployment-by-deployment and airframe-by-airframe minutia that varied quite widely between these late life F-14Bs and Ds, from the multiple variations on the TPS scheme, fonts of BuNos and data boxes, era-appropriate weapons loadouts, LANTIRN pod color schemes, No Step/Lift markings, the different finish on the subdued VF-2 Langley stripe on the OIF jet, the CNAL Phoenix emblem, and more.

There’s also a lot of other little details on the sheet including helmet decals (which I’m not sure I see in the instructions but that seem to be on the decal sheet, nonetheless).  On the two Sunset birds from VF-31, there’s all kinds of commemorative “graffiti” represented – people signing their beloved jet in tribute, such as various names on the insides and tops of gear wells, radome exterior, and so forth.

The subject matter is also poignant.  The VF-24 jet was the first F-14A(Plus) delivered to the Navy, and I remember seeing that jet go over the fence at Calverton.  The OEF-era markings for VF-102 Diamondbacks represents one of the jets that kicked off the counterattack against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.  Between October 2001 and March 2002, the Diamondbacks recorded the highest time (5,000+ combat hours) and highest amount of ordnance delivered (450,000 pounds) of all the F-14 squadrons that participated in OEF.  The VF-31 markings cover the Tomcatters history and markings evolution from 1997 to their final OIF cruise and the Tomcat Sunset in September 2006 with both of their eye-catching line jets and the commemorative Tomcat scheme.  The VF-213 CAG jet represents its markings during the last combat cruise and the skull-and-crossbones of Jolly Rogers of VF-103 are perennial favorites among scale modelers, no matter how low-viz the color scheme.

In conclusion, this sheet is fantastic. It should inspire many scale modelers to start their Tomcat project.  You cannot go wrong with anything here.  Tomcats forever, baby!  

Many thanks to Brian Plescia at Fightertown Decals for the review sample. You can find them on the web and order their sheets at http://www.fightertowndecals.com.  

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

(Return to top of page)

** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


 

(Return to top of page)

Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
*********

Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
*********


Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

********


Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
********


Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

**********


Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

**********