DHC-4 CARIBOU - 35 AND 38 SQNS RAAF
First look review by
On 22 May 1963 the Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Robert
Menzies announced an order for 18 Caribou to update the
RAAF inventory. The Caribou was needed to replace the
DC-3/C-47 in RAAF service as the C-130 Hercules was unable
to get into all areas for the vital battlefield support
and tactical transport roles. This was a period of great
change in the RAAF as at the same time 40 more Mirage's
and 8 more Iroquois helicopters were ordered. In the
same year an order was placed for F-111 to replace the
Canberra and then the following year C-130E Hercules,
P3 Orions, two seat Mirages, Vickers Viscounts, Bell
47G helicopters and some Grumman Trackers were ordered.
Then a commitment for 75 Macchi MB.326 were ordered
for jet training and 8 HS748 were ordered for navigational
training. Then to cap it all off the Caribou order was
bumped up from 18 to 25.
The first Caribou was officially handed over to the RAAF
on 25 Feb 1964 at the Downsview DHC plant in Canada. Since
that time the Caribou has served in a number of war zones
including Vietnam and East Timor as well as many Peace
Keeping and humanitarian activities. The RAAF has looked
a number of times at replacing the Caribou but as the old
saying goes 'the only replacement for a Caribou is another
Caribou'. It has been found numerous times that no aircraft
exists that can go to the same places with the same amount
of cargo as the Caribou. UNfortunately at some stage in
the future the aircraft will have to be retired due to
it's ageing airframe and cost of maintaining it (similar
to the F-111).
This is the old Aussie Decals sheet that
has been re released by the current owner of Aussie Decals
in various scales. The decals come in the usual Aussie
Decal un-resealable bag with two large sheets of decals
and the instruction sheet. The decals are printed on an
ALPS printer onto continuous film so you will need to carefully
trim out the markings prior to putting them onto the model.
The schemes covered are:
- Caribou A4-299, 35 SQN RAAF Townsville 1990. Green
/ Dark green / Black wrap around scheme.
- Caribou A4-164, 38 SQN RAAF Richmond, 1990. Green /
Tan / Black wrap around scheme.
- Caribou A4-208, 38 SQN RAAF Richmond, 1990. Desert
Red / Tan / Black wrap around scheme.
These schemes are all very colourful and would definitely
make the large model that it is in 1/48 look good. The
decal set provides the aircraft numbers and RAAF titles
in the necessary colours to make up the three different
schemes supplied. There is also the 'complete' set available
which supplies all stencil lines in the various shades
required other than straight black. Having looked at the
other coloured lines at the Aussie Decals stand at Expo
I could barely tell the difference between the three coloured
lines. You are also supplied with sufficient extra numerals
to make any of the other aircraft that used these schemes.
Due to the variety of different schemes covered by this
sheet you will end up with a great deal of left overs that
can be used on other Caribous if you are keen and want
more than one 1/48 Caribou in your collection. The majority
of these markings are well printed except for the unit
crests that are not very detailed, but it is a re release
and I have no doubt they will improve in the future. I
have had a look at the references I have on hand and they
seem to indicate that the markings are correct. The decal
sheet comes with a hi-vis roundel for under the wing as
well as the low-vis that will enable you to cover the vast
majority of schemes applied to the camouflaged Caribou.
Like all models you should check your references to confirm
exactly what the layout of roundels and stencils the aircraft
you are modelling had as each aircraft was slightly different,
this goes for the propeller warning markings as well. The
markings and instructions have been revised by Aussie Decals
since the first edition went out for Melbourne Expo 2007.
The new release contains amended instructions and the addition
of the low-vis roundels.
The instructions are a colour double sided
A4 sheet with the placement of the markings and colour scheme
layout for each aircraft. There is also a sheet of modelling
notes that goes into detail of what stencil goes with what
These markings are definitely better than
the kit decals and for the most part are quite good, they
are only let down by the unit crests that require more detail.
With the addition of the low-vis markings this set becomes
This set is recommended and once the few
problem areas are corrected it will be highly recommended.
Review decals courtesy of Aussie