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F-14A "Tomcat Alley"


CAM Decals



S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description:

48-076 Tomcat Alley; F-14D Red Rippers and Vampires

Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: One decal sheet; instruction sheet, colour cardboard header
Price: USD$8.00
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Impressive tail markings; sharply printed; perfect register; minimum of decal film; nice replication of slime lights.
Disadvantages: likely error on instructions for camouflage colours; incorrect blue for the VX-9 aircraft
Recommendation: Recommended for the Red Rippers option


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

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Custom Aeronautical Miniatures (CAM) decal set #48-076 provides complete markings for two Grumman F-14 Tomcats.  This time they are both –D models. 

First up is Bureau number 163904.  The markings provided depict her when she was the CAG bird of VF-11 “Red Rippers” when they were aboard the USS Carl Vinson in 1996. 

The instruction sheet lists the camouflage as “UPPER SURFACES: Dark Ghost Grey (FS 36375) LOWER SURFACES: Light Ghost Grey (FS 36)”.  The instructions go on to say that the tail and ventral fins are semi-gloss black.  I’d reckon that the guys at CAM have “cut and pasted” the wrong info onto this sheet.  More than likely the camouflage is Dark Ghost Grey (FS 36320) upper surfaces with Light Ghost Grey (FS 36375) lower surfaces and vertical stabilizers. 

Befitting a CAG bird, the “Red Rippers” boar’s head and shield are in full colour over a CAG rainbow coloured lightning bolt.  The squadron markings are in black and include:

  • NK airwing identifiers for the rudders.
  • 100 modex numbers for the nose and wings.
  • VF-11 titles for the ventral fins.
  • Crew names for the canopy rails and sides of the fuselage.
  • Plane captain’s name for the nose wheel undercarriage door.
  • Ship’s names for the leading edges of the wings.

Unusually, the Navy titles, bureau number and turbine warning stripes are also in black. 

There is also a reasonably complete set of grey stencil data as well as a pair of walkway decals and stars and bars supplied for this aircraft.  Also included is a set of slime lights.  These latter items have their edges outlined with a thin black line of varying thickness.  If you look closely at one-to-one scale slime lights, or to give them their correct title –strip formation lights- you will see that their surfaces are rippled.  They look as if they have been melted.  The way that CAM has supplied them in decal form replicates them pretty convincingly in 1/48 scale. 

Next is Bureau number 164604 belonging to VX-9.  If ever there was an aircraft that has been catered for well by decal makers then this is it! 

For modellers of US Navy aircraft who want a break from all that masking that comes with gull grey and white finishes or an escape from the lo-viz greys, this is the sheet for you.  A nice simple paint job – overall semi-gloss black with flat black anti-glare and canopy frame with the odd bit of bare metal to break it all up. 

Markings are minimal and basically all white with white stars on red bordered blue bands for the vertical stabilizers.  Full colour stars and bars and appropriate stencil data/warning placards round out this sheet.  Unfortunately, the blue used for the bands and stars and bars are far too light on my sample.  An examination of photographs of the one-to-one scale 164604 reveals that the blue used for the bands is the same as that of the blue used for the stars and bars – Insignia Blue.

A single sided A-4 sheet with side and partial top views of both aircraft guides you with decal placement as well as notes on painting. 

The sheet is packed in a clear plastic Ziploc bag with a stiff cardboard header to protect the decal sheet from creasing.  The back of the header has comprehensive notes on decaling. Read it, you just might pick up a few tips! 

The decals have been printed by Microscale – enough said, you know that they will work. 

This is a good sheet from the guys at CAM.  Unfortunately, it is marred by the goof on the instruction sheet and the use of the incorrect blue for the VX-9 aircraft.  You can live with the instruction sheet mistake but the use of the wrong blue effectively takes this option out of the game. 

Hopefully, this will be, or already has been corrected on subsequent prints of this sheet. 

Recommended for the Red Rippers 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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