F-117A US Flag Scheme
Reviewed by Brett Green
Tamiya's F-117A kit is undoubtedly a beautiful model - but what a dull paint scheme!
Cutting Edge Modelworks have come to the rescue with the only way to brighten up your F-117 model in either 1/48 or 1/32 scale.
While the "Have Blue" project was still top-secret, the third Full Scale Development F-117A was prepared in a special scheme for a ceremony on 14 December 1983. The aircraft was originally painted in grey when a gigantic US flag was applied to the undersurface. Cutting Edge's instructions suggest that the top was repainted in black creating another interesting combination before the flag was also overpainted in black.
This clever set supplies a combination of decals and masks to recreate this potentially complex scheme. The Black Magic set is available in 1/48 scale (for the Tamiya kit) and 1/32 scale (for the Testors kit).
The 1/48 scale set includes one sheet of black masks and one decal sheet. The 1/32 scale set needs three full-sized masking sheets and a decal sheet. The masks are die-cut with no attachment to the surrounding sheet - the masks will lift from the backing without impediment.
Decals are in perfect register and carrier film looks very thin on my sample. Some care will be required when handling the long strips of star decal, especially for the enormous 1/32 scale version.
Instructions are excellent. They include a full colour three-view drawing, scrap view drawings to assist placement and handy application hints.
The stripes of the American flag are supplied as a series of masks. These are matched to a "key" mask that is aligned to unmistakable kit features. This method is well explained in the detailed instructions.
Modellers are given the option of either decals or (for the truly afflicted) masks for the 50 stars. The decal stars are furnished on three sections, but if the mask option is chosen each star must be individually applied on a white-painted surface. Although the star masks will undoubtedly provide the best result, in my opinion their alignment and application will probably be enough to make a strong man cry! The decal option is a thoughtful aid to preserving sanity.
The remaining decals cover stencil markings and the special "Scorpion 3" marking for each fuselage side on the grey aircraft, or the skunk on the tail of the later black-topped scheme.
The idea of combining masks and decals suggests many ideas for interesting subjects - scalloped 1930's racer masked paint schemes with decal markings; black-and-yellow target-tugs. Hey, how about some of those wild Liberator formation ships!
This is an interesting and well-executed set that will add a great deal of colour to your Nighthawk in 1/48 or 1/32 scale.
Thanks to Meteor Productions for the review samples
Cutting Edge Modelworks Resin Conversion Kits are available at Meteor Productions Website
Review Copyright © 2000 by Brett