What a Difference a Decal
The aircraft below were painted and decaled
by Steve Reid in preparation for Check
Your 6's new
supplement The Road to Rabaul.
Aircraft: Raiden's 1/300th Hellcat
(USA-011) and Corsair (USA-001) ($2.50 each per model)
Decals: Scale Specialties 300AC-US-014 ($11.29/sheet)
USS PRINCETON (CVL-23) Air Group 27 existed with this fearsome pussy cat's "smiling
face" on her Hellcat compliment from May to October 1944, the date of
her loss in action. It seems to be saying "Smile - you're in my
gun sight". This was the only navy fighter squadron to feature
such art work, quite unlike the USAAF's various "moral" presentations.
(Above) Almost a full profile shows the
individual aircraft number ("167") in three locations. The number
on the engine cowling is a separate decal - very small!! - and care
needs be taken when placing it. The larger, under cockpit
location, is usually placed while the number on the tail assembly is
part of the overall "arrow" decal.
(Below) The stencil marks show up well on the decal when placed the the
Sea Blue overall camouflage. In fact the numbers in all three
locations have their proper stencil marks but you'll need at least an
8X magnifier is see them.
Occupying almost the full height of the tail, the arrow shaft insignia
was one of the more easily recognizable "G" symbols found on the fast
carriers in the Pacific.
USS BUNKER HILL (CV-17) Air Group 84's arrow tip "G" symbol
was found on all aircraft of the carrier's aircraft compliment.
While on the tail, in association with the individual airplane number,
the symbol also appears on the top surface of the starboard wing and
the underside of the port wing.
HANCOCK (CV-19) Air Group 7
served on board from September 1944 to January 1945 using the horse
shoe insignia and individual aircraft number, here "12", located on the
tail as its "G" symbol with no other enhancements on the fuselage or
wings. (Above-above) Even the horse shoe emblem contained stencil
marks as well as the numbers.
USS BENNINGTON (CV-20)
aircraft numbers were located in one place, on the tail below the "G"
symbol, an arrow head without shaft. (Above-below) The
arrow head symbol is also found on both the port and starboard wings,
above, as viewed in the picture, and underneath the wings.
PRINCETON's aircraft (above) have a choice for presentation using the
provided decals. The three-tone standard camouflage of Sea Blue,
top surfaces of the air plane, Intermediate Blue on the fuselage sides
and tail surfaces with White under surfaces, all non-specular
(essentially flat finish). The alternative is for a Gloss overall
Sea Blue as presented by the BUNKER HILL's Corsair below. Just as
a matter of fact and to avoid confusion, the base model used for
PRINCETON's planes are not Raiden's but rather samples of C-in-C's
Hellcat fighter model, MS-79, F6F-3. The difference?
C-in-C's comes with the auxiliary centerline fuel tank.
(Above) "G" symbols and individual number
placement on BUNKER HILL's Hellcat aircraft are identical to that shown
for the pictured Corsair. Apart from the individual number being
for one specific airplane, the location on the tail runs as follows:
immediately below the arrow head point (and facing forward) = F6F Hellcat
approximately half way down the shaft (and facing
forward) = F4U Corsair
For a short period of
time in early 1944, BUNKER HILL's aircraft featured a ring around the
nose cowl about 18" wide. Photos suggest the Hellcats used white
and the Corsairs yellow. Full verification has not been made and as a
tactical insignia only lasted about two months. This will be
challenging as the very small number sits right in the middle of the
band against a rectangle of the basic aircraft color very close to the
edge of the engine cowling. Just pointing this out for the
purists in the group (and those crazy enough to give it a shot).
Of special note for the photo of the model above, the
national insignia utilized on the model were the blue and white
versions provided on the decal sheet. If you look very, very
carefully, you can see the difference in the two blues, the insignia
and the air plane proper. This use is also noted in photos (color
to boot) of both the Hellcat and Corsair. Later issue aircraft of
course featured the white only insignia but the two tone did
exist. The closeness of the color tone as shows why the insignia
blue was dropped.
And for the information of our customers, who will ask,
what Vallejo colors correspond to the Gloss Sea Blue and Intermidiate
Blue? Answer: 898/048 Dark Sea Blue = Sea Blue (finish with a
satin overcoat) and 903/060 Intermediate Blue. I checked these to
the color patches in Monogram's four volume set on US Navy and Marine
camouflage and markings - near perfect match. The paint used on
the above models was some of the last of Mr. Reid's supply of Poly
Scale for the respective color and as many of you know, or will find
out, Testors no longer manufactures this brand. Thus it is nice
to know all is not lost.
for Scale Specialties,
Norman E. Harms, Designer