Bright Viking

My Favorite "Bright" Viking

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Some folks prefer their Navy jets in the low-viz TPS scheme and markings. Others prefer somewhat more vivid colors. It’s pretty obvious I really like the " bright" commemorative schemes–and this on is is by far my favorite S-3 scheme of all time.

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S-3B Viking, BuNo 160604, VS-21 Decommissioning Scheme


To me, this is the coolest Viking scheme ever! Unfortunately, it was painted in honor of the VS-21 (Sea Control Squadron 21) “Red Tails” decommissioning, and luckily she was put on inside display at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, AZ (colocated with Davis-Monthan AFB). According to our fellow modeler Eric Strohmeyer, her paint scheme is in pretty good condition so she probably didn’t sit in the blazing desert sun for too long before being "rescued."

The VS-21 Red Tails were decommissioned at NAF Atsugi, Japan, at the end of February, 2005, bringing to an end 60 years of unit history that began with Torpedo Squadron 41 (VT-41) in 1945. Their final sea deployment was aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63). Back in 1946 they were assigned the tail code “BS” and “Beef Steak” remained their call sign right through to decommissioning. In fact, some unit members wanted this bird painted with the original “BS” tail code for the decommissioning ceremony, but the current “NK” was finally decided upon.

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For their decommissioning, VS-21 skipper CDR David Mayo and exec CDR Paul Foster asked an artist to paint a WW II-style nose art on each side of the nose of a bird selected to receive the scheme (Modex 710). CDR Foster gave the artist the information and images needed to create the nose art, which was hand painted on BOTH sides of the nose. There are slight variations between the sides.

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The Bugs Bunny on the port fin springs from the 1940s era squadron badge, which was Bugs with a carrot in one hand and a torpedo in the other. Although not a direct copy of the original art, Bugs is represented on this jet’s fin in all his insouciance!

This Viking was given completely new paint before the artist began work. It took the unit’s corrosion control guys, led by Mark “Mobboss” Lupo, about a week to do, and began with sanding the entire surface of the jet (sounds like a modeling project!). Interestingly, the topside dark blue (FS 15044) was sprayed first, then the light gray (FS 36320) was added. Finally, the nose and tail art was added.

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When originally rolled out, only a very small “NF” tail code was applied, and only to the starboard side of the fin (Bugs was on the port side). Later, the definitive, much larger “NF” was applied. We provide both versions on our decal set.

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Although not particularly visible in many photos of this bird, there was a black cheat line applied between the dark blue and medium gray painted areas. This cheat line runs all the way from the nose to the aft tip of the fuselage.

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The wing top and bottom are medium gray, with only the fin tip radomes in dark blue (note the red “R” and reference line were applied at AMARC and were NOT on the bird during squadron service). The dark blue on the top of the fuselage wraps around the wing fillet, along the panel lines.

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Although originally flown with plain medium gray drop tanks, a beautiful dark blue lightning bolt with a white outline was soon applied to both sides of both drop tanks. This can be seen in the photo at the header of this page. Given the practical impossibility of precisely matching model paint to decal ink colors, we provide BlackMagic(tm) precut painting masks for these lightning bolts, and white decals for the outline. One other minor problem is that the ESCI/AMT kit does not actually include any drop tanks! On the other hand, if you scrounge some up, we’ve got you covered on the markings!

We obtained quite a few photos of this bird from both its time in Japan and after it was delivered to the boneyard (AMARC). Some storage markings were painted on at AMARC, and we have obviously omitted them from our PYN-up Decal set.

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Special thanks to Mark Lupo & Mike Lampros!

Here are a couple of links to websites that have some additional information and photos of this bird:

(OK, I’m gonna to brag a bit here . . . ) Here are just a FEW of the MANY compliments we’ve received on PYN-up Decals!

Wow! I saw the PYN-up Decals mentioned in a magazine ad and on the internet. The review didn’t even come close to showing the true beauty of these masterpieces! I’m stunned that they really are the best decals ever. Thanks so much for creating them.

Markus Simmons

Today I received my order of two sheets of the PYN-up Decals number 72005, Bomber Babes part 1. I was expecting decals of a good quality, with good resolution. What I received was much better than I would have ever hoped for! Thanks again.

Tom Reimer

I think your PYN-up product line is fantastic! I’m certain I’ve purchased nearly one set for each A/C type covered in 1/48.

Sean Cumiskey

My order on the PYN-Up decals arrived today here in Helsinki, Finland. My first impression was WOW! These are absolutely the finest decals I have ever seen. Ten points! Keep up doing the good work. The decals were expensive, but well worth the investment. It is unfortunate there are few handsome nude dude nose-arts available for the sake of equality, but the print quality of the girlies was excellent!

Susanna Viljanen


A few of my 1/48 PYN-up Decals for this bird are still available:

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PYN-up Decals Voluptuous S-3B Viking Part 1. This is the coolest Viking scheme ever! Unfortunately, it was painted in honor of the VS-21 (Sea Control Squadron 21) "Red Tails" decommissioning, and the bird is now sitting, mothballed, in the Arizona desert at Davis-Monthan AFB. The VS-21 Red Tails were decommissioned at NAF Atsugi, Japan, at the end of February, 2005, bringing to an end 60 years of unit history that began with Torpedo Squadron 41 (VT-41) in 1945. Their final sea deployment was aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63).

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The actual decal sheets look like this:


 

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