Orion Decals: F/A-18D VMFA(AW)-225 “Vikings”

Review by Bob Hester

Made By: Orion Model Accessories
402 Tremont Ave. Greensburg, PA 15601
Telephone: (724) 836-5902
E-Mail: orionmodels@aol.com
Website: http://www.geocities.com/orionmodels/

ItemNumber: ORD48000, ORD72000
Scale: 1/48, 1/72
Price: $9.50 (1/48) and $ 6.50 (1/72)

I recently built Hasegawa’s Limited Edition 1/48 F/A-18D of VMFA(AW)-225 (Kit. # 09389). Wanting to do the kit justice, I did some research on the Internet and learned that the decals that come with the kit are not entirely accurate. I also discovered Orion Models of Pittsburgh, PA.

Operated by Dave Roof, a Staff NCO in the United States Marine Corps, Orion offers two F-18 decal sets – the “Vikings”, and a set for a Kuwaiti F/A-18C/D. A future release is coming for F/A-18E’s of VFA-115 “Black Tail” aircraft (the CO’s and XO’s birds), and the standard Grey markings with all of the squadrons Buno’s and modexes. Markings for two VFA-122 aircraft will also be included.

Based on dozens of photographs of the actual aircraft (taken by Dave himself) and printed by Micro Scale, the VMFA(AW)-225 set sports the colorful “Viking” artwork on the fuselage and tail, and provides accurate national insignia, unit markings (correct BuNo and Modex) and stencils (including stencils for the ejection seats!).

The artwork is crisp and perfectly in register, with a thin carrier film which holds up well to setting solvents. I applied the decals over a couple of light coats of (what else?) Future. I used a 50% solution of Solvaset and distilled water to coax the decals into some complex spots and tight panel lines. Succumbing to temptation, I even used straight Solvaset on a couple of really stubborn areas – with no distortion or wrinkling of the decals once dry.

Detailed instructions provided with the set include 4-way views of the schema, placement information, and even photos of the actual aircraft. There are also construction notes for the Hasegawa kit, such as corrections for certain kit parts (which ones to use, or not to use, size corrections, etc.). Two additional small sheets containing corrected engine intake and ejection seat markings were provided as the original run was determined to be slightly incorrect to scale.

Orion Decals clearly demonstrates its commitment to detail, accuracy, and quality with this offering and I heartily recommend it to anyone who wishes to build an accurate and distinctive F/A-18D.