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DECAL SHEET REVIEW


Speed Hunter Graphics # 48014
Guardian Vipers Part I
1:48 Scale


Over the last 20 years, the USAF Air National Guard units have conducted a wide variety of missions at home and abroad, from securing homeland airspace to supporting various missions in the war on terror.  The General Dynamics (now Lockheed) F-16 Fighting Falcon has become a mainstay member of the ANG inventory.  While these jets often have a lot of flight hours on them, they are also equipped with some of the most recent systems upgrades, structural enhancements, and other features seen on front-line jets.

This decal sheet set by Speed Hunter Graphics provides markings for 13 F-16Cs assigned to various ANG squadrons between 1998 and 2016.  Sized for the Tamiya family of 1:48 scale F-16Cs, they cover a range of tail numbers, production blocks, squadrons, and history:

-  85-1500, 113th FS, 181st FW, Indiana ANG, May 2007
-  85-1482, 174th FS, 185th FW, Iowa ANG, Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia, May
   1998
-  85-1570, 174th FS, 185th FW, Iowa ANG, Sioux City Iowa, August 1998\
-  86-0262, 134th FS, 158th FW, Vermont ANG, Burlington, VT, February 2015
-  85-1500, 119th FS, 177th FW, New Jersey ANG, Atlantic City, NJ, March 2010
-  87-0278, 176th FS, 115th FW, Wisconsin ANG, Madison, WI, May 2016
-  88-0409, 182nd FS, 149th FW, Texas ANG, Kelly AFB, TX, April 2014
-  86-0221, 107th FS, 127th FW, Michigan ANG, Selfridge, MI, September 2006
-  89-2105, 175th FS, 114th FW, South Dakota ANG, Sioux Falls, SD, June 2015
-  89-2124, 188th FS, 150th FW, New Mexico ANG, Kirtland AFB, March 2003
-  93-0549, 157th FS, 169th FW, South Carolina ANG, McEntire ANGB, May 2016
-  90-0702, 112th FS, 180th FW, Ohio ANG, Toledo, OH, June 2016
-  88-0545, 125th FS, 138th FW, Oklahoma ANG, Tulsa, OK, May 2016

These decals were designed by Speed Hunter Graphics and printed by Cartograf of Italy – you can’t really get any better than this.  Print quality is exemplary and carrier film is precisely applied right at the very edges of each decal.  and the outstanding instructions are filled with technical and historical notes for each airframe.  Complete airframe stencils are provided for two jets.

Given that Jake Melampy (the same person behind Reid Air Publications and the Speed Hunter line of decals) carefully photographed and documented all of these jets, the markings and configuration notes are quite accurate and excellent representations of the real thing.

 A few notes – pay attention to the tail number and corresponding Block number – important configuration details, from whether in your build you’ll use the small mouth NSI intake, the large mouth MCID intake, GE or Pratt & Whitney motors, specific patterns of external “beef-up” or structural stiffener plates, and AIFF antenna configurations are noted.  Books such as Melampy’s F-16 volumes and his forthcoming F-16C/D Exposed Volume 2 (look for it in early 2017) are the best resources to help the scale modeler navigate these constantly evolving and sometimes complex airframe configurations.

Another attractive feature on this sheet is that three of the F-16s are painted as HAVE GLASS jets.  This is a stealthy paint scheme that reduces radar signature and is very similar to that flown on the 5th generation F-35.  The ‘paint’ consists of a high-dielectric-constant polymer base with embedded ferromagnetic particles to absorb and scatter radar energy.  The instructions correctly note that FS 36706 is a pretty close match, though the metallic-like sheen of the HAVE GLASS finish that you can see under some lighting conditions and certain angles will require the builder to perhaps mix in some metallic shades.  HAVE GLASS jets also have a rough finish and tend to accumulate dirt and grime a lot more prominently than traditionally painted F-16s.  Check your references.

Many thanks to Jake Melampy for the review sample.  You can find Speed Hunter Graphics on the web at http://www.reidairpublishing.com/category-s/1824.htm and get this decal sheet straight from that site or at Sprue Brothers (http://spruebrothers.com).

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
Coast Squadrons

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