If you thought that Starfighter Decals had overlooked the first of the super-carriers, you're wrong. By now most modelers know that Starfighter Decals produces the most extensive line if carrier decals in the industry. Starfighter specializes in zeroing in on specific carriers and flight groups for specific years. One of the newest decal sets from Starfighter is #700-43, which is a 1:700 scale sheet for the USS Saratoga CVA-60 1962-84. With a time period that long, the sheet is for the carrier only, as it does not have decals for all of the squadrons carried by the Sara during 20 years of service.
With two decades of service covered in one decal sheet, you could expect variations of the carrier deck markings. For the large flight deck 60 there are two selections. One is a solid number and the other is a white outline number, each of which is in two sizes. For island markings there are also two choices, one is white with black shadowing and the other is solid white. The sheet provides the decals but does not specify the time periods that each variation was worn, so the modeler should do some basic research of the markings worn by the Sara for the time period to be modeled. Since there are plenty of photographs of Saratoga out there, that should not be a problem. A variety of deck lines are found on the sheet. The most prominent are for the angled deck. The centerline has the alternate yellow and white solid line and is flanked on each side by open twin lines. To the inboard side is the thin red and white foul line. The deck forward has its own decorations but they are not as gaudy as those on the angled deck. The longest is a solid thin white propeller take-off centerline. For a dash of color there are a couple of red and white dashed foul lines. One pure Sara marking are two black vertical bars running from deck to stack on both sides of the island.
There are a host of smaller marking with which to festoon your Saratoga. Each of the four elevators are bounded three concentric lines of red and yellow warning stripes. Small squares are provided for electrical hook up positions. The red and yellow warning theme is carried over to outlines of ordnance elevators and completely solid red and yellow stripes over the crash barricade doors. Two sets of depth marking lines are included for each side of the bow and stern. Of course there is the warning sign on the side of the island and stern nameplate. For armament sponsons there are four red warning circles. Four white crosses are provided, whose purpose is somewhat of a mystery. The instructions indicate that they may be helicopter station points. All decals are numbered on the decal sheet. The Instructions not only show the deck plan and island profile in color and indicate decal points, but also the back page list all of the decals on the sheet by number. Just to whet your appetite Starfighter does provide markings for three aircraft. Clearly no self respecting bird farmer can get by with only three aircraft on deck, so these are just appetizers. Included are for three aircraft from the 1971 group. Two are for F4J Phantoms, one from VF-31 and the other from VF-103. The third is for a E-2A Hawkeye with a black and white swirl pattern with central eye for the radar dish.
Starfighter Decals keeps on the hit parade with sheet after sheet of carrier decals in different scales. The USS Saratoga set 700-43 gives the modeler what is needed for Sara to get her war paint on. All that is needed are the markings for the air group for the period you wish to model.