'BRUNETE' decal sheet was the first release from Echelon Fine Details and it was the beginning of a series of very useful 1/35 scale modern armor decal sets from this company. The subject of this decal sheet may not be well known, but is nevertheless very interesting for anyone who wants to build "different" looking Leopard 2 model. With large colorful insignias, Spanish Leopards are undoubtedly great looking tanks. And of course the set was most welcome by all the Spanish modelers out there! There are marking for six tanks provided, three of them from 'Málaga' IV of 'C Mech' 10 tank battalion and three from 'Mérida' IV of 'Castilla' 16 tank battalion. No information is given regarding the organizational structure of 'Brunete' division, so those battalion descriptions look a bit enigmatic to me. Also no information about the platoons/teams to which particular tanks belong is provided. All featured tanks are painted in standard 3-color NATO camouflage in the same pattern as on German Bundeswehr tanks.
Decal sets is packed in a resealable zip-bag with a single decal sheet (approx. 125mm x 195mm) and A4 size instructions folded in half inside. Instructions are printed in full color and include a single photo of one of featured tanks. Decal placement diagrams are very clear and detailed. NATO camouflage pattern diagrams are included with RAL color numbers given and also Tamiya and Gunze-Sangyo paint numbers are provided. Decals themselves are flawlessly printed. All multi-color markings are in perfect register and all printed details are crisp.
Featured tanks from 'Málaga' IV of 'C Mech' 10 battalion carry 321, 210 and 300 numbers. Those tanks do not have any individual names. On first two tanks numbers are white, on the last one they're yellow. Tanks from 'Mérida' IV of 'Castilla' 16 battalion are: 212 "Diego de Santa Cruz", 315 "Herman Sanchez" and unnamed 100 tank. All tank numbers on those tanks are yellow. In addition to those markings there is a large number of extra tank numbers and tank names provided - 30 various tank names are given, plus also a number of individual letters to add other names if needed. We also get some extra barrel and turret stripes in five colors (my guess is they denote various platoons, but it is not explained in instructions). The only problem you may have using the decal sheet is to match stripe color, tank number and tank name to each other if you want to accurately represent one particular tank, other then the six described in instructions. So you better have some good reference photos, otherwise you can only try and guess the right markings combination. Of course if you stick to any of six main marking options, you should be fine! Another extras on decal sheet are unit insignias printed in white. No information is given regarding the use of those markings, so I don't know whether they are used on some tanks instead of regular yellow and red markings, or were they provided on the sheet only to be used as white backing for other color markings to ensure good color density (but after examining decals closely I believe red and yellow decals are printed on white backing anyway, so applying two decals in layers is most likely not necessary).
Common markings to all Spanish Leopards are small national flags for the turret front, bridge class circles and small red rectangles (I don't know what is the purpose of those). Yellow bridge class circles are provided in two types (slightly different typeface on tanks from two features battalions) and two sizes. Larger circles are sized for Tamiya Leopard 2A5 (and newer 2A6) model fender size and smaller are for Italeri/Revell Leopard 2A4 kits. 'Brunete' division only uses 2A4 tanks, but Echelon chosen to provide Tamiya sized decals, as fenders in Italeri/Revell kits are too small and some more adventurous modelers may chose to modify and use more accurate Tamiya 2A5 hull parts in their Leo 2A4 models.
Photos of 'Brunete' tanks are very hard to find on the Web. Those few pictures I found show that markings included in the Echelon set are generally correct, but none of those pics show any of featured six tanks, so I cannot comment on accuracy of those particular markings.
Just as other Echelon's sets, also these were printed by Microscale and they should work just as well as those reviewed earlier. To see results of my decal application tests, check my review of Echelon T35004 set.
Spanish 'Brunete' division markings may be considered "exotic" by some modelers, but they are definitely worth attention of anyone interested in building Revell's Leopard 2A4 kit, but bored with usual Bundeswehr markings. I only mentioned Revell kit, as this is the only one on the market that lets you build Leo 2A4 straight from the box. Original Italeri models are of early Leopard 2 tanks and need several modifications to bring them to A4 standard. While Revell kit is based on Italeri one, it includes all required modifications and some other parts are also slightly improved in detail (e.g. engine intake grilles). Now that we have such nice Spanish Leopard decals set, maybe Echelon would release a set for Polish cats next? :-)
Many thanks to Lawrence Goh of Echelon Fine Details for the review sample!
For a list of resellers and distributors visit Echelon web site