Kagero Publishing keeps on releasing a "miniTopColor" series which consists of a booklet with colour schemes and drawings of a title plane and supported with attached decal sheet so a customer could build and fully decal one of machines depicted inside. This features makes the series is dedicated mostly to scale modelers. In the latest issue focused on aviation topic we get a second volume of “P-38 Lightnings at War.”
Content of this volume is typical for whole miniTopColors series. On 24 pages authors presents 8 painting schemes of the subject type. In the 33rd issue we can find four European and four Pacific painting options. Of the Pacific birds one, the "Vagrant Virgin" is presented twice but in different configurations and details of individual markings depending on the time, place and pilot of pictured plane.
Here is a bit more detaled line-up of the painting options presented inside the booklet.
- P-38G-13-LO, probable s/n 42-2197, "Nulli Secundus"/"X-Virgin", flown by Lt. Kenneth G. Ladd of 80th Fighter Squadron/8th Fighter Group, Dobodura, New Guinea, winter of 1943/1944
- P-38J-15-LO, s/n 42-104107, "Jewboy", code no. "47", flown by Lt. Phillip M. Goldstein of 49th Fighter Squadron/14th Fighter Group, Triolo, Italy, May 1944
- P-38J-10-LO, s/n 42-67916, "California Cutie", code no. (KI)-"S", flown by. Lt. Richard O. Loehnert of 55th Fighter Squadron/20th Fighter Group, RAF King Cliffe, England, June 1944
- P-38J-15-LO, s/n 43-28444, "Vivarious Virgin II", code no. "E6-T", flown by Lt. Ian B. Mackenzie of 402nd Fighter Squadron/370th Fighter Group, Florennes/Juxaine, Belgium, winter of 1944/1945
- P-38L-1-LO, s/n. 44-23852, "Beautiful Bitch", code no. "B7", flown by Lt. John J. Kane, 96th Fighter Squadron/82nd Fighter Group, Vincenzo, Italy, March 1945
- P-38L-5-LO, s/n 44-26176, "Vagrant Virgin", code no. "A", flown by. Lt. L.V. Bellusei of 36th Fighter Squadron/8th Fighter Group, San Jose, Mindoro, later 1944/early 1945
- P-38L-5-LO, s/n 44-26176, "Vagrant Virgin", code no. "A", flown by Lt. Peter Macgowan, 36th Fighter Squadron/8th Foghter Group, Ie Shima, September 1945
- P-38L-5-LO, probable s/n 44-26568, "Wicked Woman", code no. "W", flown by. Lt. Richard C. Livingstone, 36th Foghter Squadron/8th Foghter Group, Ie Shima, August-September 1945
A very strong point of the volume are great quality drawings clearly showing the tiniest details of markings. Artworks of girls, decorative individual inscriptions, kill markings or individual planes letter are enlarged and presented next to the "main" profile drawing. This way you can carefully study each particular drawing in comparison to the historical reference or attached decal sheet.
A nice reference addition is a book first page where authors have provided three historical colour photographs. Two of them presents pin-up artworks of the "Vagrant Virgin" and "Wicked Woman".
I have quickly compared decals with these two drawings and they really great captures original colours and details. The only slight difference I have noticed are shades on the body of "Vagrant Virgin" but it's a question to discuss. I remember I have already seen a "Wicked Woman" on the decals from other companies in 1:72 and 1:48 scale but this time the artwork is much better reproduced, much more subtle and with better attention to details.
As usual sine some time decals attached to Kagero publications are printed by Italian company Cartograf. There are absolutely no misalignment of colours. What I personally like very much is a carrier film which sticks closely to the contour of marking – this characteristic minimizes the risk of silvering of the decal after placing on the model. However if you carefully prepare the surface under the decal and use good decal agents the chance for silvering is close to none.
Decals are printed on two sheets. One of them, larger, is dedicated only to 1:32 scale kits while markings for 1:72 and 1:48 were accommodated on the second sheet. Kagero provides only the individual markings, numbers and inscriptions. Those more general, like national markings or technical stencils and placards, have to be obtained from the original kit decal or other aftermarket sets.
Same here as usual: great publication. Careful selection of depicted machines from two main theaters of war should make most of the model makers satisfied. Authors have made a detailed historical study of the topic and paid a lot of attention to the details, both on decals and on reproductions inside the book. Their effort surely paid off. Printing decals at Cartograf only lift's up the total quality.