There's no doubt that the Regia Aeronautica's Smoke Rings camouflage is one of the most challenging to apply in model form. Get it right and it's definitely something to be proud of, but getting it right is the rub... it really takes skill, a controllable air-source and a high quality airbrush cabable of spraying very fine lines. While gaining the required skill just takes practice, but a good compressor and airbrush represent a serious financial investment that a lot of us can't justify.
Luckily, Mike Grant has come up with a very neat solution that makes tackling a Smoke Ring scheme a lot less daunting... a sheet of printed decal rings to go over a tan basecoat that can be painted with the most basic set-up.
The decals are printed with an ALPS printer, as against the screen printing more commonly used for commercial decals. This means the designs are a little more delicate than conventional decals, but the beauty of using this system is that it's allowed a feathered edge to the irregular rings, giving a much more "sprayed on" look than standard decals. The rings are based on original patterns and while they look a little light on the sheet, the translucent ALPS ink means they will turn the correct shade when applied over tan.
The decals are available in both 1/72 and 1/48 scales (the sheet shown here is 1/48 scale) and can be ordered directly from Mike Grant's website:
1/72 scale - Item #72-043 - $ 11.00
1/48 scale - Item #48-043 - $ 15.00
I'm looking forward to trying out the decals myself on a Macchi 205 that's sat uncompleted for a while, but Mike's photo of a completed Macchi 202 shows just how impressive the results can be and I'll post a full account of how I get on. While purists may bemoan these decals as being "cheating" in some way, Mike Grant's "Smoke Ring" decals undeniably offer the chance for many modellers to achieve a kind of finish that would otherwise be beyond them - and anything that encourages wider participation in our hobby is something I personally welcome. Recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Well printed with a feathered edge. Plenty of designs for a truly random look.Lows: You can't truthfully boast about a sprayed-by-hand finish!Verdict:
Our Thanks to Mike Grant Decals! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...