Sunday, November 4, 2012

The air war over Libya, in print and in decals

Sandy is gone, power has been restored, and I'm blogging again!

As John "Hannibal" Smith used to say on The A Team (the original series, not the crappy 2010 re-pop), "I love it when a plan comes together."

And so it is for us modern jet models these last few months. The military action over Libya have given rise to an outstanding new book that you may have missed and an outstanding decal sheet from a new decal manufacturer.

If you were at the IPMS Nats this summer you probably spend at least an hour looking over the books from Casemate Publishing. They had a wide selection of military titles for both the aviation and armor modeler with topics ranging from early medieval history to contemporary  topics. When I got home I was browsing their web site and found a new book on the Libyan air war, Guerre Aerienne En Libye by Jean-Marc Tanguy, available here on the web site.

If you're into modern French aircraft you really need to buy this book. Although it's in French, the photographs alone are worth the price. You'll find pictures of the Rafale B with the GBU-12; the Rafale C configured for reconnaissance operations with the Thales and Damocles pods; more Rafale Cs configured for air-to-ground operations with the GBU-12 and for air-to-air operations with six MICA missiles.

It's interesting to see the Mirage F1 still on frontline duty, also used for reconnaissance (with the Astac pod) and for air-to-ground ops with the GBU-12 and the larger GBU-22. The book also illustrates use of the Mirage 2000, configured in various ways with the Damocles pod, GBU-12, GBU-24, and Magic missile.

Also knew to the market is a new, multi-subject sheet from Combat Decals. It features two A5 decal sheets and markings for eight aircraft that saw action over Libya.

  • An RAF Tornado GR.4 in grey.
  • A Qatari Mirage 2000 5DDA in a two-tone grey scheme.
  • A French Mirage 2000D in the typical wraparound green/grey scheme.
  • A French Rafale B in the standard grey scheme.
  • An RAF Typhoon FGR.4 with some cool mission markings.
  • A CAF CF-188A with mission markings.
  • A Libyan Air Force Mirage F1ED
  • A USAF F-15E from the 48th FW in the typical gunship grey scheme.

I have to admit, I'm a huge fan of decals that offer multiple subjects. (Hell, I'm a fan of all decal sheets!) What sets these decals apart from others is the comprehensive coverage they provide. Stencils are provided for each aircraft and they're extensive! Look for stencils for the pods and pylons for the Tornado, decals for the GBU-12 carried on the Mirage 2000D, two tiny decals for the interior of the Typhoon intake, and decals for the Hornet's false canopy that are pre-cut to fit on and around the nose landing gear. And as you might guess, the instructions are as good as any you'll find from the better 48th scale aftermarket folks such as Afterburner Decals. Truly great stuff.

By the way, Combat Decals is the child of David Little. He started the range earlier this year when he was looking for Kuwaiti markings for a Tucano. He's since worked with John Freeman, who I think did much of the decals for Model Alliance, to produce the artwork for David's first three sheets. If you're a 48th scale modeler, keep an eye on David's site as he hopes to release these decals in your scale next year.

Finally, if you're interested in learning more about the air war over Libya, be sure to check out David Cenciotti's blog, The Aviationist. He provided some great photographic coverage of the aircraft employed in Odyssey Dawn.

Now I have to get building!

Special thanks to Casemate Publishing for the review copy of Guerre Aerienne En Libye.

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