Sheet #

 Gekko Graphics 32-01 Aggressive Scooters Pt 1




Top Gun

Review By:

Fred Krause



     New from Gekko Graphics is this decal sheet of TopGun  adversary Scooters. This sheet is for the 32nd scale Hasegawa kit, but the decals are also available in both 48th and 72nd scale. The subjects are four A-4Es covering the middle of TopGun's use of the A-4E, all the way through the final months. Even though there are four Scooters depicted on this sheet, there are only two jets represented. One jet, BuNo 150023 is represented in three different paint schemes! This jet carried no less than seven different paint schemes during its service with TopGun.

     The decals come on one standard size, and one smaller sheet. These decals are printed using an Alps printer instead of the usual silk screened method. However, I would not have known they were printed with an Alps printer if I hadn't noticed that each decal will have to be cut out individually...... they are that well printed! Like most adversary A-4s, the markings for these jets are pretty minimal consisting mainly of national insignia, "Bort" numbers, and stencil data. 

     The instructions are printed in color, and feature plan views of all fours aspects of the jet in question. A brief history of each jet is covered, along with any specific notes to the markings. Federal Standard paint numbers are supplied, along with Tamiya paint numbers. Also included are instructions on how to "scale effect" the paint with white paint. This is, of course, up to the individual modeler. The A-4s covered are: 

150023 circa 1980

These markings are from about 1980 and represent what is what I believe to be the third scheme this jet carried. It is in a brown and tan scheme. Interestingly the paint scheme wraps around to the underside on the nose and tail, but not on the wing, which remains tan. This a/c does not use any national insignia. There is a very good color picture of this jet in the excellent Detail & Scale book, Colors & Markings, Volume Six, page 20. 

150023 circa 1983

This set of markings covers #56 in the 1983/84 time frame. This scheme uses a progression of four grays. TopGun A-4E #52 also used a similar scheme about the same time frame, but it had a false canopy, which #56 does not. (Editor's Note: This is one of the many 'Heater-Ferris' schemes the Navy experimented with. It is more of a 'splinter' scheme than any of the others.) 

150023 circa 1989

This time around #56 is in a simple gray and blue wraparound scheme. This was one of the final paint jobs this jet operated in. 

152080 circa 1992

This A-4 makes its appearance in this scheme during the final years of TopGun's use of the A-4 Skyhawk. Unusually for TopGun, this aircraft is painted in a two green, and two brown wrap-around scheme. TopGun tended to favor gray, blue and tan/brown combinations, but occasionally a green jet would be painted up.  

(Editor's Note: the image of this plane I took in June 1991. Note the different nose number and the very dark shades of brown and green that were applied. I have even adjusted the gamma in the image a bit so that the colors can be more easily seen. As you can see from both of our photos, even though the FS numbers are undoubtedly correct, the shades shown in the instructions' profiles should not be taken as gospel.)


Overall this sheets rates very high with me, although I admit to being an adversary freak. The research is excellent, and is the printing and instructions. I can't wait to get my hand on Aggressive Scooters part 2 once it comes out!

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