1/48 A48027 DHC-4 CARIBOU - 35 AND 38 SQNS RAAF

First look review by David Harvey


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).

The decals

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.

Original Instructions

Revised Instructions


The instructions

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 aircraft.


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 extremely useful.

This set is recommended and once the few problem areas are corrected it will be highly recommended.

Review decals courtesy of Aussie Decals.

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