DK Decals

DK48013 1/48 PBY-5 / PB2B-1 Catalina 'Five QANTAS Stars'

Review by David Harvey


Review Type

First Look




$18.00 AUD from Red Roo Models

Contents and Media:

2 x large sheets and 1 x small sheet of decals


Covers a number of different aircraft


None seen at this stage


Highly Recommended



During WWII QANTAS Empire Airlines was conducting runs from England to Australia using Short 'Empire' flying boats that operated from Rose Bay in Sydney to Singapore three times a week. In 1942 with Japan cutting the route by capturing Singapore it was decided that the run still needed to occur and a new aircraft that was capable for flying the distance and a new route were required. The route decided upon was across the Indian Ocean as flown by PG Taylor in his Catalina "Guba" in 1938.

For the flights QANTAS acquired five British registered Catalinas that were intially flown to Australia by BOAC crews prior to handing over to the Australian crews. The flights were non-stop and over a distance of 3060 nautical miles which took anywhere between 23 hours 45 mins to over 31 hours.

The wartime QANTAS route was conducted from Nedlands on Perth's Swan River and Koggala Lake in Southern Ceylon. The first scheduled run was conducted on 10 Jul 43 by Captain RB Tapp and his crew which took 28 hours and 9 minutes.

Catalina services ended in July 1945 during which they made 271 crossings carrying 858 passengers, 207 260 lb (94 000kg) of mail and 90 793 lb (41 200KG) of priority cargo with minimal problems. An ignominious end was destined for these five aircraft though as they were Lend Lease aircraft. In 1946 as their usefullness was at an end and Lend Lease conditions did not allow them to be used for anything else, they were disposed of by scuttling. Catalina's 'Antares', 'Rigel', 'Vega' and 'Altair' were scuttled off Rottnest Island WA in November 1945 and 'Spica' off Sydney in March 1946. QANTAS then acquired another 14 Catalina's (ex RAAF aircraft) post war and conducted runs throughout the Pacific until 1958.

The Decals

The decals cover the following aircraft:

The decals come on two large sheets containing the National markings, aircraft names and the various aircraft serial numbers and large letters for under the wings on a few of the aircraft depicted. There is also a small sheet of markings for the tail numbers for the various aircraft.

Overall there are sufficient markings provided for one, possibly two, kits but if the modeller has extra national markings or is happy to paint them then you could do more of the options provided. The biggest limiting factor for doing multiple schemes from the set is that there are only two complete sets of underwing letters, a set with white outlines and a set without outlines. As you can see from the image below you can get several models done with what is provided if you have space for multiple 1/48 Catalina's.


The decals look well printed and having recently used a set of the Beaufighter markings they go on well without silvering. I think the biggest problem would be that the underwing letters are so large that it will be difficult to get them on easily, but that is for the modeller to work out.


I highly recommend these markings for those that wish to do a QANTAS Catalina for something 'different'. A hint though, make sure you get the correct kit to use them on as they are for the flying boat PBY-5, NOT the amphibian PBY-5A!

Kogalla, Ceylon. 1945-03-23. A Qantas Catalina aircraft moored at sunset on the lagoon.