by: Tim Hatton [ ]
This release from Afterburner Decals is a tribute to the F-16CG/DG Block 40, F-16CM of the 388/419th TW based at Hill AFB in northern Utah. The decals are sized for the Tamiya 1/48 F-16C/N Aggressor/Adversary kit, but the slightly less accurate Hasegawa kit can also be used.
All contained in a resealble A4 plastic wallet. Contents include:
-1 x A4 sheet of decals.
-1 x smaller sheet of tail tip markings.
-1 x small sheet of stencils, enough for two aircraft.
-10 x A4 colour starboard profiles.
-1 x A4 black and white stencil guide.
-1 x A4 F-16CG/DG Block 40, F-16CM information guide.
-1 x A4 weapons guide.
-1 x A4 paint guide and modeling notes.
Out of the possible 39 aircraft that are included with this release there are decals for the Commanders aircraft of the:
-388th Ops Group Commander two aircraft with three Commanders.
-388th Ops Support Commander.
-4th Fighter Squadron Commander one aircraft with four Commanders.
-34th Fighter Squadron Commander, two aircraft with four Commanders.
-421st Fighter squadron Commander, three aircraft with four Commanders.
-419th FW Commander.
-419th Ops Group Commander.
The rest are line jets.
Decals: are mostly packed onto the larger A4 sheet. Included are the small but colourful squadron markings for the tips of the tails. There are a fair smattering of Skulls, evil looking Rams, Black Widows and Webs. Also included are tail codes, pilots and maintenance crew names as well as Commander badges. They are all sensibly placed on the sheet so you wont have to search for too long to find the correct decals. The smaller sheet has a few badges and squadron markings for the tail tips to replace some of the decals on the main sheet. The other sheet contains low visibility national markings and stencils. There are enough to cover two aircraft. As always with Afterburner decals the are printed by Cartograf, a Company synonymous with quality. Decals are beautifully printed with excellent colour and density. The carrier film is practically invisible. Excellent stuff.
Instructions: one of the great strengths of Afterburner releases is the amount of information about the subjects they supply. The folk at Afterburner obviously have a lot of contacts at Hill AFB judging by the number of military personnel they acknowledged for their help.
Although the majority of the profiles are of the starboard side of the aircraft, any changes on the port side are noted. Also on the profile sheets are smaller drawings of the inner front undercarriage door illustrating the placement of maintenance crew names. It is also worth noting that the aircraft on active duty had any names removed. If this is the case then it is mentioned in the instructions. All aircraft are finished in medium grey [FS 36270] with upper wings, tail planes and upper fuselage aft of the canopy in dark grey [FS 36118]. Missile rails, pylons and drop tanks are painted light grey [FS 36375] or medium grey [FS 36270].
The information guides are very informative and list features on the aircraft that distinguish the Block 40's, and the latter updated version, the F-16CM. Afterburner have created a quick reference for the type so that you do not have to plough through lots of references to obtain the information on this block.
Stencil guide: is excellent, providing port and starboard profiles as well as upper and lower plan views. There are also small diagrams illustrating the stencil placement on the ejector seat and the main and nose wheel legs and the inside of the canopy.
Weapons guide: is very helpful in providing possible load combinations for deployments between 2005-2006 and 2007-2009. the information given will provide some interesting colour variations for the weapons and fuel tanks. Afterburner suggest acquiring the Hasegawa weapons set E, particularly for the AN/AAQ-28 Litening and AN/AAQ-33 Sniper pods.
Modeling Notes: again very helpful in regards advice about the best kits and after market products to use. Tamiya is the recommended kit for these decals although the Hasegawa kit can be used with some reservations.
Well this is a superb release from Afterburner Decals. Hill AFB Vipers may not have the visual impact of the Navies CAG birds, but there is just enough colour to brighten up the two tone greys. The decals are superb as is the information supplied. The colourful graphics and imagery on the instruction sheets certainly would not look out of place framed on your workshop wall. Nice one Afterburner.