Sunday, May 30

Decal Review: Hellenic Air Force Vipers Part I: F-16C/D Block 52+ & block 52M in Greek service from Zeus Projects

Gay wickham is always interested in looking at new 48th scale decal projects, so when this attractive new sheet came to him from Zeus Projects he was all in! Today he looks at the decals & describes what is included in the 16-page booklet that accompanies it in his review...

Decal Review: Hellenic Air Force Vipers Part 1: F-16C/D Block 52+ & block 52M in Greek service
Designed by Zeus Projects
Printed by Cartograf
1/48th scale
Designed to be used with the Tamiya kits but can be used for any other kit with minor modifications.
 Included in this set are:
- Standard as well as “worn” markings
- Canopy frame stencils (x2)
- Full cockpit and wheel bay stencils
- Squadrons’ tail ribbons & features
- Carbon fibre exhaust nozzle & ring stencils (2 versions)
-16-page walkaround photo guide inc. cockpit and landing gear details, wings, exhausts nozzle, etc.
Price: €20.90
Product Link on or
Following on from TMN's detailed preview of the new Zeus Projects 1:48 Hellenic AF F-16 Vipers decal set, I now have been provided with a copy of this comprehensive decal set for a more hands on review.
Greece has in its air arsenal about 70 F-16s, BLOCK 30 and BLOCK 50. In 1989 Greece purchased 40 BLOCK 30 under the Arms Programme "Peace Xenia I" and in 1997 40 additional BLOCK 50 aircraft were delivered to Greece as part of "Peace Xenia II".
In June 2000, another 50 F-16 Block 52+ fighters were ordered with an option for ten more, which was exercised in September 2001 under the "Peace Xenia III" program. The HAF was the first air arm in the world to operate this particular Block of the F-16. The final Greek F-16 acquisition program, "Peace Xenia IV"", was signed in April 2002. Another 30 F-16s were ordered, all F-16 Block 52+ Advanced variants, which were subsequently named by HAF as Block 52M. It is these latest Block 52+ and 52M aircraft that the Zeus Projects decal sheet covers.

The examples covered in this sheet are extensive, with markings for Squadrons in the Greek Airforce:
337 “Ghost”, 
340 “Fox”, 
343 “Star”, 
335 “Tiger” 
336 “Olympus”
All the Hellenic F-16s wear the "Aegean Ghost" camouflage scheme, however the scheme appears quite different between blocks due to age, weathering, maintenance interventions and RAM coatings.
Included in the 16 page color booklet are four pages dedicated to close up (interior and exterior) walkaround style details. The A4 page size means that even with so many photos on each page the details are still large enough to be of value to the modeller. 
If you really want the ultimate reference for Greek F-16's then consider purchasing the excellent Viper Under the Skin F-16 Fighting Falcon by Eagle Aviation
I really like the attention to detail Zeus Projects provides with the addition of copious notes within the decal placement drawings regarding various options and specific adjustments needed for certain aircraft. One example of going the extra mile is by providing two versions of the carbon fibre weave decals for the exhaust petals. The first is opaque whilst the second is transparent, allowing the modeller to pre-paint the exhaust as desired. Another example is the inclusion of faded versions of the ejection seat triangle warning placards. These are features you just don't get with kit decals !!
I could find no mention of which F-16 kit these decals were designed for but the obvious choice would be either Tamiya or Hasegawa. The Greek F-16s are all fitted with the drag chute housing at the base of the vertical tail so if you plan to use the Tamiya F-16C kit then you will need to source one and Wolfpack comes to the rescue here with set WP48023. You will also need to provide your own CFT's (Conformal Fuel Tanks) and there are a couple of resin options available for the Tamiya kit. To build any of the two-seat D aircraft you will need to use the Hasegawa kit (as Tamiya has not done a two-seater, yet). In the past Hasegawa have released several limited edition boxings of F-16D 52's (including the HAF ready 09803 boxing).
The actual decal sheet is large, consuming every millimeter of an A4 page. As you can see it is jam packed with multiple copies of every marking and stenciling you will find on HAF jets. With careful choices it looks to be possible to build multiple models from the sheet, which results in much better value for your money. It's worth mentioning that this sheet is entitled "Part 1" so a betting man would assume a Part 2 is in the works possibly covering early HAF jets. The sheet is printed by Cartograf and whilst I did not conduct a hands-on test the printing and clarity of the decals looked first class.
Speaking of Cartograf quality, even when you zoom right in the smallest of stencils are comfortably readable (even for my aging eyes). A quick scan of the sheet did not reveal any amusing mis-spellings or errors that tend to plague some kit manufacturers these days. Full marks go to the team at Zeus for ensuring quality assurance before sending to print.

Four examples below shown with a (normal 1/1 scale) match for comparison
Considering this is the very first decal sheet (48001) released by Zeus Projects I'm very impressed with the amount of work that has so obviously been poured into the research and preparation of both the decals and the accompanying booklet. If you have been wanting the ultimate decal sheet for modern 1:48 Greek F-16's then your wait is over. 

Gary Wickham

Hellenic Air Force Vipers Part 1 - 1:48 decals for F-16C/D Block 52+ and block 52M in Greek service is Shipping now. Thanks for sending this sheet to Gary to review.
This sheet is only available at or