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Afterburner Decals 1/48 F-4E Slatted Wing Phantom II Stencils Decal First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2011 Manufacturer Afterburner Decals
Subject F-4E Slatted Wing Phantom II Stencils Scale 1/48
Set Number 48072 Pros VERY detailed stencil set
Cons None noted Skill Level Novice
MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

Afterburner Decals continues to turn out some impressive decal releases covering contemporary US subjects and this latest set is definitely no exception.

F-4E F-4E

This latest release is easily the best maintenance stenciling set I've ever seen produced by anybody in any scale (except 1:1). This set covers the F-4E Phantom II that was either produced or retro-fitted with slatted wings and has the appropriate color stencils for Southeast Asia camouflaged Phantoms. This set also includes the TISEO F-4Es as well.

So what is so different about this set? You can see that this set is produced on 2 sheets (one large, one small) and include national markings, formation (slime) lights, and a variety of placards. This level of detail has indeed been approached by other decal makers to be sure, but that isn't what makes this set different.

I remember one set of stencils which were nicely printed and was about to start detailing up my Hasegawa 1/48 Phantom II. While the decals were good, the instructions were awful. Here was a poorly printed black and white diagram on a small sheet of paper that showed one side of the airframe and pointed out that any given stencil went 'somewhere over there'. Not so with this release. Look at the image below - you have the stencil placement for the left side of the nose and you can see just how many stencils go on just that area of the aircraft. What Afterburner does is replicate each section of the aircraft, nose, tail, upper port wing, upper starboard wing, etc. and clearly shows where each of the markings are placed relative to panel lines. There are nine full pages of diagrams used to get these stencils into place. My tired eyes thank you Afterburner Decals!!!

I don't know if you've looked at some of the master's level aircraft builds but they look great from a distance terms of paint, detail and weathering. What makes them stand out from the rest is when you get closer and you begin to see the stenciling and the finer details that are absent on other models. While some kits and aftermarket decal sets do provide some maintenance stencils, this is about as complete a set of stencils you'll find on the market and the diagrams are very well done to condense several hundred pages of technical order diagrams into just these seven pages.

Now that Afterburner Decals has seriously raised the bar on stencil sets, I hope we'll see hard-wing SEA Phantoms, Hill One Phantoms, High- and Low-Viz Navy Phantoms, Thuds, Vipers, Eagles, and all of the rest of popular subjects produced to the same level of detail!

My sincere thanks to Afterburner Decals for this review sample!