YF-23 - Markings for Both Prototypes
Hobbyboss released the YF-23 Black Widow kit in 1/48th scale to some fanfare. It is a great kit of a unique subject. IPMS was lucky enough to review it while the kit is great, the decals leave a lot to be desired as far as accuracy. The wing warning labels are black, the tile grids by the intakes are missing and the tail markings are more for a fictitious active fighter. There are also miscellaneous badges missing as well as only having markings for the gray version. The black PAV1 version which briefly wore the red black widow hourglass was not represented at all. Never fear, Kursad Albayraktar and Caracal Models to the rescue with set 48048 which represents both YF-23 prototypes.
Inside the pouch is a beautifully printed sheet by Cartograf covering both aircraft and with enough decals to build both PAV-1 and PAV-2. Also, they are well researched and accurate for both planes and there is a full page of color instructions showing the location of the decals. TAC badges are included and the tile grid near the intake is replicated in gold outline. There are also full markings for PAV-1 in blak with the widow marking.
The proof of their decals is in the application and they do not disappoint. I had already painted the kit in the markings for PAV-2 so I went with the color. The decal are sharp and well printed and apply well with the standard Microset/Microsol system. There was no silvering noted and they snuggled down without effort. As you can see by the difference in the kit build and this version, the wings look much better without the black No Step Markings which were way too large in the kit. The kit also missed a black marking which is obvious right behind the cockpit. The ATF bands were also added and correct. There are also paint call outs with FS numbers on the instructions. A flat coat and we're done. I decided against weathering as these were babied during their lives in the attempt to sell the plane.
I must say that this set is beyond recommended, it is a requirement for those building the kit. While the kit decals apply well, they are wrong. These decals apply perfectly, are accurate and give you the chance to build the PAV Black Widow version. If you have this kit, buy these decals now.
My thanks to Caracal Models and IPMS/USA for he chance to opportunity to review them.