VF Decals 48-211: F-14A Tomcat
VF Decals brings to the aftermarket decal arena well researched & highly accurate markings for the F-14 Tomcat. This is the companies third offering & covers the markings for VF-211 Fighting Checkmates, a longtime Tomcat operator (1975 -2004) & famed MIG killing unit from the Viet Nam era when it flew another naval aviation fighter legend, the F-8 Crusader.
The instructions are full color line drawings, printed on a 8 ˝ by 11 sheet of sturdy cardstock. A painting guide, complete with F.S. number, and overhead view of both aircraft on the sheet, both of which are in the three tone gray tactical paint scheme.
The decals are printed on a “standard” size decal sheet that we are familiar with. Both aircraft can be done from this sheet. Two sets of decals are provided for the seemingly ever-present LANTRIN pod that the F-14 uses, along with two sets of gun grill decals, a welcome addition. At this point in the F-14’s career , the smaller stenciling has all but disappeared from the aircraft, leaving only the standard warning & rescue data, & the sheet follows accordingly.
From past experience, I photocopy the decal sheet & use the copy to get an idea of how the sized decals will fit onto the model. In this case, only the checkerboard decal was of concern because of the size difference between the Revell-Monogram & Academy vertical tails as opposed to the Hasegawa tails. All of VF Decals are designed for the Hasegawa kit & it perfectly onto the Hasegawa tail.
The first aircraft represented is Nickel 101, the CO’s bird. The modeler will have to paint the black skunk stripe & pinstripe that goes around the nose & canopy, along with the ventral fin. Also of note is the white area on the rudder, as it correctly does not go all the way down to the bottom of the rudder, but stops a few (scale) inches above it. The red fin flashes have to be painted, something I myself prefer than trying to get a decal to conform to the tightly compounded curved areas of the fin cap. The squadrons checkerboard motif is also applied on the small access door just below the gun vents, & on the front of the headrests on both ejection seats, all three represented by small decals on the sheet. Lastly, there are two “Team Checkmate” decals that go on each external fuel tank.
The second aircraft is a regular line bird, Nickel 115, for those modelers out there who prefer the subdued look of a workhorse line aircraft. The gray fin flashes will have to be painted as well.
VF-211 has become VFA-211 since its transition to the F/A-18F Super Hornet.
I recommend this sheet to all fans of naval aviation & a must have for the F-14 nuts (among whom I proudly count myself among). They can be visited at www.vfdecals.com.
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