DXM Decals 1/48 F-14A Tomcat VF-1 Wolfpack

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This decal sheet, 81-4230, covers 6 aircraft from VF-1:

  • F-14A, NK-106, Bu No. 158995, VF-1, USS Enterprise, 1978
  • F-14A, NE-103, Bu No. 161288, VF-1, USS Ranger, 1985
  • F-14A, NE-111, Bu No. 162611, VF-1, USS Ranger, 1990
  • F-14A, NE-106, Bu No. 161294, VF-1, USS Ranger, 1986
  • F-14A, NE-107, Bu No. 159827, VF-1, USS Ranger, 1981
  • F-14A, NE-101, Bu No. 161279, VF-1, USS Ranger, 1981

Fighter Squadron 1 (VF-1) was a fighter squadron of the United States Navy. Known as the “Wolfpack” the squadron saw combat during World War II, the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm. The squadron was de-activated and its personnel reassigned in 1993 when its carrier, the USS Ranger (CV-61), was decommissioned.

The fourth VF-1, “Wolfpack” was established on October 14, 1972 at NAS Miramar, at the same time as VF-2, these units were the first F-14 fighter squadrons. VF-1 received the first F-14As on July 1, 1973. The squadron’s insignia was a red wolf’s head designed by Grumman Commercial Artist, George M. Kehew who himself is a WWII combat veteran. The Squadron Insignia is registered in the Library of Congress.

The first cruise came in September 1974 onboard Enterprise. The end of the cruise saw the first Tomcat’s combat debut, as VF-1 and VF-2 flew cover over Saigon for the evacuation of US personnel in April 1975 as part of Operation Frequent Wind.

In September 1980, VF-1 and VF-2 changed carrier air wings, moved to the Ranger and flew various cruises with her until they shifted carriers once again in 1984 to the Kitty Hawk. They stayed with Kitty Hawk for one cruise. In 1984, VF-1 had achieved an impressive 22,000 flight hours without a single accident. By 1986, they returned to the Ranger and were with the carrier during Operation Desert Storm where VF-1 scored the only F-14 air-to-air kill during the war, an Iraqi Mil Mi-8 helicopter was downed with an AIM-9 Sidewinder.

On 14 January 1992, VF-1 lost NE112 (BuNo. 160887) in a crash at Fallon Nevada. Both aircrew members, (Eddie “Neal” Jones and Scott “Dinger” Waldinger) were killed in the crash.

The Ranger’s last foreign port of entry was Sydney Australia in January of 1993 after having spent New Year’s Eve 1992 in Melbourne Australia.

The Ranger was decommissioned in 1993 and VF-1 was left without a carrier. They operated out of NAS Miramar until VF-1 itself was disestablished on 1 October 1993.

This set is designed for F-14A kits from:

  • Academy
  • Fujimi
  • Hasegawa
  • HobbyBoss
  • Italeri
  • Revell
  • Tamiya

The decals arrived from DXM Decals in an envelope clearly marked ‘Do Not Bend’. Inside the envelope, the decals were secured between 2 pieces of cardboard. The decals themselves are in a self-sealing plastic bag, with a tab at the top for hanging the bag on a sales rack in a store. There’s plenty of space in the bag so getting the decals in and out is not a problem. The bottom folds up over the bag and has a sticky stripe on it to seal it. I found that the sticky strip tends to stick to everything, so I folded the sticky tab back on itself and sealed the bag with a second, smaller, piece of tape. This way I can put things back inside the bag a lot easier. Inside the bag are:

  • One A4/Letter sized double-sided colour sheet of decal placement instructions.
  • Two large decal sheets. (15cm x 21cm)
  • One small decal sheet. (5cm x 8cm)

The instructions are on both sides of the sheet of paper and the only part of the instructions not used for decal placement is the cover. You are given either a left or right view of the aircraft to get the decals in place. You also have inside views of the twin tails. In addition, you have top and bottom views so you can clearly see the positioning of the stencils. The instructions, as you can see from the images, are clearly laid out. The paints used are called out in Mr. Color and Humbrol schemes. You’re also supplied with decals for the crew’s helmets which is a nice touch.

The decals themselves are by Cartograph so the quality is very good. There is minimal carrier film around the stencils except for the places where it is being used to hold the text together to make sure the alignment between them is correct.  The decals themselves look very thin and in register and the colours are vibrant and overall look very good.

Overall, it’s a very well done decal sheet of this outstanding scheme that will really stand out in a crowd. I really like the addition of the helmet decals.

Many thanks to DXM Decals for the review sample. You can buy this set for $26.00 from the DXM Decals website.

Paul Tosney – Editor
HobbyLink International
Hoblylink International Shop
eBay Store
Inextension

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