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Afterburner Decals 1/48 F-16C Nellis Aggressor Vipers Decal First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2006 Manufacturer Afterburner Decals
Subject F-16C/D Aggressor Eagles Scale 1/48
Set Number 48008 Pros Fifteen colorful Nellis aggressor Vipers with enough stenciling for five complete aircraft
Cons Skill Level Novice
MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Afterburner Decals has turned out some impressive decal releases covering contemporary USAF subjects, but this one is their best yet. This is a superset which covers fifteen different aggressor Vipers from the 64th Aggressor and 414th Combat Training Squadrons, both from the 57th Wing at Nellis AFB, NV.

F-16C F-16C F-16C

Since at least the early 1970s, Nellis has been home to the Fighter Weapons School and the opportunity for a new fighter pilot to get his or her first ten combat missions completed in relative safety.

Military planners realized that if a combat pilot could survive their first ten missions, then they have a significantly greater chance of surviving the rest of their combat tour. To give our pilots' that crucial experience, Nellis AFB conducts Red Flag exercises several times per year to give pilots that experience. The Nellis range complex is full of targets and simulated air defenses, but no combat experience would be complete without the aggressors!

Aggressor aircraft are usually comprised of dissimilar aircraft types that are representative of the current threat - in the 1970s, the MiG-21 was the common threat and the F-5E was aggressor aircraft of choice. Today, the common threats include the Flanker and the Fulcrum which are best represented by the F-15 and F-16. To add fidelity to the threat, the aggressor pilots are trained to employ the tactics of various potential adversaries, and the aircraft are painted in similar colors to those worn by those same potential adversaries. The four color schemes worn by these aircraft are: Brown, Flanker, Flogger, and Fulcrum.

The fifteen aircraft presented in this decal set are:

  • F-16C-32H-CF, 87-0307, Red 07, 64 AS/57 Wing (Brown)
  • F-16C-32F-CF, 87-0267, Red 67, 57 Wing (Flanker)
  • F-16D-52P-CF, 92-3927, Red 27, 414 CTS/57 Wing (Flanker)
  • F-16C-32D-CF, 86-0272, Red 72, 64 AS/57 Wing (Flogger)
  • F-16C-32J-CF, 87-0321, Red 21, 57 Wing (Flogger)
  • F-16C-32H-CF, 87-0307, Red 07, 57 Wing (Flogger)
  • F-16D-32C-CF, 86-0041, Red 41, 57 Wing (Fulcrum)
  • F-16C-32D-CF, 86-0271, Red 64, 57 Wing (Fulcrum)
  • F-16C-25D-CF, 84-1277, Red 77, 57 Wing (Flogger)
  • F-16C-32D-CF, 86-0273, Red 73, 57 Wing (Fulcrum)
  • F-16C-32D-CF, 86-0269, Red 69, 57 Wing (Fulcrum)
  • F-16C-32D-CF, 86-0271, Red 71, 64 AS/57 Wing (Flanker)
  • F-16C-42H-CF, 89-2148, Red 48, 64 AS/57 Wing (Flanker)
  • F-16C-42H-CF, 90-0727, Red 27, 64 AS/57 Wing (Flanker)
  • F-16D-52D-CF, 91-0470, Red 70, 57 Wing (Flanker)

As you can see in the decal layout, this set provides a nice array of maintenance stencils in addition to the national markings and distinctive unit markings. In fact, Afterburner Decals provide sufficient markings for five complete aircraft.

The instructions recommend the Hasegawa kits, but as these are all narrow-mouth Pratt-powered aircraft, you can also easily use the F-16C kits from Academy or Italeri/Revell Germany for the Block 25 and Block 32 aircraft. Stick with the Hasegawa kit for the F-16C Block 42 airframes and of course Hasegawa is the only one with F-16Ds in Blocks 25/32 and Block 52 (as well as other block not covered in this set).

My sincere thanks to Afterburner Decals for this review sample!