Wow, the team at Afterburner Decals has been busy! If you like modern US Navy aircraft, then you are no doubt familiar with Afterburner decals. These latest two decal sheets will not disappoint. Colorful and artistic, the schemes provide some of the latest markings being flown on the family of Super Hornets that are now dominating flight decks on both the East Coast and the West Coast. Between the two, the East Coast CAG aircraft have the edge in color and artwork. The fact that the instruction sheet backgrounds are Blue and Gold, is a nice touch of detail.
These are dense sheets, packed with eye-popping graphics; so much so that each set has multiple decal sheets. These are composite markings, layered by the printer, Cartograf. Cartograf decals have minimal carrier film, are easy to work, pretty thin and settle down into irregular surfaces with Micro-sol. The decals are perfectly in register, crisply printed with bold colors and vibrant whites. Due to the density of the layout, you will need to be very dexterous in removing the interior markings. Each set has sufficient decals to build two complete models, including the white squares inside of the burner cans and placards for the ejection seats. Source your own basic stencils and roundels, and you can easily build all of the options.
Just as nice as the decals, are the comprehensive instruction sheets – they did not scrimp on ink or paper. The graphics are superb and Afterburner gives you two color placement views, port and starboard, with scrap wing views, for all aircraft. For the aircraft with the complicated spine paint jobs, a full four views are provided. Also included are black and white stencil guides and painting instructions.
These are very typical markings and a welcome release for those who want to build current subjects. These sets are so compelling in color and subject, bet ya can’t buy just one set!
The East Coast Superbug CAGs covers five aircraft from five squadrons
My favorite markings in this set are for the VFA-31 Anniversary Scheme – Afterburner nailed the 3-D graphic of Felix. I honestly did not think that I would see these markings in decals due to the complexity of the artwork. The VFA-81 scheme on the other hand I eye-catching by being bold and simple. Lastly, I also really like the look of the Gunslingers’ aircraft for the bold green and yellow and for the crossed guns and skull – I wonder if VFA-103 has filed a law suit for copyright infringement! (Oh yeah, they have no room to complain since they stole the markings when VF-84 decommissioned…).
While the schemes on the East Coast Superbug CAGS may be more colorful, this set provides markings for six aircraft – talk about getting your money’s worth!
The West Coast Superbug CAGs covers these squadrons:
I have to say that the black and yellow markings carry this sheet with the predominance of aircraft being two seaters. I like the schemes for the Royal Maces and the Eagles, perhaps because I saw them up close while embarked on USS George Washington CVN-73 for an exercise in June 2010. I especially like the commemorative shield for a NYC fire company on the nose of the VFA-115 jet. It is also nice to see marking for a test and evaluation squadron – I love the understated yellow and black scheme. Lastly, it is good to see VAQ-138 markings now in decal form.
Many Thanks to Afterburner for these review samples.