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HobbyDecal 1/48 F/A-18F VFA-103 'Jolly Rogers' Decal First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2005 Manufacturer HobbyDecal
Subject F/A-18F VFA-103 'Jolly Rogers' Scale 1/48
Set Number ST48004 Pros Very nice dry-transfers
Cons Skill Level Basic
MSRP (USD) $16.13

First Look

HobbyDecalHobbyDecal released a special set of dry transfers for the current rush of Super Hornet kits. This set replicates the current 'high visibility' scheme worn by the VF-103 squadron commander's aircraft. As those of you know, Hasegawa just released their 1/48 F/A-18F kit at the IPMS/USA Convention in Atlanta and these kits are now appearing on store shelves everywhere. The interesting twist here is that Hasegawa provided these very same markings in their kit!

So what's different about these decals over the kit set? First off, Hasegawa decals aren't bad, though the white markings tend to be a little transparent sometimes. This is critical in this case as the white 'AA' airwing markings and squadron emblems sit over gloss black. They may be fine in this instance.

Second, waterslide decals have clear edges that will silver at the least imperfection in your paint surface, or sometimes for no reason at all. On dark colors, this flaw is extremely visible. A clear glosscoat and setting solutions will reduce this risk significantly.

If you don't want to even deal with the problem, then these markings are what you're looking for. These are dry transfers - they rub onto the surface without water. No silvering, no sliding decals into place, no floating decals moving out of place.

This set includes markings for Modex 103 (the VF-103 commander's aircraft) and Modex 100 (the usual Modex for the CAG or Sqn Cdr). As an added bonus, there are actually TWO sets of markings on this sheet, one for a 1/48 scale Super Hornet, the other for a 1/72 Super Hornet.

If you want to go to the trouble of adding all of those aircraft markings without the risks associated with conventional decals, these nice dry transfers are your ticket to success. Highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Design & Marketing International for this review sample!