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F4D-1 Project Pilot (NOTSNIK)

Starfighter Decals 1/72 F4D-1 Project Pilot (NOTSNIK) Decal First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2018 Manufacturer Starfighter Decals
Subject F4D-1 Project Pilot (NOTSNIK) Scale 1/72
Set Number 72-156 Pros Interesting subject
Cons Nothing noted Skill Level Basic
MSRP (USD) $5.00

First Look

Starfighter Decals has released this decal set depicting the first space test program for the Naval Ordnance Test Station at NAS China Lake. Almost a year after the Soviet Union's successful orbiting of Sputnik I, Project Pilot was established to develop a satellite launch system as well as an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile. Under the guise of Project Pilot, the Pilot-1 was a surface-launched system while Pilot-2 was an air-launched version. The Navy provided an F4D-1 to serve as the air launcher, and after modifications were completed at China Lake, the F4D-1 attempted six launches out of NAS Point Mugu. While NACA was pulling together available technologies to get the US into the space race, the Navy was following this parallel path with 0 out of 10 total launches (six from the F4D-1) successfully reaching orbit (though one was thought to have reached orbit, but this couldn't be confirmed).

F4D-1 Project Pilot (NOTSNIK) F4D-1 Project Pilot (NOTSNIK)

This decal set provides markings for the following subject:

  • F4D-1, 130747, NOTS China Lake, NAS Point Mugu, 1958

This decal set replicates the modified Skyray launcher, and Starfighter also produces the Pilot rocket as a resin kit to mount on your Skyray. Perhaps we can see this decal set and resin Pilot rocket in 1/48 scale? Hint, hint?

You can purchase these decals directly from Starfighter Decals on their website.

My sincere thanks to Starfighter Decals for this review sample!