FCM 144-033: VF-114 Aardvarks
FCM has combined the subjects from their 1/72 sheets and added some to give you nine different markings options. The benefit of 1/144 scale is not only the small space they take up, but the sheer number of options one can build from a single sheet. This latest one from FCM runs the full history of the unit and all their camouflage schemes.
So let's get a few details on things.
The first markings option is the early light gull grey and white scheme from 1977 aboard the USS Enterprise. It is the scheme I chose when building the LS kit using these markings a while back.
The next four are all in the overall light gull grey scheme, one that most Tomcat fans like as it is easy to paint. The unit was with the USS Enterprise for the first three of these schemes from 1987, 1986 and 1988 respectively. You can see whow in the one case, the fuselage stripe was not used. The fourth option was with a USS American Cruise in 1981, probably when the Enterprise was in SLEP.
Turning to the tactial paint scheme, we have three more aircraft. The first two are USS Enterprise cruises from 1984 and 1986. You can see from this that it was not unusual to have both the TPS and overall light gull grey planes in service at the same time. The third TPS plane is from the USS Abraham Lincoln during 1990.
The final scheme is a black tailed plane on an overall light gull grey scheme from the USS Abraham Lincoln. No date is given for this and the scheme is on a separate decal slip.
Originally this sheet was due to be out in November of last year, but there were some issues with the markings so it was not released at that time. I got an early sheet and back in December used it for a build of the LS kit. I chose the very early scheme and you can see a photo of this included. Those issues have been fixed and a new print run done which we now have available to us.
The decals are superbly printed by Microscale and FCM always includes excellent markings references. There are a bunch of stencil markings and most will choose not to use these all as they are quite small. No kit is specified, but the ones easiest to find are by Revell and by Dragon.
I think it is great that FCM are producing these markings, especially in 1/144. In this manner, eventually all of the Tomcat units will be covered and that is good.
Thanks to FCM for providing the review sheet.
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