Orion Model Accessories FA-18D Hornet VMFA(AW)-225 USMC
Dave Roof of Orion just sent us a copy of their first decal set. This one features a McDonnell Douglas FA-18D Hornet of USMC All Weather Attack Squadron VMFA(AW)-225, the 'Vikings', based out of MCAS Miramar in southern California. This colorful bird is actually the commander's aircraft as it appeared in 1998. The printing on my example is perfectly in register, and the clear edged border around the markings is very minimal. The decals appear to be very thin, so imagine that a setting solution like MicroSet is about as strong as you'd want to use here.
The decal sheet provides ALL of the markings and stencils that you would need to complete one aircraft, including jacking points, intake warnings, national markings, ejection warning triangles, slime lights, and the standard yellow nosegear door diagram. While not as colorful as some of the special commemorative Hornets out of the RCAF, this aircraft does provide a pleasant alternative to the all-grey schemes that adourn most USN/USMC aircraft today (not counting the numerous iterations of the USN's 'Chippy Ho!').
You may wonder why Orion is issuing FA-18D markings at a time when Hasegawa hasn't had an FA-18D kit out in a while. Well, the good news is that according to the HobbyLink Japan website, Hasegawa is re-releasing the 1/48 FA-18D kit as kit number 09339, while the 1/72 FA-18D is available as kit number 02809 (D9).
Dave is planning a nice variety of FA-18C & FA-18D markings for the future. He will also be offering current markings for a number of other overlooked aircraft such as the S-3B Viking, EA-6B Prowler, F-14D Tomcat, KC-130F Hecules, etc., as well as weapons stencils! Stop off at Orion Model Accessories for a look!
My sincere thanks to Dave at Orion for these review samples.