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DECAL SHEET REVIEW


Furball Aero-Design/Detail & Scale Colors & Markings of U.S. Navy Tomcats - Part VIII: Gull Gray F-14A Tomcats
1:48 Scale


It’s been said that it is a great time to be a scale modeler these days –and that it’s an awesome time right now to be a Tomcat modeler.  There’s never been a time when more excellent kits, aftermarket detail sets, and decal sheets have been available for the legendary F-14.  In particular, Furball Aero-Design keeps on rolling with their Colors and Markings of US Navy Tomcats series with Part VIII having just been released.  Let’s check it out.

This eighth installment in this decal sheet series, like the rest, was made possible with research materials provided by Detail & Scale.  It is designed to complement Detail & Scale's digital reference books, Colors and Markings of U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcats, Part 1: Atlantic Fleet Squadrons, and Part 2: Pacific Fleet Squadrons.  Both eBooks were written by Bert Kinzey with art by Rock Roszak.  In the interest of transparency and impartiality, I wish to disclose that your reviewer had nothing to do with the development of this sheet.  Further, I'm a hardcore Tomcat guy since I was a kid growing up next to Grumman - so if I see any errors, you're going to hear about it.

In this set, there are decals for 10 different F-14As in various overall Light Gull Gray  (FS 16440) schemes between 1982 and 1991.  Also included are stencil and data decals for two complete jets.

As is always the case, these decals are typical Furball – they are top-notch.  They are sized for the Tamiya kit.  Where that comes in and makes a difference is that the vertical stabilizers aft-end shape and geometry is indeed a bit different than the Hasegawa or Hobby Boss kits.  That means that the decals for the tail markings here are optimized for the Tamiya F-14A, though many of these markings can be adapted without any difficulty and used on any 1:48 scale Tomcat.  Further, the quality of both the decal design/artwork by Furball and the printing by Cartograf is equally superlative.  It doesn't get any better than this. 

The choices in schemes are both great and notably unique.  These represent overall Light Gull Gray schemes that were transitional to the lower visibility TPS schemes of the late 1980s and 1990s.  That means there’s still a good deal of color here.  The VF-1 and VF-2 schemes are pretty distinctive, as are the eye-catching VF-24 black-tailed CAG markings, the toned down (and if not classic) VF-142 scheme, and the Tophattter’s 70th Anniversary markings from 1989.  The two Red Rippers schemes are quite interesting (especially the one with the hog’s mouth nose art which I don’t think has been done as a decal before).  The VF-102 Diamondbacks offering here is a classic and the VF-101 75th Anniversary of Naval Aviation scheme is also quite notable.  Most important (at least to your reviewer) is that the sheet contains markings for the LONG neglected subject of F-14s from VF-194 Red Lightning- one of the two most short-lived F-14 squadrons in its operational history.  It’s also important to note that we’ve seen these F-14 airframe stencils in many other Furball Tomcat decal sets and they are unwaveringly excellent.        

Again, Furball Aero-Design does another great job with this set and it will allow scale modelers to build some very classic and classy F-14 schemes.  The high standard of research also shines through on the accuracy of these decals.

Many thanks to Furball Aero-Design for the review sample.  You can find them on the web at http://www.furballaero-design.com/default.asp and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FurballAeroDesign

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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