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DECAL SHEET REVIEW


Furball Aero-Design Low-Viz SLUFs -- 1:48 Scale


The LTV A-7 Corsair II was nothing less than a classic of 20th century naval aviation.  Derived as an attack jet from the F-8 Crusader, the A-7 was a potent asset for U.S. Navy air wings from 1967 to 1991.  It could certainly function as a bomb truck and was given the nickname “SLUF” (Short Little Ugly *Fellow*).  Yet, Navy A-7Es were long associated with the “tip of the spear” in more ways than one.  They were pioneers in the early use of hands-off carrier landings, a HUD, and a digital weapons delivery computer and use of precision-guided munitions such as the Walleye in the 1960s and 1970s.  In the 1980s, FLIR targeting pods and, eventually, the SEAD role and integration of the AGM-88 HARM missile were added to their bag of tricks.  The A-7E was progressively replaced by the F/A-18, but the last operational squadrons were at the top of their game when they participated in Operation DESERT STORM in 1991 – taking out SAM sites, doing deep interdiction, and working kill boxes in the KTO.  There were some very memorable and colorful A-7E paint schemes into the early 1980s, but all of that disappeared when the TPS (Tactical Paint Scheme) was instituted mid-decade.  Still, some great low-viz schemes emerged in the A-7 community.                

On this sheet, Furball Aero-Design provides decals for no less than 21 different A-7E TPS schemes as they appeared between 1983 and 1989.  The set is optimized for the Hasegawa kit (despite the fact there’s a newer Hobby Boss 1:48 scale A-7E, the Hobby Boss SLUF suffers from various accuracy issues including a misshapen radome and intake).   

Furball’s Low-Viz SLUFs set holds these markings on one large decal sheet  and one large insert sheet.  It also comes with enough stencils for two individual airframes. The decal sheet features:

These decal sheets provide an excellent historical compilation of the many diverse but low-viz paint schemes  found in the latter years of the A-7’s service.  There’s a lot of great squadron diversity here, and the sheet contains many favorites, from the Vallions to the Blue Blasters, Sunliners, Fighting Redcocks, Warhawks, Ragin’ Bulls, Gunslingers, and plenty more.  There are a lot of interesting details, subtleties, and unique elements of the markings on all these airplanes, and Furball does a great job in capturing them all to the best of my knowledge.  I especially like the multi-colored (or multi-grayscale shades) scheme seen on the VA-22 CO’s jet on the sheets as it appeared during the one-day Operation PRAYING MANTIS on 18 April 1988.  This was during the “Persian Gulf Tanker Wars” and that A-7E got itself a boat kill marking on the nose as it shared the kill of the frigate SAHAND with A-6Es from VA-95.

The quality of the decal design is superlative, and the printing by Cartograf is technically impeccable.  Colors are vibrant, in perfect register, and carrier film is very thin and exceptionally restrained.  Full airframe stencils are also provided for these SLUFs - a really great touch.

For a while, I’ve been wanting to build my low-viz Hasegawa A-7E kit that’s been sitting in the stash for several years.  I was deflated when I took note of the kit’s decal sheet – the carrier film had yellowed pretty badly over they years.  With Furball’s new A-7E, I've really got got nothing to stop me now. 

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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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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