Since I was getting near to finishing my 1/72 scale Flower Class corvette (which was 'laid down' way back in Jan 2004...) it was time to start looking for some decent flags to replace the paper ones provided in the Revell-Germany kit. Google once again proved to be my friend, and after a few phone calls a package of BECC's flags duly landed on my doormat.
What's in the bag then?
The flags come in a clear, shop-display type wrapper with a stiff card header, and are plenty well-enough packaged to survive the tender mercies of our postal system. I opted for two different sizes of White Ensign, since I wasn't exactly sure which would look best on the ship, and also two sets of WWII Royal Navy signal flags. A very wide range of other flags is available, as well as vinyl flags and lettering. Clear and comprehensive instructions are included, and there is also a step-by-step guide on the website.
hoistin' the flag
The manufacturers recommend treating the edges of each flag with clear glue to prevent fraying – I used PVA and that worked just fine. Of course you may want to go for a frayed look (flags on sea-going vessels get a bit of a battering and so tend to get worn fairly quickly), that can be easily achieved by not applying any glue to the trailing edge of the flag and then tearing out a few of the threads to give that tattered appearance.
Each flag comes with a generous overlap on its leading edge for glueing around whatever type of thread you choose to use to fly it from. I decided to use lycra thread, commonly used in model aircraft rigging, to hoist my flags on. The easiest way I found of keeping everything in place whilst I glued the flag to the thread was as follows:
1. Temporarily attach a length of thread to your cutting mat using Blu-Tac or similar. The thread needs to be taut but not stretched.
2. Trim away most of the overlap from the flag – for a static model you need just enough to trap the thread you are using. On an dynamic model (radio controlled) you may wish to leave a bigger overlap to enable a greater area for the glue to bond onto.
3. Carefully position the leading (overlapped) edge of the flag under the thread, and apply a small amount of CA glue along that edge.
4. Fold the overlap across and press down firmly – I used a steel rule since that gives a nice even pressure, and can easily be sliced away from the flag should you manage to get it stuck to the material!
5. Allow to cure, and then hoist your flag!
Once everything has had time to dry thoroughly you can work the flag between your fingers to produce a realistic 'fluttering' appearance.
These flags are good value, easy to use, and will look far better on your model ship than the paper versions commonly supplied by kit-makers. They will help you to provide one of those little extra touches that could take a model from being simply good, to being great. Finally I would like to mention that I bought the flags from Brian at ModelFlags.com – I had never used the company before but found them to offer great service and very useful advice by both phone and email.
These printed cotton flags are easy to use and will give your model ship that little extra finishing touch that could make all the difference.
About Graham Townsend (Ripster) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH EAST, UNITED KINGDOM
I'm 40 years old, was married with three teenage kids and a veritable menagerie of animals, sadly going through a divorce at the moment... To put food on the table, and of course kits in the stash, I'm an ASW Sea King observer in the RN, joined up in Sep 89. Since then I've served in all three of ou...