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F/A-18C "Hornet's Nest"


CAM Decals



S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description:

32-144 - F/A-18C "Hornet's Nest"

Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Two decal sheets; two instruction sheets with a cardboard header
Price: USD$12.00
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Impressive markings; sharply printed; perfect register; minimum of decal film; helpful instructions and packaging..
Disadvantages: Titling, nose modex and airwing identifiers appear to be presented in the wrong shade of grey
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Squadron




CAM Decal’s has always been good to large scale modellers and their latest burst of production continues this kindness.

Sheet number 32-144 covers a single F/A-18C, Bureau No 164722, assigned to the Commanding Officer of VMFA-323 Death Rattlers whilst embarked aboard the USS Constellation as part of CVW-2 in 1998.

Traditionally, the aircraft of Commanding Officers of both Navy and Marine Corps bear the modex “01” and these aircraft display their squadron markings in full colour. It is this aircraft’s markings that Cam has chosen to replicate.

The sheet provides the basic stencil markings, including the walk-ways, Marine titles and slime lights. Also provided are the remainder of the squadron markings including the airwing identifier and modex numbers – more on these later.

The sheet has been printed by Microscale and all of the artwork is sharp and clear with minimal film around the edges of each decal. The Death Rattlers have long adorned their mounts in their colours of yellow diamonds on a medium brown background and the colours of these markings have been faithfully reproduced on this sheet.

The instruction sheet is a single-sided A-4 sized sheet which shows both the placement of each decal (number to location for the smaller ones) as well as providing notes on the painting of the aircraft. I especially liked the comment “Moderate weathering finish” which is a fair comment for this aircraft.

The whole thing is packaged in a Ziploc clear plastic bag with a full colour stiff cardboard header. This is a good move on Cam’s behalf as it protects the sheet from being creased through mis-handling.

Now for the downside to this sheet.

The Marine titles, VMFA-323 titling, nose modex and airwing identifiers are all provided in the same medium grey as the rest of the stencil data. In all of the research that I conducted prior to writing this review I could not find any picture of VMFA-323 F/A-18s that had these markings in anything other than black or very, very dark grey. I offer the following link as an example:


Also, the instruction sheet also shows the placement of the top of the “E” of the port side airwing identifier as being clipped by the slime light – again, I could not find any evidence of this. I have had the great fortune to photograph this particular aircraft twice, once in May of 1997 and again in November of 1999 and I have included two shots of the same tail (below).




Have a close look and you will note that there are distinct differences. For example, in the ’97 photo the Bureau No is black, whilst in the later shot it is grey. markings. You can also see that the USS Constellation titles are in a different font to that provided on the sheet. Examination of photos of other pics of Connie’s aircraft taken that day reveal that Navy aircraft used this font was used, but not the Marine Corps ones.

Firstly, let me say that I am aware that ship-borne aircraft are in a constant state of flux when it comes to the paint finish. If I have got this wrong then I will be the first to profusely apologise to the guys at CAM Decals.

Apart from the above mentioned, it is a nice sheet that will produce an up-to-date Bug. The instruction sheet recommend the 1/32 Hasegawa kit but I’m of a mind to wait and see what the new Minicraft effort looks like before I’d drop the decals into water


Thanks to CAM Decals for the review sample.

CAM Decals are available online from their website at http://www.camdecals.com

CAM Decals 59 page 2002 color catalog of decals and resin parts is also
now available through the CAM Decals website

Review Copyright © 2002 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 15 September, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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