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Desert Shield / Storm
US Navy F-14Tomcats

Aeromaster Decals

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: AMD48-531 and AMD48-532.
Scale: 1/48 scale.
Contents and Media: AMD48-531 has 1 full size decal sheet 203mm x137mm; 1 small supplementary decal sheet 45mm x 30mm; 1 letter-sized colour placement guide (double-sided).
AMD48-532 has 1 full size decal sheet 203mm x137mm;  1 letter-sized colour placement guide (double-sided).
Price: USD$8.50 from ESP/AMD web site. 
Review Type: First Look.
Advantages: Interesting subjects; perfect registration; minimal carrier film; attractive instructions; all profiles in colour; basic stencil markings included.
Disadvantages: Starboard side profile of each aircraft not included; slight controversy over Black or Insignia Blue tail for VF-32 aircraft on 48-532.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended.


Reviewed by John Kerr


HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com

 

The Return of AeroMaster

 

By the middle of 2001 it sadly looked as if we had seen the last decal sets from AeroMaster Products.  In the second half of 2001, the AeroMaster team linked up with Eagle Strike Productions to resurrect AeroMaster.  The new merged company, still based in Miami, will continue the Eagle Strike and AeroMaster brand names, releasing decal sets under separate labels.

In December 2001 AeroMaster proudly released their first batch of new 1/48 scale decal sets since the Eagle Strike merger. 

In this review, I examine four F-14A Tomcats used by the US Navy in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (1991) on their new decal sets:

  • 48-531  "Anytime Babe!!  : F-14 Tomcats Pt. VII"

  • 48-532  "Anytime Babe!!  : F-14 Tomcats Pt. VIII"
     

 

48-531 "Anytime Babe!! : F-14 Tomcats Pt. VII"

 

Two  CAG F-14As aboard USS Independence during Operation Desert Shield (pre-Desert Storm) January, 1991:

 

A/C 1 : F-14A BuNo 161603 "Black 200" CAG of VF-21 "Freelancers"
Overall finish is Gloss Gull Grey with Black tails (both inner & outer sides), rear fuselage ventral fins, undercarriage doors, canopy trim and anti-glare panel.  Outer sides of the tailfins have unit marking and NK code rendered in Yellow plus a multi-coloured CAG horizontal band edged in Black.  National insignia and stencil data are full colour.  


 

A/C 2 : F-14A BuNo 161618  "Black 100" CAG of VF-154 "Black Knights"
Overall finish is Gloss Gull Grey with Black tails (both inner & outer sides) and rear fuselage ventral fins.   Outer sides of tailfins have unit marking and NK code in Red edged in White plus a multi-coloured CAG horizontal band also edged in White.  National insignia and stencil data are full colour.  Unlike "Black 200" of VF-21, there is no Black canopy trim or anti-glare panels on this aircraft.

Note: Both F-14s have been previously covered in decal form by SuperScale in the early 1990s.  The AeroMaster decals are in prefect register while the previous attempts are slightly "fuzzy".. 

This set gives everyone another chance at these two colourful CAG F-14s from Desert Shield.  Some modellers think modern F-14s mean "boring low-vis greys"... these two overall Gull Grey and Black Tails are definitely not boring ! 

 

 

48-532 "Anytime Babe!! : F-14 Tomcats Pt. VIII"

 

Two Operation Desert Storm F-14As from early 1991:

 

A/C 1 : F-14A BuNo 162701 "Black 200 - Gypsie 200" CAG of VF-32 "Swordsmen" aboard USS John F. Kennedy
Along with the CAG F-14 of VF-41 "Black Aces", "Gypsie 200" of VF-32 was one of the most colourful Tomcats from Operation Desert Storm.  Overall finish is Gloss Gull Grey with very Dark Blue (instructions state Insignia Blue) tails (both inner & outer sides), rear fuselage ventral fins, and canopy trim.  The anti-glare panel in front of windscreen remains Black.  Outer sides of tails have unit marking and AC code rendered in Yellow.  The CAG markings are a strip of multi-coloured swords on the outer side of each rudder.  The aircraft carries two kill markings, two versions are provided as the rear kill marking chipped away.

Note:  SuperScale also covered this aircraft back in the early 1990s, they instruct the tails be painted Black.  I consulted HyperScale's resident Tomcat & Hornet expert, Rodger Kelly, about this conundrum and he tends to support the "all-Black" theory, ie. all Black-tailed Tomcats are indeed Black !  However, I have a colour photo of this aircraft in an "Air Forces Monthly" special publication, which covered aircraft of "Desert Storm", and to me the tails do look an extremely Dark Blue.  It just goes to show that colour controversies are not limited to WW2 ! 


 

A/C 2 : F-14A (Plus) BuNo 161442 "Black 104" of VF-143 "Pukin' Dogs" aboard USS Eisenhower
An now for something different... this F-14A (Plus) is finished in a motley low-visibility scheme of Dark Ghost Grey FS 36320 on upper surfaces and radome with Light Ghost Grey FS 36375 on side and lower surfaces.  Major markings such as unit markings on tail, Navy logo on rear fuselage and 104 aircraft number on nose are Black.  The national insignia and remaining stencil data are in standard 'low-vis'. This aircraft ended up being very dirty and patchy in appearance so it makes an ideal subject for a modeller to experiment their 'low-vis' and weathering techniques !

Like set 48-531, this set covers two colourful F-14s.  The VF-32 Grey Gull / Dark Blue (Black) scheme is probably not as challenging as the VF-143 Low-Vis Grey scheme as a poorly done low-vis scheme looks just that - poorly done.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The F-14 Tomcat and its many incarnations right up to today's F-14 Bombcat, remains a popular subject among modellers.  Plenty has been written about the virtues of Hasegawa's family of 1/48 F-14 kits - all I would add is that the kits are definitely not in the "shake the box and out comes a finished model" category of more recent releases from Hasegawa.  However, they remain the most detailed F-14 kits on the market in 1/48 with the Academy F-14A as a passable option for a quick-build project .

Getting back to the actual decals - they are very crisp and in perfect register.  In assessing decals - I always look at registration and colour density - especially markings in lighter colours.  In this case, the many markings rendered in Yellow are very well done.  Each set has three-way coloured profiles and brief notes on the instruction sheet (each set has the now standard letter-size double-sided page).  

Both sets are highly recommended and can be purchased on-line at the Eagle Strike / AeroMaster web-site.  Review sets kindly supplied by Eagle Strike / AeroMaster.

Highly Recommended.


Text Copyright 2002 by John Kerr
Page Created 01 February 2002
Last updated 22 July 2003

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