The Tamiya F-84G, being the current definitive 1/48th scale kit of the subject, is a worthy subject of aftermarket decals. Airway Graphics International has created decals for airliners for a number of years, but this decal set for the Tamiya F-84G is their first venture into decals for military livery.
I don't pretend to be the only one who was interested in building a model of the Thunderbirds 1953-4 mount with the Tamiya F-84G kit. It was safe to say -- at release of Tamiya's kit -- it would only be a matter of time for a manufacturer to release decals for the Thunderbirds livery. However, I didn't expect the decals from a company other than one of the "mainline" names in aircraft decals. Although Airway Graphics may not be a "mainline" name in the traditional sense, their instruction sheet which accompanies this set -- plus a visit to their www.airwaygraphics.com web site -- makes it clear they have been around for some time creating quality decals for those who model airliners.
This decal set for the 48th scale -- Airway Graphics has also released these decals for the 72nd scale Tamiya F-84G -- consists of two decals sheets plus a high-quality four-color instruction sheet. The two sheets include all necessary decals and instructions to model all variations of all aircraft used by the Thunderbirds during their use of the F-84G during the years 1953 and 1954. As the instruction sheet states, "We have provided all the assigned crew names for both seasons in case you decide to build the whole team (you have too much time on your hands ...)." I can't vouch for the accuracy of the statements on the instruction sheet which contains many notes about a variety of details which I have not seen before, but the notes reflect information which makes me conclude the folks at Airway Graphics International did their homework. As well as the expected decals with the colors and scallops for the nose and tanks, and the stars and scallops for the tail surfaces, Airway Graphics also included national insignia and indetia, as these were places somewhat differently than normal on the Thunderbirds planes. Also, the black for antenna on the vertical tail is included on the decal, greatly simplifying painting. Airway Graphics also suggests some options and recommendations about using the decals, for example on the nose, as they suggest painting the red rather than using the furnished decal, and further, indicate the white on their decals is double-printed to ensure opacity over darker colors. There is a very slight misregister of blue/red visible under magnification, and the gothic lettering of pilots' names for the 1954 canopy rails is only very slightly filled in, but they remain readable. Even the tiny lettering of country names under the flags is readable. The quality of the decals and comprehensive instruction notes is accompanied by a bit of humor here and there, including a reference to the flags which are "faithfully reproduced ... exactly as they were on the airplane, errors and all."
Been waiting for T-birds decals for your Plankwing? Here they are! And I suspect you won't be disappointed with these great decals. My thanks to Tom Cleaver -- see his Tamiya model with these decals -- for alerting me to these newly released decals, and to Jennings Heilig at Airway Graphics International for providing these decals for review on this site.
Airway Graphics International sheets AGM8-001 for Tamiya 1/48th scale F-84G Thunderjet.
I do not yet have retail pricing information for this Thunderbirds decal sheet set by Airway Graphics International.