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Afterburner Decals 1/48 TA-4J Scooter Bandits Part Two Decal First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2008 Manufacturer Afterburner Decals
Subject TA-4J Scooter Bandits Part Two Scale 1/48
Set Number 48038 Pros Eight distinctive TA-4J Bandits
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 no exception. This new set covers the variety of camouflage schemes and markings of the US Navy's adversary TA-4J Skyhawks. Designed for the Classic Airframes 1/48 TA-4J kit, these markings replicate eight of the Navy's interesting camouflage schemes developed to replicate the look of potential adversaries around the world.


One of the more difficult tasks in replicating these color schemes is good information including four-view color guides and matching Federal Standard color numbers so one can replicate this scheme in scale. Afterburner has taken the hassle out of this step by providing detailed four-view diagrams of all seven aircraft, including the color patterns inside the flap wells. Nice! The eight Scooters presented here include:

  • TA-4J, 154342, -/04, VC-8, 2002
  • TA-4J, 158465, -/14, VA-127, 1986
  • TA-4J, 154656, -/10, VA-127, 1986
  • TA-4J, 154334, -/14, VA-127, 1981
  • TA-4J, 154690, -/11, VA-127, 1983
  • TA-4J, 153672, -/07, VA-127, 1982
  • TA-4F, 153491, -/16, VF-126, 1991
  • TA-4J, 153683, -/06, VA-127, 1983

I particularly like the last aircraft in the list. This scooter is a gray airframe with a tan and brown MiG-17 painted over the top of it and black cheat lines to force the eye to the fake silhouette. In early 1984, I was driving along the flightline at Nellis AFB and glancing through the sunroof at the aircraft in the traffic pattern. All of a sudden, I spotted a MiG-17 in broad daylight entering the break! I jammed on the brakes, hopped out of the car, and stared at this MiG that was a little out of place at Red Flag. As it entered downwind, the sun hit the aircraft just right and I could finally see the gray Scooter underneath that MiG-17 paint scheme. It may not look that good on the ground, but in the air it will definitely catch your eye!

This decal set provides you with the sufficient markings to replicate all eight aircraft. If you look over the decal sheet, you can see that this set is complete with the names of the flight crews and maintainers. Someone has done their homework!

If you're looking for a nice subject for your next two-seat Scooter project, this is the right set to get you there. If you're a fan of aggressor aircraft as I am, you'll need to stock up on these Classic Airframes kits!

My sincere thanks to Afterburner Decals for this review sample!