New from Aviaeology comes a very attractive set of decals for fighter-reconn Spitfires in RCAF service. It's a subject that gets overlooked all too often, perhaps due to the abundance of more common pure fighter subjects. The set is available in 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 - the sheet reviewed here being 1:48.
The custom-printed decals arrive on three sheets and are excellent quality - thin and glossy, with the excess carrier film trimmed so tight as to be almost non-existent around most designs. The registration is spot on throughout, and the colour depth and accuracy looks very impressive. Note: these are conventional screen-printed decals, not the "Digital Silk" that seem to have cause difficulties a year or so ago. Aviaelogy have progessively updated their catalogue, reprinting the sheets as they go.
The set covers a wide selection of Spits, with no less than 7 aircraft featured:
MJ351, aircraft "S" of 414 Sqn. RCAF, RAF 2 TAF, Petit Brogel, Belgium, March 1945
MJ518, aircraft "O" of 414 Sqn. RCAF, RAF 2 TAF, Eindhoven, Netherlands, October 1944
MK202, aircraft "Q" of 414 Sqn. RCAF, RAF 2 TAF, Eindhoven, Netherlands, January 1945
Spitfire FR.XIVE conversions:
RN114, aircraft "RC-W", flown by the commander of 39 Wing RCAF, RAF 2 TAF, January - May 1945
RM876, aircraft "H" 439 Sqn. RCAF, RAF 2 TAF, Eindhoven, Netherlands, October 1944
The set provides full individual markings for each machine on one sheet. The roundels and fin flashes sufficient for one aircraft occupy the second sheet, with a comprehensive selection of servicing stencils filling the third.
Something that sets Aviaeology releases apart from other manufacturers' is the detailed instructions included. So, in this case, we find 8 sides of A-4 covering each scheme in depth along with reference photos and profile drawings. There are 4-view drawings for stencil placement, a run-down of the configuation and equipment fit-out of the RCAF FR Spits, and a detailed explanation of the camouflage and markings carried.
Completing the main instructions, there's a section explaining the camera ports for FR conversions, with modelling notes and scale drawings provided. The fairings for the conversions will require a pair of scratchbuilt glazed "blisters", one either side of the fuselage at the line of the radio hatch. Construction will be simple for experienced modellers, and looks straightforward enough to make an ideal project for average modellers trying their hand at a modification for the first time, but beginners may want to get a few more builds under their belt before trying it.
Finally, a separate A-5 sheet gives a 15-stage step-by-step guide to applying decals and using setting solutions - among the best explanations I've found anywhere, and worth reading even if you're an old hand and think you know everything.
The instructions arrive printed in B&W, but a really nice touch is that Aviaeology will also e-mail their customers a full-colour version that includes scalable vector artwork so you can zoom in to check the smallest details (obviously there's a limit to the effective resolution of the reference photos).
All in all, this is a superb package that offers a refreshing fresh take on the standard Spitfire, giving a chance to build something different among the conventional pure fighters, and something of a "must" for anyone specialising in Canadian Spitfires. Recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Excellent quality decals, backed up by really comprehensive and informative instructions.Lows: Not a criticism of the decals, but beginners should note that they may struggle with scratch-building the camera blisters required.Verdict: This is a great set of decals, and timed perfectly for the increased interest in the Spitfire following Eduard's new 1:48 kit. It's already got me eyeing it with a view to adding the camera modification...
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...