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VX-23 Salty Dogs
Test Super Hornets

Fightertown Decals, 1/48 scale


Catalogue Number:

Fightertown Decals AD 48-018 - VX-23 Salty Dogs Test Super Hornets



Contents and Media:

Waterslide decals plus instructions and notes


USD$16.00 available online from Fightertown Decals

Review Type:



Comprehensive sheet; interesting mix of high and low visibility markings; outstanding support material; stencil markings a'plenty.




Superbly printed decals with comprehensive and well researched supporting information to give you real value for money

Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron




FTD48-018 from Fightertown Decals is a busy sheet to say the least!

The sheet provides comprehensive markings for F-18 Super Hornets of Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Twenty Three (VX-23), ‘Salty Dogs’, a U.S. Navy Air Test and Evaluation Squadron based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland on the east coast of the United States.  The squadron is tasked with the conduct of research, testing and evaluation of fixed wing tactical aircraft.


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The sheet provides markings for three machines in all:

  • F-18E, Bureau Number165537 modex 400 as it appeared between early 2003 and late 2004.  The aircraft is in the standard tactical paint scheme (TPS) worn by Super hornets comprising of federal standard 36320 dark ghost grey upper surfaces over federal standard 36375 light ghost grey lower surfaces and vertical stabilisers.  Her markings are all in lo-viz greys and blacks with her vertical stabilisers wearing the unit insignia comprising of a lightning bolt with a jet aircraft diving through it trailing a white jet stream as well as the SD air wing indicator.  Her rudders are also striped.  What does make her stand out from the fleet Super Hornets is all of the black and white E10 photographic target markings that seemingly infest her airframe and you need to take particular care in the application of these as they are canted at various angles.  The aircraft is somewhat different from standard fleet Super Hornets too in that it does not have the IFF (indication Friend or Foe) “pizza box” fitted to the top of the nose and also sports the regular style ECS (environmental control system) vents as well as several camera fairings.
  • F-18F Bureau Number 166658 modex 122 from September 2005.   This option is in the same TPS and lo-viz markings scheme as the previous one but lack all of the E10 photographic target markings.  Other differences include the appearance of the “pizza box” on the nose as well as the newer style ‘bard stack’ ECS pipes.  The machine also carries ARDS pods (Advanced Range Data System) as well as a mixture of black composite and grey fuel tanks.  A striking looking machine and for those who are scared of all those E10 photographic target markings!
  • F-18F Bureau Number 166812 modex 123 between November 2007 and mid 2008.   This option is in standard TPS but wears hi-viz unit markings comprising blue vertical stabilisers with red and white striped rudders that bear the unit insignia in red and white as well as white SD air wing indicators with this red edging. Markings include red/white/blue tails.  All of her squadron applied markings are also in blue with the same thin red edging.

The placement guides/information sheets that come with Fightertown Decals sheets are their hallmark.  The two that accompany this sheet are no exception.  They are crammed full of additional information on each option and colour images (of the camera fairings as well as ejector seats and undercarriage legs) as well as left and right hand side profiles of each option.

The decals themselves have been printed by Cartograph.  There are two good sized sheets as well as two smaller sheets, one carrying two sets of slime lights and the other a pair of lo-viz rudder stripes and a chine walkway (this sheet is printed by Microscale).  Stencil data abounds and judging by the fact that there are two sets of slime lights as well as two sets of national insignia, I’d say that you can build two machines from the sheet.  The decals are sized for the Hasegawa kits.



The two placement guides/information sheets and the four decals come packed in a clear plastic zip-loc bag.

As always with any of the Fightertown Decals sheets that I have seen, this one provides you with first rate decals as well as first rate support material that will enable you to model an up to date Super Hornet without recourse to any other reference material.

Thanks to Fightertown Decals for the sample

Review Copyright 2009 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 13 April, 2009
Last updated 13 April, 2009

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