1976 - In July 1976 President Gerald Ford was sporting his WIN (Whip Inflation Now) button and New York City was preparing for the parade of the tall ships. It was the bicentennial of the United States and the country was ready to celebrate 200 years of existence. For the US Navy the Big E CVN-65 was still the big kid on the block as the Nimitz and Eisenhower were just coming on line. In 1976 to 1977 Carrier Air Wing 14 CVW14 was assigned to the USS Enterprise.
The 1970s were the height of disco with glittering illuminated balls decorating many night spots. It was also the era of the peak of high visibility markings (HI-VIZ) for the carrier aircraft of the USN. No aspiring John Travolta could sport a more peacock attire than the brilliant plumage carried by the carrier birds. The Enterprise carried a wide variety of different aircraft and all of the squadrons seemed to be trying to out do the others in the color and prominence of their markings. Now you can leave your dreary film noir low visibility (LO-VIZ) environment and see aircraft in the manner they were meant to be, in Technicolor splendor. Through the new French firm of Redux you can clothe your 1:350 scale Tomcats, Vigilantes, Corsairs, Intruders, Prowlers, Sea Kings and Whale in coats of many colors. Redux has produced an absolutely splendid two sheet set of decals for CVW14 for USS Enterprise 1976-1977. Here are those Redux decals with additional photographs for comparison of those markings with photographs from the USS Enterprise Cruise book 1976-1977 (not included with decal set).
The Big E carried two fighter squadrons. The F14A was the new, hot fighter as the venerable Phantom had been replaced. Fighter Squadron 1, VF1 Wolfpack certainly stood out in bright reds and yellow. Redux supplies markings for six Tomcats of the Wolfpack. This does not cover every aircraft in the squadron but the quantity provided with each squadron is more than enough to populate a carrier deck in a riot of color.
The Bounty Hunters were Fighter Squadron 2 VF2. Decked out in a more formal black and yellow motif than their more gaudy compatriots of VF1, the Bounty Hunters were just right for greeting visitors that came calling to see the Big E. As with VF1 Redux provides markings for six Bounty Hunters.
Attack Squadron 27 VA27, was one of two squadrons flying the A7 Corsair II off of Enterprise in 1976. The Royal Maces were even more colorful as the CAG had his personal bird sporty Royal Mace markings. There are eight sets of markings for the Royal Maces, CAG 400, Squadron commander 401 and six rank and file aircraft.
The other A7 squadron was Attack Squadron 97 VA97 Warhawks. Although six aircraft numbers are provided, there are three different styles of tail markings for the squadron. Two are very colorful CAG bird markings, three are for special bicentennial markings with red, white and blue stripping surrounding the light blue tail triangle and four standard tail triangles.
For your Flight of the Intruder, Attack Squadron 196 VA196 Main Battery flew the A6 Intruder from the deck of the Big E. You can mark up seven Intruders in four different styles. A CAG bird comes with two variants of tails. Two sets of tail markings with very prominent black triangle with spade in an orange field are provided for the KA6-6D. Plus there are six sets for the conventionally marked squadron aircraft.
The EA6-B Prowlers of Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 134, VAQ134 Garudas have enough markings for four aircraft. Although there are six sets of tail markings, there are only four sets of numbers, 620, 621, 622 and 623.
For anti-submarine work, you can go fixed wing or rotary wing. Redux provides decals for the S3-A Vikings of VS29 with three different styles of tail markings. One is for the CAG with a rainbow sail on the Viking ship on the tail, one is the bicentennial 13-star American flag as the Viking ship sail and four are the standard yellow and white sails on the ship.
The EA-3B Whale of VQ1 Batmen will be ready to launch with this full set of markings. Bird 004 will more than live up to their fine bat tradition with three bat emblems for the Whale and more individual decals devoted to this one aircraft than any other on the two sheets. With markings for the Whale and Vigilantes, you'll get both of the heavy USN jet aircraft originally designed for nuclear attack, which were converted to reconnaissance missions when their original mission didn't pan out.
For the heavy reconnaissance Vigilantes of RVAH1 Smokin Tigers, Redux provides four different tail markings, ten cigar chomping tiger emblems and a host of other markings found on these atomic bombers turned reconnaissance aircraft.
Unglamorous, the slow propeller driven E2-B Hawkeyes of Early Warning Squadron 113 VAW113 Black Hawks provide critical coverage in preventing the Big E from being ambushed. There are markings for five of these big birds with prominent dark gray panels on their upper surfaces.
Whether it is rotary wing anti-submarine mission or a Search and Rescue SAR mission for a downed pilot, the SH-3D Sea King helicopters of Helicopter Squadron HS2 Golden Falcons are your "Go To Guys". With prominent American flags you get markings for three helicopters.
Also included separate from some squadron markings sections, the wing and fuselage markings and other markings are included in other, stand alone sections. The instructions have French text but the full color plan and profiles of each aircraft type are more than sufficient to show the locations for the different markings.
This decal set is big, bold and spectacular in every measure. Superb production values, with great quantity and magnificent quality the Redux two sheet decal set for Carrier Air Wing Fourteen CAW14 USS Enterprise in 1:350 scale is a work of glorious detail and color. Since the 1976 Enterprise still had the bee hive island, rather than the modernized island of the Tamiya 1:350 scale Enterprise kit, it is time to start a "Normandy Campaign" to force Jacques of L'Arsenal to produce at back date set of parts for the Tamiya Big E for the bicentennial Big E with bee hive bouffant. In the meantime you have more than enough plumage for a whole aviary of peacocks. Where can you get this set? Ohh, L'Arsenal, of course.