AOA Decals | 32-030 / 32-032 / 32-033 / 32-034 - USN/USMC F-4 Phantoms in Vietnam
Reviewed by Brian Leitch
This is AOA Decals' brand new release of 4 separate decal sheets covering USN & USMC F-4 Phantoms in the Vietnam War.
These decals were shipped in a heavy stock cardboard shipping envelope, each in their own cellophane zip lock bag, all in great condition.
Included with the 32-032 / 32-033 / 32-034 F-4 decals sets, OAO generously provides a full F-4 stencil sheet for one complete airframe (32-030 / VF-154 options carried bare minimal stenciling so the full data sheet is not included). The 32-030 decal sheets are printed by Cartograf in Italy, and the 32-031, 32-032, 32-033 and 32-034 decal sets are all printed by Microscale. All sheets are exceptionally clear, opaque and in register.
32-030 - What You Get
The first sheet we will go over is 32-030 - VF-154 BLACK KNIGHTS - USN F-4J Phantoms in the Vietnam War & the Cold War
This sheet covers one Navy fighter squadron - VF-154 Black Knights - when they operated the F-4J Phantom in the 1970's. This set has options for 4 VF-154 Navy schemes:
- USS Ranger [Vietnam] (1970-71) - standard scheme
- USS Ranger [Vietnam] (1972-73) - CAG
- NAS Miramar (1977-78) - CAG scheme
- USS Ranger [Vietnam] (1972-73) standard scheme
The decals themselves are extremely colorful, and include complete and detailed instructions on placement.
The detail and in depth of coverage provided by AOA is wonderful and the markings and instructions are about second to none.
The decals are very opaque yet thin and the artwork is very clearly legible under magnification. The printing is in perfect register and very bright. The decals themselves are extremely colorful and provide 4 very attractive schemes. The very complete placement guide provided by AOA is also very welcome, and goes into great depth about where things go, as well as the differences between each scheme and the year it flew. The carrier film is so thin as to be almost imperceptible, and significant effort is needed to even see it on the sheet.
32-032 - What You Get
The next sheet we will go over is 32-032: VMFA-323 DEATH RATTLERS - USMC F-4B Phantoms in the Vietnam War
This limited 1/32 decal sheet is for F-4B Phantom conversions to the Tamiya F-4 Phantom series of kits.
This release is for decals only - F-4B conversion parts are NOT included. Various aftermarket F-4B conversion sets are available; including GT Resin, Cutting Edge, CAM, and RealModel.
This sheet covers one Marine fighter attack squadron - VMFA-323 Death Rattlers - when they operated the F-4B Phantom in the Vietnam War at Chu Lai Air Base. Three options are provided covering 1967 and 1968 period, with an additional set of crew names provided to also depict one at a slightly earlier time. Also provided are decals for the crew helmets.
- 2258 VMFA-323 Chu-Lai AB [Vietnam] 1967
- 0476 VMFA-323 Chu-Lai AB [Vietnam] 1967
- 1422 VMFA-323 Chu-Lai AB [Vietnam] 1968
The AOA stencil and placard details and descriptions here are excellent and you never have to guess where things go. A complete hi-viz stencil set is included. The placement guides are very welcome and extremely detailed.
The VMFA-323 Death Rattlers set is very colorful and like the other sets is in perfect register. The crisp lines and colors along with the near invisible carrier makes these some of the best looking decals I've seen:
The detail and clarity of these decals really does need to be appreciated in person:
32-033 - What You Get
The next sheet we will go over is 32-033 - VMFA-232 RED DEVILS - USMC F-4J Phantoms in the Vietnam War.
This AOA decal sheet covers F-4J schemes with a complete set of stencils to cover one complete airframe.
This limited 1/32 decal sheet covers one Marine fighter attack squadron - VMFA-232 Red Devils - in the Vietnam War. Two options are provided, one from their first F-4 Vietnam deployment in 1969-70 and the second from their later return in 1972-73.
- 5795 VMFA-232 Chu-Lai AB [S Vietnam] 1969 - [MCAS Iwakuni Japan] 1969/70
- 3833 VMFA-232 Da Nang AB [S Vietnam] 1972 - Nam Phong AB [Thailand] 1972/73
Once again, the details AOA provides with each decal set are extraordinary, down to handy color recommendations for each scheme.
The OAO VMFA-232 set of F-4 decals is also in perfect register and very clean and crisp in appearance. The sharp detailed appearance of both the early and late style Red Devils insignias are impressive and very attractive on the sheet. Both the earlier and later "red devil" diamond-shaped squadron insignias are accurately represented. The carrier film on this sheet is also nearly invisible:
32-034 - What You Get
The last sheet we will go over is 32-034 -VMFA-212 LANCERS - USMC F-4J Phantom in the Vietnam War.
This limited 1/32 decal sheet covers one F-4J Phantom as she appeared in 1972 in Da Nang, South Vietnam, and MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
- 3813 VMFA-212 Da Nang AB [S Vietnam] 1972 - MCAS Kaneohe Bay [Hawaii] 1972
AOA has done a wonderful job in selecting subjects for their decal sets. This set like the others is vivid, in register and crisp looking. Once again AOA has gone into thorough detail, including pylon decal placement.
This last AOA set for VMFA-212 is very well done just like the others. The blue is very eye catching, and with the superlative detail and clarity of the decals, this sheet would make a very attractive model indeed.
32-031 - Phantom Airframe Data
Included with the above 32-032 / 32-033 / 32-034 F-4 decals sets, AOA includes a full set of F-4 airframe data stencil decals, set # 32-031. This set is very complete, and makes a welcome addition to any scheme requiring full data stencils, as there are a lot of stencils on a factory F-4 Phantom.
This airframe stencil sheet contains 1 full airframe set complete with placement diagrams:
The stencil set itself is exactly what you would expect; complete, well researched(to the best of my scant Phantom knowledge) clear and in perfect register. The stencil carrier film is also nearly invisible, and the decals remain clear and legible looking even under a macro lens:
If you are planning on building one of Tamiya's venerable 1/32nd F-4 kits, there are enough colorful and well documented schemes in these four sets that most any modeler who loves the F-4 can find something that appeals to them. The decals overall are about as well done and professional looking as you could expect.
These AOA sheets are a significant improvement over Tamiya's OOB decals, and are well worth the price. There are a wide variety of schemes to choose from with these four USN/USMC sheets and all come with complete documentation and instructions for application. The instructions and documentation alone make these some of best decals I have seen come out for the Tamiya kit in quite some time.
These F-4 decal sets from AOA are everything you look for in after market decals: clear, precise, opaque and in perfect register with full documentation and decal placement guides to go with it. HIGHLY recommended!
32-030 - VF-154 Black Knights - USN F-4J Phantoms in the Vietnam War & the Cold War (FREE shipping within US)
32-031 - Phantom Airframe Data (Stencil Type) - F-4B & F-4J Panels & Markings (FREE shipping within US)
32-032 - VMFA-323 Death Rattlers - USMC F-4B Phantoms in the Vietnam War (FREE shipping within US)
32-033 - VMFA-232 Red Devils - USMC F-4J Phantoms in the Vietnam War (FREE shipping within US)
32-034 - VMFA-212 Lancers - USMC F-4J Phantom in the Vietnam War (FREE shipping within US)
Thank you to Steve at AOA Decals for the review sample.
© Brian Leitch 2019
This review was published on Wednesday, April 10 2019; Last modified on Thursday, April 11 2019