What a Difference a Decal Makes...
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.






USS 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) (Above-above)  Bennington's 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

DESIGNER'S ADDENDUM:
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