This article presents one of the latest products from Caracal Models dedicated to the 1:72 scale MiG-29's in special commemorative schemes of Polish Air Force. Uniqueness of these markings consists of the large and eye-catching portraits of famous ace pilots from the 303 Polish Fighter Squadron “Kościuszko” painted on the inner sides of vertical stabilizers and big badges of the “Kościuszko Squadron” on the upper fuselage side. This schemes were started to be painted on the Fulcrums of Polish 1 ELT since July 2012, when the first two planes were presented to the public. The target is to paint all planes of the unit in this manner to commemorate the heroes who wore the “Kościuszko Badge” during the Polish-Russian war in 1920 and Battle of Britain.
The set released by Caracal Models allows to almost completely decal one of three depicted machines. Their design and history was consulted with the authors of the artworks on the original planes and based on their reference materials. This fact, for me, guarantees a high quality, good reproduction and accuracy of the drawings. Caracal provides a short biography note about the pilots and a brief history of the “Kościuszko Badge”, from its creation by Lt. Elliot Chess in 1920 to the present day. These sections were prepared by Wojtek Matusiak, a well known Polish aviation historian.
Quarterscalers have two options to choose from, each in the separate set. Seventy-two scalers get three options in one set. Selection comprises of the following machines:
- “56”, 1 ELT, Mińsk Mazowiecki – July 2012, deorated in honor of W/Cdr Marian Pisarek
- ”111”, 1 ELT, Mińsk Mazowiecki – July 2012, decorated in honor of F/O Mirosław Ferić
- ”15”, 1ELT, Mińsk Mazowiecki – November 2012, decorated in honor of G/Cpt Zdzisław Krasnodębski – this is a two-seater MiG-29UB
Portraits printed on the decal sheet are two-toned. Third tone will be created by the plane camouflage colour so this is quite essential to accurately paint the fins of a model carefully capturing placement and shape of the patches.
Huge Kościuszko Badge from the fuselage is sliced into three parts. Decaling instruction suggests to place first the middle section on the plane spine and carefully fit it to the kit making sure that the stripes are parallel to the planes centreline. This step is crucial and if you will do it correctly all what you will need to do in next steps will be just placing and aligning both outer sections, also making sure that the stripes are parallel.
Camouflage colours suggested by Caracal are provided in accordance to Federal Standard (FS) numbers, there's no suggestion or recommendation of any popular brand of hobby paints. Painting schemes depicted in the set have an interesting feature. Schemes are printed in 1:96 scale. If you want to create a custom masks for your 1:72 model you just have to enlarge the instruction by 1.33x, for example on the photocopier, then use scissors and voila. Good idea Caracal!
Decals were printed by a subcontractor company which was the Italian Cartograf. As usual, also in these sets, this company has done good job. Carrier film is reasonably thin and glossy. Its transparency, crucial for the portraits, is perfect. There's absolutely no misalignment of colours, borders, lines etc. You can read most of the stencils without special difficulty, but the smallest ones, numbered from 15 to 18, are unreadable even under the magnifying glass. Decals dedicated to the plane numbered “56” does not contain one stencil is – the blue “GOLDEN EYE” which can be noticed right under the IR sensor on the nose. This is one of two errors which I can found in the set. Second one is wrong picture on the first page of instruction, presenting all three planes. A first top drawing is a complete confusion of jumbling of camouflage, paintings and markings. It should represent machine no. “56” with the portrait of W/Cdr Marian Pisarek. Thankfully inside the detailed painting scheme instruction and on the decal everything is absolutely correct with this option.
I am very glad these decals are available on the market. These are really beautiful painting schemes commemorating and honouring real heroes of the Polish Air Force. Attractiveness of the great plastic model combined with these decals can benefit in really unique model on the display shelve or contest table. I hope to see many of these type soon.
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