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F/A-18 Hornets' Nest


CAM Decals



S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description:

48-073 F/A-18 Hornets VFA-192, VFA-86

Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: One decal sheets; instruction sheet with a colour cardboard header
Price: USD$9.00
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Perfect register; minimum of decal film; accurate and interesting markings for Sidewinders option.
Disadvantages: Many discrepancies with references and personal observation for "Golden Dragon" option.
Recommendation: Recommended for Sidewinders option


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

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This is an early CAM sheet that provides markings for F/A-18 CAG birds from squadrons of both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. 


BuNo 163777 VFA-192 “Golden Dragons”

First up is F/A-18C, Bureau number 163777 of VFA-192 “Golden Dragons”.  The “Golden Dragons” certainly have made good use of this particular aircraft in her role as a CAG bird.  It has been painted up in a variety of different schemes ranging from simple coloured markings to full blown, in-your-face colour schemes with the entire upper surfaces being painted black with yellow trim.  The decals provided on this sheet supposedly replicate the machine as it appeared in 1995 whilst aboard the USS Independence and marked to celebrate the “Golden Dragons” 50th anniversary.   

I say “supposedly” as I am not sure that CAM has got it right with this one. 

The vast majority of the decals are supplied in a mid grey whereas they should be in a very dark grey or black.  Included in these are:

  • CVW-5’s NF identifier for the outer surfaces of both rudders.
  • 300 modex for the nose, the flaps, and the tops of both vertical stabilizers
  • VFA-192 titles for the bottom of both vertical stabilizers
  • NAVY titles for the rear fuselage
  • The stars and bars (for the fuselage at least)

Another glitch appears to be the decal for the undercarriage doors.  It is supplied as SSHWEGD whereas it should be SSHWFGD, which stands for “Super S*** Hot World Famous Golden Dragons”.  An easy one to fix however with a couple of deft strokes to the “E s” with a scalpel to convert them to “F s.” 

The instruction sheet tells you to paint the fincaps gull grey.  They might have been at some stage but my bet is that they were yellow.  CAM has also neglected to tell you that the main undercarriage legs were painted yellow too. 

I had the good fortune to see this aircraft in the flesh in early 1995.  At that time she had the dragon in yellow without the blue outline but did have the black NF on her rudders.  The VFA-192 scripts in were in yellow too.  Other VFA-192 aircraft aboard that day had the same markings but they were all in grey.  The Japanese website Go Navy also has a photo of her in the markings on this sheet.  Go here to view it:


CAM supply further confusing reference on their website with the colour profile having the anniversary sash in green and yellow as opposed to the blue and yellow that it should be: 


These discrepancies are a pity as this is brightly marked aircraft that would look good parked on your Hornet shelf. 

As stated above, this aircraft has been painted in many different schemes and to give CAM the benefit of the doubt, they may have produced this sheet using photos of her in transition between paint schemes.


BuNo 163446 VFA-86 "Sidewinders"

Next is F/A-18C, Bureau number 163446 from VFA-86 “Sidewinders” as she appeared whilst aboard the USS George Washington in 1996. 

VFA-86 have always painted their CAG aircraft in striking schemes.  In the halcyon days of gull grey and white their A-7s were a joy to behold.  They have now adapted their markings to suit the F/A-18 and the visual impact of their markings give the other squadrons of the Attack Community a run for their money. 

Just about all of the markings for this aircraft are in black, and befitting the 400 series modex, edged in international orange.  There is a large and full colour CVW-1 insignia included for the outboard side of left the vertical stabilizer.  The colours and printing on this insignia is just superb. 

A reasonably complete set of stencil data is included for each of the aircraft on this sheet including some anaemic looking slime lights and two different coloured wing walks. 

Decal placement is guided vide CAM’s standard landscape format A-4 sized sheet that provide left hand side profile views as well as the appropriate views of the vertical stabilizers.  Missing on this sheet is the now standard CAM method of numbering their decals to the instruction sheet.  Also missing are the coloured profiles on the front of the cardboard header. They have been replaced instead with a coloured drawing of an F/A-18 surrounded by full colour renditions of the various markings carried by Hornet squadrons. 

The decal sheets themselves have been printed by Microscale. 

The decal sheets, instructions and header are all packed in a clear plastic Ziploc bag. 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:






This decal set is a bit of a mixed bag.  Whilst the “Sidewinders” option is excellent, the “Golden Dragons” markings have missed the target.   

All is not lost however as you can build one of the “Golden Dragon’s” dowdy aircraft which sported plain grey markings using these decals. 

Recommended for the “Sidewinders” option.

Thanks to Brookhurst Hobbies for the review sample.

CAM Decals are available online from their website at http://www.camdecals.com and from Brookhurst Hobbies

CAM Decals 59 page 2002 color catalog of decals and resin parts is also
now available through the CAM Decals website

Review Copyright © 2002 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 30 October, 2002
Last updated 14 August, 2003

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