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Flying Leathernecks Decals 1/48 F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-121 Green Knights OIF Tour 2007 Decal First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2007 Manufacturer Flying Leathernecks Decals
Subject F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-121 Green Knights OIF Tour 2007 Scale 1/48
Set Number 48004 Pros Nice decals, great reference CD-ROM, and excellent insight into each aircraft!!
Cons Red bars printed separately from full color national markings Skill Level Novice
MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

What differentiates a nice set of decals from a fantastic set? First is love of subject - you can see when the 'extra' touches are added because the decal maker wants to do these models themselves. Second is proximity to subject - you can tell with all of the attention to detail that the decal maker had access to the aircraft rather than attempting to recreate the markings from photos. There are other attributes as well, but since this is Flying Leatherneckss, a new brand under Orion Scale Models which is all owned and operated by Dave Roof, USMC, you get the idea - this is going to be good.

F/A-18D F/A-18D F/A-18D F/A-18D F/A-18D F/A-18D

I recall a set of decals from another company that consisted of large Spitfire painted atop a 349 Sqn F-16A. After inquiring around, I learned that this decal set was not only done by a member of 349 Sqn, he had also designed the full-sized artwork for the aircraft. Talk about 'inside information'...

So here we have four examples of aircraft from VMFA(AW)-121 (that is Navy-nomenclature for US Marine Corps Fighter/Attack All-Weather Squadron 121) based out of MCAS Miramar (where the movie Top Gun was filmed) as they appeared during their tour through the 'sandbox'.

The aircraft presented in this set are:

  • F/A-18D, 165413, VK/01, 'Covey 01', VMFA(AW)-121
  • F/A-18D, 165867, VK/04, 'Covey 04', VMFA(AW)-121, ATARS
  • F/A-18D, 165411, VK/05, 'Covey 05', VMFA(AW)-121
  • F/A-18D, 164652, VK/11, 'Covey 11', VMFA(AW)-121

What is interesting about this set is the brief insight into each aircraft. For example Covey 01 is named for Captain Joe Foss who received the Medal of Honor for his actions on 25 Oct 1942 when he became an ace in one day. Each of these aircraft honors a Marine aviator who distinguished himself and the Corps.


This set provides the color profiles, detals and even photo walk arounds of each aircraft on a CD-ROM that is included with this decal set. Very nice touch!

The only unfortunate thing I found in this set is the full-color national markings carried by Covey 01 - the red bars are printed separately, something typically done when using Microscale for decal printing. Since these were done by Cartograf, color registration is far more precise than Microscale and the the national markings could have been done as one decal layer instead of two.

For more information about this set and the other releases from Flying Leathernecks Decals, visit their website at

My sincere thanks to Flying Leathernecks Decals for this review sample!


  • Notice: The appearance of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense, or NASA imagery or art does not constitute an endorsement nor is Cybermodeler Online affiliated with these organizations.