Sheet #

Microscale 72-432 for P-3/EP-3 Orion


$6 from a 'used' decal dealer


See review

Review By:

Scott Van Aken




The preeminent land based ASW patrol aircraft of the last 30 years has been the P-3 Orion. This aircraft has served with the US Navy since the late 1960s and is also in service with several other countries like Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Canada and Iran, to name a few.  Though the threat of submarine attack from the now defunct Soviet Union is no longer around, the P-3 is still used in fisheries protection and in fighting the drug war here in the US.

The end of the Cold War has caused a drastic reduction in the number of P-3 Squadrons. It would not be far from wrong to say that about half of the ones operating in the mid-1980s have since been disestablished. 

In addition to operating as patrol aircraft, the P-3 has been used for a number of other duties. Older P-3As have been converted into utility aircraft as the UP-3A. A long-standing requirement for electronics intelligence aircraft (ELINT), have resulted in the EP-3. Earlier EP-3As were replaced by EP-3Es using the Aires ELINT suite to monitor electronic emissions. 

Two dedicated ELINT squadrons were formed. VQ-1 in the Pacific out of Atsugi, Japan and later Guam, and VQ-2 in Rota, Spain. These units used very early P-3As that were modified into EP-3Es. They also had a carrier-borne section using EA-3Bs, but those were later removed from service. The P-3A airframes reached the end of their life and so were replaced with P-3B airframes several years ago. As far as I know, these units still exist and are still plying their trade.

Contrary to what the sheet title states, there is no VQ-1 aircraft in it. What you get are two VQ-2 birds and a standard P-3A from VP-69. There are enough standard markings for all three planes and enough insignia for two of them. There are also a number of errors on the instruction sheet.

The first aircraft is OK as is. It is from VQ-2 and has their standard tail marking and JQ tail code. You may be able to use this marking with a Hasegawa A-3B to make an EA-3B.

Next two images and descriptions are mixed up. The bottom plane is an EP-3E but with the VP-69 markings on it. Simply swap the markings and you'll have it all straight. The other VQ-2 markings are very subdued and was used later in the squadron's history.

The VP-69 markings are typical of what one expect P-3s to look like. Fortunately, some color is returning to the P-3 community, though it will never be as neat as it was back before low-viz.

Review sheet courtesy of me and my wallet.

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