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DECAL SHEET REVIEW


Furball Aero-Design #F/D&S 4810
Colors and Markings of US Navy Tomcats- Part 3
1:48 Scale

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat carried many colorful and eye-catching paint schemes in its early years, and the release of Tamiya’s 1:48 early model F-14A kit was a great reason for Furball Aero-Design to produce a third Colors and Markings of US Navy Tomcats decal sheet.  These cover a variety of different early production Block 74,75, and 76 F-14As as they appeared in some of the best-looking high-visibility schemes between 1976 and 1978.

This decal sheet was made possible with research materials provided by Detail & Scale, and is designed to compliment Detail & Scale’s digital reference book covering the F-14, “Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy F-14 Tomcats, Part III.”  In the interest of transparency and impartiality, I wish to disclose that your reviewer had a small role in the development of these sheets.  As I received a pre-release sample of the Tamiya kit, I was able to share the vertical stabilizer shape and size with Furball so the rendering of the tail art could proceed.

Part I covered some famous F-14s from VF-32 and VF-41 (see our review here: http://detailandscale.com/scale_model_decal_sheet_review_furball_aero-design_no.f_ds_4808_colors_and_markings_of_us_navy_tomcats-part_1_1.48th_scale.html).  Part II took scale modelers into the early to mid-1990s with some of the most colorful low-visibility TPS Tomcats from that era (http://detailandscale.com/scale_model_decal_sheet_review_furball_aero-design_no.f_ds_4808_colors_and_markings_of_us_navy_tomcats-part_2_1.48th_scale.html).  Part III is a true blast from the past with these gorgeous early F-14As.

The sheet has markings for nine F-14As:

Two things to take note of:  first, decals don’t really get any better than this.  The quality of the decal design is superlative, and the printing (including the incredibly restrained and thin carrier film) by Cartograf is impeccable.  The decal sheet includes full stencils for two jets.  Beyond the awesome printing, it’s the attention to little details that impresses me just as much, including the fidelity of the airframe stencils which include markings for the GRU-7A ejection seats, the various and correct styles of “No Step” and “No Step/Lift” stencils, and other airframe markings.  As mentioned at the beginning, these decals are sized for the Tamiya 1:48 scale Tomcat.  The size and shape of the Tamiya tail is a little bit different that the Hasegawa tail.  Much of the tail art on this sheet is sized exactly to fit the Tamiya tail.  The exception are the two VF-142 schemes which could be placed on any manufacturer’s 1:48 F-14A.  

Second, just when you might think (again) that the 1:48 scale F-14 decal market is saturated, this sheet comes along with unique and rarely covered variations of some rather well-known high-visibility Tomcats.  These include the gorgeous VF-14 Bicentennial VF-14 CAG jet with the peculiar gray radome and the VF-84 scheme with the chevron tail art. As a side note, this set of markings represents VF-84’s very first Tomcat, which they had to borrow from VF-32 and was painted temporarily as a Jolly Roger while they were waiting for their jets to be delivered by Grumman; this airframe would eventually go to VF-41 and become a Su-22 killer in 1981). The VF-142 jets on this sheet represent one of the earliest lower-visibility F-14 schemes and also sport some fun Darth Vader and rattlesnake nose art. Also of note, one of the Pukin’ Dogs jets caries really distinctive F-5 and A-4 kill markings on the side nose marking victories racked up while attending Topgun. I’m not sure that’s ever appeared on a decal sheet before.      

The only critique that I have is that masking off the black anti-glare panel in front of the pilot can be difficult, getting the symmetry and compound curve just right.  Six of these jets have such anti-glare panels, and a decal in that shape sure could make life a bit easier.  

Overall, Furball Aero-Design does another consistently great job with this offering and it will allow scale modelers to model some of most distinctive of the high-visibility Tomcats of the 1970s.  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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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
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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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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
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