– VF-103 radio callsign
Announced several months ago, Hobby Master’s first ever F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter has slowly edged its way from the drawing board to the production line in an effort to get the first bird out the door by year’s end. Their inaugural offering is based upon a US Navy Boeing F/A-18F that served with VFA-103 “Jolly Rogers,” then embarked upon the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) in 2012 (HA5102).
By all accounts, collectors are quite happy with the way the first model looks, particularly since it bears the insignia of the illustrious “Jolly Rogers”, one of the most sought after squadrons among aviation enthusiasts. Hobby Master has pegged this model with a tentative release date of December, so we are hoping, perhaps against all hope, that it may still make it in time to be nestled under the Christmas tree, if Santa busts a move. We will post further information as soon as it reaches us.
Strike Fighter Squadron 103 (VFA-103), nicknamed the Jolly Rogers is an aviation unit of the United States Navy established in 1952. VFA-103 flies the F/A-18F Super Hornet and is based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia (USA). The squadron’s radio callsign is Victory and it is assigned to Carrier Air Wing Seven.
The original VF-103 squadron insignia was a cloverleaf, and the aircraft tailfins had a horizontal yellow arrow outlined in black. Later a stylized aircraft darting through the leaf was added, along with a baseball bat. The baseball stemmed from an early skipper who often carried one with him. In 1991, VF-103’s aircraft used the squadron insignia for tail-art, in place of the bold arrow. When the Sluggers became the Jolly Rogers they adopted the famous white skull-and-crossbones.
The Jolly Rogers have always displayed some of the most recognizable squadron markings in the world: sinister white skull-and-crossbones on all-black tails, with gold bands wrapped around the tip of the tail fins, and black bands with gold chevrons (known as vagabonds strips from the Crusader days of VF-84 (1955-95)) run down the sides of the forward fuselage.