Decal Preview: Red Gecko Productions Fire Tankers Nos. 1 & 2

Randie Coulter sent in this decal review- thanks Randie!

What does Red Gecko Productions and Lone Star Models have in common? They both come from ‘The Resin Prince of Sugar Land, Texas’, Mike West.

Many of you are familiar with Mike’s resin products (and NO! He doesn’t just do fire bomber conversions). He has a lot of items that improve upon existing kits as well as some full blown kits of aircraft that the mainstream companies won’t touch. But, not all of you know that Mike has also started a decal company and I have in my hands, the first 4 sheets of Red Gecko Productions.

As many of you know, I am a self-proclaimed, certifiable fire bomber nut and these first releases are right up my alley!

Sheet #RG-001.48 is a big sheet. You have the option to build one of the three different schemes, worn by the OV-10A’s, of the C.D.F. (California Division of Forestry) over the years (with a little work and some creative masking, you could do all three), as well as three different TBM-3’s, a T-28 and two A-26’s. This is a total of seven different aircraft off of one sheet!

Upon donning the optivisor, what really impressed me about this sheet is the data that is also included. Empty and gross weight information, the restricted placards and even the names in script of all of the air attack bases in California and the propeller logos for the OV-10’s! What is hard to see on the scan is all of the white numbers, for doing just any of the OV-10’s. The only thing missing is the ‘Cal Fire’ script for the bottom side of the horizontal stabilizer and the unit numbers for the upper starboard and lower port wings for the newest scheme.

Everything is in register and they give you the option of using your own shade of green on the early C.D.F. logo.

Next, for those of you who kick yourself daily for not buying the Aeromaster sheet when it was available, you are going to like sheet #RG-002.48. This is another big sheet!

What can I say? This sheet looks great! Registration is spot on and, if my calculations are correct, you can build two TBM, Inc., three Sis-Q Flying Service and one S.V. Flying Service Tigercat’s from this one sheet.

The only thing that I question with this sheet is on the last page of the instructions. It is stated that the TBM Cats used both tanks, the 800 and 1,000 gallon variety’s and that the Sis-Q planes used the 1,000 gallon tank throughout their career. Having worked around the TBM Cat’s in the late 60′ and early ’70’s, and with all of the pictures that I have access to, I have never seen the small tank on the TBM planes. By the same token, I have pictures of the Sis-Q planes with both size tanks. So, this just goes to show that even with something such as fire bombers….. research the particular plane you intend to model. And, I will also say that I am not above retracting that statement if the researcher will show me the pictures. In fact, if they do exist I would be interested in using them on the Scale Firebomber site.

Other than that minor glitch? I give this sheet an A-1 rating.

Onto sheet #RG-003.72 which is basically a 1/72 scale clone of #RG-001.48 with a minor difference. So I won’t go into all the gory details. I will say that everything that was there for the OV-10’s? Is here, for the OV-10’s.

The minor difference with this sheet is that the two A-26’s and the T-28 were removed and an S-2 of the C.D.F. was added. As with the 1/48 scale set, the ‘Cal Fire’ logo for the underside of the horizontal tail and the two wing numbers aren’t here. Other than that, everything is in register and looks to be two thumbs up! There is even the ‘Ukiah Air Attack’ script for the top of the tail on the S-2.

Last, but not least, is sheet #RG00-4.72. This sheet includes the two A-26’s, the T-28 and the F7F’s in 1/72 scale. Again, I’ll spare you all the details as the aircraft covered here are basically the same as on the 1/48 scale sheet, with the exception of one of the TBM, Inc. and one Sis-Q Tigercat is not present in this scale.

I give these decals 10/10! For anyone who wants to add a whole fleet of fire bombers and lead aircraft to their collection? These decals are the way to go.

These sets are available now from Lone Star Models at http://lonestarmodels.com/ for $8.50 for the 1/72 sheets and  $12.00 for the 1/48.

I want to thank Mike West for the review samples.