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What If...
F/A-20C Magpie



Gekko Graphics

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: GGWI48-001 RAAF F/A-20C Magpie
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: One full-sized decal sheet; full color instructions; one folded 8.5 x 11 inch notebook page
Price: AUD$16 each plus $3 postage and handling
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Futuristic storyline supported by some wild color schemes and markings; well printed with fine detail to equal most silkscreen productions.
Disadvantages: ALPS printed
Recommendation: Recommended to "What If" Modelers


Reviewed by David W. Aungst

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Last fall, I was toying with the Revell Rafale kits and got very annoyed at their lack of clear painting instructions.

I decided the easiest fix to the lack of color information was to ignore the painting instructions and create a series of "What If..." paint schemes for the aircraft. My schemes revolved around the concept that the US Navy had purchased a few Rafale aircraft as fourth-generation air combat trainers -- aggressor aircraft. I envisioned such aircraft flying from NAS Fallon with either NSAWC or VFC-13.

You never really know where such hair-brained ideas might take root...

The seeds I planted took root in the fertile imagination of Richard Chafer from Gekko Graphics. He was very taken with my whole "What If..." concept on the Rafale that he started creating his own "What If..." schemes and invented a whole future history storyline to support their existence. The story roughly translates to something like this:

In the not too distant future, Russia and Communist China gang up with each other to dominate the world. Surprise pre-emptive strikes on the US military cripple it, effectively leaving Europe to defend itself. "EuroForce" is the combined military might of Europe (something like NATO), and it wages war with the Russian and Chinese militaries using the current forth-generation combat aircraft, including the Rafale.

Australia finds itself allied with EuroForce and tasked with protection of the south west Pacific. Flying license-built Rafale aircraft (locally referred to as the F/A-20C Magpie and Sea Magpie) in both the RAAF and RAN, the Australian military starts developing unique camouflages for concealing their aircraft in various terrain.

In support of this storyline, Richard created 50 or so various camouflages to decorate the Australian Magpie and EuroForce Rafale aircraft. Added to the 50 or so US Navy aggressor schemes I had created, Richard is sitting on over 100 assorted "What If..." Rafale color schemes. Find the total display of all these schemes at http://www.gekkographics.com.au/What if.htm.

Being a decal manufacture and the owner of an ALPS MD-5000 printer, Richard decided to design some decals to support his hypothetical camouflage schemes. This review highlights his first "What If..." decal release.





The first decal release provides markings for RAAF F/A-20C Magpie aircraft. Being a rather esoteric topic and concept, Richard has chosen (wisely) to limit his production of these decals to being ALPS printed. Don't let that fool you, though. These decals are very well printed and poses very fine detailing that is equal to any silkscreen printed decals on the market.

The package comes complete with a set of decals allowing you to build any of the F/A-20C Magpies for the RAAF as shown on the "What If..." display pages of the Gekko Graphics web site. In support of the decals, two full color camouflage diagrams are provided to assist us modelers in where to place the decals. A folded 8.5 x 11 inch notebook page adds further descriptions and discusses options of the decals for creating various markings designs.

The following images show the decals and the two color diagrams that were included in my review sample:


The Decal Sheet
Camouflage Diagram Camouflage Diagram


Some nice touches to the decals are aircraft names and kill/mission markings. The notebook page with further instructions offers some suggestions as to where on the Magpies these markings might be found.

I decided after browsing the "What If..." schemes on the Gekko Graphics web site to include a few more camouflage diagrams. The following are the ones that really caught my attention. I especially loved the purple scheme. According to Richard's future history storyline, the RAAF's first double ace WOMAN pilot, Wing Commander Victoria Ngyuan Price, flies the purple Magpie. I dare anybody to paint this scheme on his or her Magpie/Rafale model!


Camouflage Diagram Camouflage Diagram
Camouflage Diagram Camouflage Diagram
Camouflage Diagram Camouflage Diagram





Richard has created a winner as far as I am concerned. My only complaint is that I am having trouble deciding which camouflage to build. I would love to see Richard shrink his designs and print them in 1/144th scale so that I could do several models without having to commit half my display area to them.

With all the great RAN schemes that Richard created, I would also hope to see a RAN sheet done at some point in the future. The high-vis VF-805 aircraft with all the red/white trim would definitely be an eye-catcher. Providing ALPS printed decals and printing them only on demand, Richard could easily cater to a small audience at little or no risk to his other business concerns.

Recommended (for any "What If..." lovers out there).

Thanks to Gekko Graphics for the review samples

Gekko Graphics decals are available online from their website

Review Copyright 2003 by David W. Aungst
This Page Created on 23 July, 2003
Last updated 14 August, 2003

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