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Afterburner Decals 1/48 F/A-18 Pax River Bug Testers Decal First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2008 Manufacturer Afterburner Decals
Subject F/A-18A/B/C/D/E/F Pax River Bug Testers Scale 1/48
Set Number 48025 Pros Beautifully printed decal artwork! Eye catching markings of flight test Hornets
Cons Skill Level Novice
MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Afterburner Decals has turned out some impressive decal releases covering contemporary US subjects and this one is definitely no exception. This release covers six test aircraft from the Naval Air Test Center (NATC) at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. This is the Navy version of the USAF's Edwards Air Force Base where all new and upgraded aircraft are run through their paces in all corners of their flight envelopes to either help work out the bugs or at least warn and train line aviators what not to do.

F/A-18 F/A-18

This sampling covers one of each type of F/A-18 Hornet (with the exception of the latest arrival, the EF-18G Growler). The aircraft presented in this set are:

  • F/A-18A, BuNo 161925, 7T/156, Pax River NAS, 1986, D'Skunk
  • F/A-18B, BuNo 161947, SD/323, Pax River NAS, 2003
  • F/A-18C, BuNo 163476, SD/100, Pax River NAS, 2003
  • F/A-18D, BuNo 163986, SD/422, Pax River NAS, 2003
  • F/A-18E, BuNo 165537, SD/100, Pax River NAS, 2005
  • F/A-18F, BuNo 165929, SD/421, Pax River NAS, 2005

This extensive decal set provides all of the distinctive markings for each of the aircraft, enough maintenance stencils for at least one aircraft (you might be able to get two or three aircraft off of this set with carefuly selection), as well as LOTS of photo-calibration/tracking markings used to analyze various aspects of a test flight through video and photographic instrumentation. Of course, this set set wouldn't be complete without providing the distinctive A-model test Hornet called D'Skunk. Of course these decals are sized for the beautiful Hasegawa Hornets but you should be able to use these with the Hobby Boss F/A-18A-D models as well as with the Italer and Revell E/F Super Hornet kits.

My sincere thanks to Afterburner Decals for this review sample!