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Hornets' Nest


CAM Decals



S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description:

48-113 - Hornets' Nest

Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Decal sheet; instruction sheet with a colour cardboard header
Price: USD$9.00
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Colourful and interesting options; good instructions; plenty of online reference available; decals sharply printed and in perfect register
Disadvantages: Fin caps not supplied as decals; stencils not supplied for first option (but may be accurate!)
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Squadron




Here is a brand new sheet from Custom Aeronautical Miniatures (CAM Decals) that provides right up to date markings for F/A-18C CAG birds from two of the Atlantic Fleet squadrons that took part in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002. 

First is Bureau number 165214 belonging to VFA-34 “Blue Blasters” of CVW-17 aboard the USS George Washington. 

Finish is the standard Hornet scheme of FS 3620 dark ghost grey upper surfaces over FS 36375 light ghost grey, tan radome with a stainless steel tip.  The fin caps are painted in the Squadron’s mid blue.  No FS number or model paint match is given for this blue and the placement guide tells you to match it to the blue of the decals.  Not a big deal really but it would have been nice to see the fin caps supplied as decals. 

The majority of decals for this aircraft are in the same squadron blue colour.  They consist of: 

  • CVW-10’s AA airwing identifiers for the outer surfaces of the rudders.

  • 200 modex for the sides of the nose and tops of the flaps.  The modex is in a very different font to that normally seen on US Naval aircraft.

  • CVW-17 scripts for the spine.

  • USS Washington scripts for the base of the outer surfaces of the vertical stabilizers.

  • Blue Blasters scripts for the drop tank.

  • CAG and DCAG names beneath the canopy.  Incidentally, the CAG is CAPT D.R. Potts, a well known contributor to this site.

  • Bureau number data block. National insignia, and Navy scripts.

The full colour decals are: 

§         A red white and blue coloured VFA-34 squadron insignia of a smoking winged skull whose eyes and nose are cleverly depicted as and old fashioned batsman for the outer surface of the port vertical stabilizer. 

§         A blue and white playing card Joker wielding a .50 Cal machine gun for the outer surface of the starboard vertical stabilizer. This is the old WWII VF-20 "Jokers" squadron insignia from which VFA-34 descended. 

The remainder of the decals are in grey with the exception of white 00s for the fin caps.  The grey decals are the more easily seen stencil data items – the intake warnings ejector seat/rescue information, arrestor hook warnings, walkways for the fuselage chines, and exhaust blast warnings.  A set of yellow slime lights are also included. 

Unusual for CAM, they don’t include a comprehensive set of stencil data.  Don’t be too upset about this though as it may be quite right for this aircraft.  The data does tend to disappear under the constant touch ups that these aircraft receive aboard carries in the never ending battle against corrosion. 

For some great reference shots of this aircraft follow the links

US Navy Digital Images site at: 





These shots have been taken over the period of 165214’s life as a CAG.  Notice that there are several differences in the way the aircraft is marked in the different pictures than it has been depicted on the decal sheet.  Don’t be alarmed and think that the sheet is wrong as is detail changes do occur. 

The second aircraft is Bureau number 164627, the CAG of VFA-15 “Valions” when it was aboard the USS Enterprise as a part of CVW-8 in 2001. 

Overall camouflage finish is the same as the Blue “Blasters”, FS 3620 dark ghost grey upper surfaces over FS 36375 light ghost grey, tan radome with a stainless steel tip. 

On this basic background the corrosion control guys at VFA-15 have livened up the squadron markings by painting them in blue and yellow.  In fact just about all of the markings on the aircraft are in blue and yellow!  These markings are all provided as decals and they consist of: 

  • A stripe that follows the leading edge of the vertical stabilizers (inside and out) and extends across the vertical stabilizer beneath the fin cap.  The Word Estocin in cursive script is placed in the centre of the stripe.  This is to signify that VFA-15 has won the coveted CAPT Michael J. Estocin Award for the best F/A-18 squadron in the U.S. Navy.  A dry fit against the Hasegawa kit reveals that these decals fit perectly.

  • The AJ airwing identifier for the outboard sides of the rudders.

  • The squadron insignia of a lion riding a missile.  This insignia is a reincarnation of one previously used by the squadron when it flew A-4s.

  • Navy scripts, VFA-15 scripts for the fuselage spine, 300 modex for the nose and tops of the vertical stabilizers.

  • The Atlantic Fleet “Battle E” award.

  • Selected stencil data including the intake warning triangles, ejector seat triangles, exhaust blast warning and arrestor hook warning.

Black decals include: 

  • The walkways for the fuselage chines, 300 modex for the tops of the flaps (there is an extra pair provided as well so you get four in all), Valions scripts for the drop tanks, CAG and DCAG names for side of the fuselage underneath the cockpit (both sides), The Bureau number data block.

A set of slime lights, as well as a set of full-colour national insignia round out the markings for this aircraft.  As with the VFA-34 aircraft, the stencil data is limited and the same comments apply. 

CAM has included a correction set with this sheet.  The original sheet features the blue of the squadron markings as a medium blue and some of the other decals in different colours (the fin top modex, arrestor hook warning data).  The replacement sheet supplies the markings in the more correct darker blue and lighter yellow – nice move Cam Decals).  Reference photos of this aircraft can be found on Betrand “Big Bear” Delest’s excellent website at: 


Other shots from around the web are: 


The same comments apply for this aircraft with regard to differences in the markings. 

Decal placement is guided by an A-4 sized sheet that has black and white side profile drawings as well as smaller drawings to illustrate details that are not readily evident.  This sheet also provides limited colour notes as well as a list of sources used when the sheet was researched.   The same side profiles also appear on the header card but this time they are in colour. 

The placement guide, three decal sheets and the header card are all packed in a clear plastic zip-loc bag. 

The decals themselves have been printed by Microscale so you know that they will work.  They are all sharp, clear and in perfect register. 

The placement guide recommends the Hasegawa and Monogram kits.  However, if the rumour of a new-tool late model –C from Revell proves correct I know where this set will find a home.  

This is a great sheet by Cam Decals and it is Recommended

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 © 2003 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 23 January, 2003
Last updated 14 August, 2003

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