Caracal Models has created an excellent decal set featuring numerous colorful US Navy schemes for Trumpeter's HU-16A Albatoss kit. This decal set also address the biggest deficiency in the Trumpeter kit, the absence of walkway decals. The three decal sheets included in the set are printed by Cartograf, and are accompanied by a color glossy eight-page placement and painting guide. Suggested paints are given in FS numbers. The decal colors are opaque and appear to match the FS equivalents accurately when compared to fan deck chips. The decals are just thick enough, going on easily without tearing and hugging down to the surface quite nicely using Microscale setting solutions. All marking were in perfect registration.
Six different marking options are provided, but there are only enough national insignia and stencils for one aircraft. Then again, do you really want more than one Albatross in your collection? I chose to do the SAR version from NAS Whidbey, UF-1 BUNO 131898. All of the markings match what I found on reference photos, with one exception. My version called for the white-bordered fuselage insignia below the cockpit. The insignia look a little oversized, but they are the only white-bordered one included, so I do not think I used the wrong ones. The rescue cut marks are provided as individual corners with four per window. I may have had better results placing the corner cut marks around the windows if they had been on a ring of clear carrier film. Printing the cut marks in this manner may have taken up too much room on the sheets, however, I don’t mind spending additional time tweaking the individual corner cut marks into position if it means having more decal options on the sheet.
I am delighted with the results, and I highly recommend this sheet to anyone who wishes to brighten up their collection. The Albatross is quite elegant next to my yellow-wing PBYs.
Thank you to the wonderful folks at Caracal Models for providing a superb aftermarket decal set for a great new kit from Trumpeter, and to the seldom recognized but greatly appreciated, IPMS/USA Reviewer Corps for offering me a chance to review the decals. Thanks for letting me be a part of the team!