Tail Codes for WWII Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft

Published on
October 4, 2011
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
YELLOW: AOD48C20m , RED: AOD48C21m
Company: Aviaeology - Website: Visit Site
Reviewed decals

Tail code markings for the Imperial Japanese Navy in WWII are some of the more difficult things for a modeler to replicate accurately. Aviaeology has come to our rescue!

A few years back, I saw that Aviaeology had issued some WWII Japanese tail markings. I was excited at the prospect, but waited too long to order them, and missed out on the offering. They were sold out before I could see what they were like. Aviaeology has reissued their series of IJN Tail Code markings, and has made some improvements in the process. This review is for their RED and YELLOW 280mm markings, but they also sell markings in White and Black. The 280mm refers to the size of the tail markings on the actual aircraft – in this case the markings are scaled down to 1/48 and are about 6mm.

Aviaeology’s reissue of these tail codes has also allowed them to change the way they produce the decals. This re-release features decals which are screen-printed, where the first release were made from the “Digital-Silk” (industrial ink-jet) production. The small “m” after the stock number notes that the decals have been modified to accommodate this new process, and if one looks at the decal sheet itself, you can see that each individual character is its own decal – not one large sheet as was the case in the past.

What you get

Each decal sheet comes in the clear zipper bag we have come to expect with decals. Inside is a two page set of directions, references, and modeling notes. Pay attention here, as there are very well laid out steps to get the best results!

While it is impossible to say that these decals will fit every Japanese Navy WWII subject in 1/48 scale, Aviaeology has offered some great suggestions on how to make these work with different styles and shapes with little work. These decals are mainly intended for single engine aircraft in 1/48, but are certainly not limited to those. These decals are also useful for the larger WWII Japanese bombers in 1/72, or any 1/72 aircraft which required the larger tail codes.

Each of these decal sheets is packed with markings and has over 400 individual letters and numbers, as well as the kanji characters which are so difficult to replicate.

The RED sheet (AOD48C21m) contains eight sets of the roman markings (A-Z) as well as the numbers 0-9. This sheet also contains four rows of just numbers, in slightly different styles. The gem here is that it also contains several styles of kanji markings for different units and air bases.

The YELLOW sheet (AOD48C20m) also contains roman markings (A-Z) and numbers 0-9 – there are four sets of these, as well as several rows of just numbers. This sheet contains even more kanji characters from many different units and airbases. Many of these characters are impossible to re-create unless you want to hand paint the markings on. Check out the images for a better idea what I am talking about.

As with any modeling project – check your references for which markings you require.

If you’re a fan of WWII Japanese aircraft – look no further – you NEED to get these decals! I highly recommend these to anyone building WWII Japanese Naval aircraft.

Check out Aviaeology’s eBay store for the full line of markings – Red, Yellow, Black, and White in 1/72 and 1/48.

A special thank you to Aviaeology for providing this review sample and reissuing these great decals.


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