Decals

Reviews of scale model decal sets.

U.S. Marines AV-8A Harrier Decals

Published: April 20th, 2014     
U.S. Marines AV-8A Harrier Decals
Reviewed by: Phil Pignataro, IPMS# 17254
Scale: 1:72
Company: Caracal Models

When I purchased the new Airfix Harrier GR.1 kit in 1/72 scale, I did so with the intention of building it as the USMC AV-8A Harrier. I planned to cobble together suitable decals from my collection of spares, but didn’t have to when Caracal Models released a sheet just for this very purpose.

The decal sheet is silk-screen printed by Cartograph of Italy, so you know the quality is excellent. All markings are on register and the colors are vibrant. Caracal provides an eight page booklet, printed in full color, which depicts profiles for twelve aircraft plus generic drawings with painting instructions and stencil placement. Colors are listed in FS numbers. All the aircraft choices have the same basic camouflage scheme of Dark Green, Dark Sea Gray over Light Gray. The two exceptions are a test machine that has Day-Glo orange panels and another aircraft in a winter scheme where White replaces the Dark Green. Though there are marking options for a dozen aircraft, there are only national insignia and stencils for one “low-viz" and one “hi-viz" aircraft.

Naval T-Birds

Published: March 18th, 2014     
Naval T-Birds
Reviewed by: Charles Landrum, IPMS# 26328
Scale: 1/48
Company: Iliad Design

I have to respect Iliad Design in Canada, which does not follow the convention of releasing decals just for kits new out on the market, but instead releases subjects off the beaten path. This latest release is a series of markings for the US Navy’s version of the T-33, the TO-2/TV-2. The T-33 was an initiative by Lockheed to develop a trainer from its P-80 fighter. Debuted in 1948, the T-33 was immediately bought by the US Air Force and proved to be iconic aircraft which still soldiers on today in many Air Forces. The Navy, which had acquired the P-80 (Navy designation TO-1) for evaluation, also had a need for two-seat jet trainer and acquired 650 of the planes by way of the US Air Force. In Naval service it was at first designated the TO-2 and later the TV-2. The T-33/TV-2 is a forgiving and stable platform and the Navy soon pushed these two-seaters into other roles such as drone aircraft controllers and chase aircraft for test and evaluation programs. Unfortunately there has been a paucity of decals for the Navy TO-1 and TV-2 with the only previous sheet I am aware of being an old Microscale sheet for the TO-1.

US Navy Albatross, Early Types

Published: February 6th, 2014     
US Navy Albatross, Early Types
Reviewed by: Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Scale: 1/48
Company: Caracal Models

Caracal Models has created an excellent decal set featuring numerous colorful US Navy schemes for Trumpeter's HU-16A Albatoss kit. This decal set also address the biggest deficiency in the Trumpeter kit, the absence of walkway decals.  The three decal sheets included in the set are printed by Cartograf, and are accompanied by a color glossy eight-page placement and painting guide.  Suggested paints are given in FS numbers.  The decal colors are opaque and appear to match the FS equivalents accurately when compared to fan deck chips.  The decals are just thick enough, going on easily without tearing and hugging down to the surface quite nicely using Microscale setting solutions.  All marking were in perfect registration.

YF-23 - Markings for Both Prototypes

Published: January 27th, 2014     
YF-23 - Markings for Both Prototypes
Reviewed by: Dave Morrissette, IPMS# 33653
Scale: 1/48
Company: Caracal Models

Hobbyboss released the YF-23 Black Widow kit in 1/48th scale to some fanfare. It is a great kit of a unique subject. IPMS was lucky enough to review it while the kit is great, the decals leave a lot to be desired as far as accuracy. The wing warning labels are black, the tile grids by the intakes are missing and the tail markings are more for a fictitious active fighter. There are also miscellaneous badges missing as well as only having markings for the gray version. The black PAV1 version which briefly wore the red black widow hourglass was not represented at all. Never fear, Kursad Albayraktar and Caracal Models to the rescue with set 48048 which represents both YF-23 prototypes.

Consolidated B-24 Liberator Part 4

Published: January 19th, 2014     
Consolidated B-24 Liberator Part 4
Reviewed by: Floyd S. Werner, Jr., IPMS# 26266
Scale: 1/72
Company: Lifelike Decals

Lifelike Decals has produced another sheet for the Hasegawa/Minicraft/Academy and Eduard 1/72nd B-24s. 

Contained in a 6x9 Ziploc baggie, the first thing you will notice is two A4 sized single sheet full color instructions.  One sheet contains the front with the profile drawings and the back page has the plan views and references listed where Lifelike got their information from.  This is a particularly good idea because if you wanted to verify the information you could.  The other thing this does is it allows Lifelike to tell you what they saw.  Lifelike is not afraid to make an informed guess if they don’t know something.  But unlike other decal companies, Lifelike will tell you if they don’t know something.

The decals themselves are some of the world’s best.  They are printed by Cartograf and Microscale.  There are four sheets of decals.  Cartograf prints the nose art because of the finesse and shading.  Microscale does all the unit markings, national insignia and the de-ice boots.

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Part 6

Published: January 19th, 2014     
Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Part 6
Reviewed by: Floyd S. Werner, Jr., IPMS# 26266
Scale: 1/72
Company: Lifelike Decals

The P-47 just begs for nose art with that big cowling out front.  That is exactly what ground crews did and Lifelike has captured in this latest release.

Designed for the Tamiya, Hasegawa, Academy or Revell/Germany kits, the decals and instructions are packaged in a 6”x 9” inch ziplock baggie.  The instructions themselves are printed on two A4 pages with full color profiles and plan views.  They also include a reference section so if you want to see the real aircraft all you have to do is find the book or website.  There is another half sheet that has the stencil locations on one side.  I love the instructions.  A little history of each aircraft and the markings are included for each aircraft.

Lifelike has no problem letting the modeler know what is known and what is conjecture.  That is a very unique approach to decals.  I personally like that.  They are not afraid to make an educated assumption for the sake of including a peculiarly unique aircraft. 

Consolidated B-24 Liberator Part 3

Published: January 19th, 2014     
Consolidated B-24 Liberator Part 3
Reviewed by: Floyd S. Werner, Jr., IPMS# 26266
Scale: 1/72
Company: Lifelike Decals

The third 1/72nd B-24 sheet from Lifelike contains more colorful nose art.  If you are a fan of pinups and nose art these sheets are really impressive.

The decals are contained in a 6”x9” ziplock bag along with two A4 full color instructions.  The decals themselves are printed by Cartograf and Microscale.  Between those two decal printers you know you have some of the best printed decals in the world.  But what about the research?  Lifelike is well known for their research.  Even Lifelike can make errors as they acknowledge.  Lifelike basis their findings on the latest information available and when the information is lacking they base their finding on educated guesses.  Some would find this a weakness in the decals but I think it is an asset.  They let you know what is known and what is conjecture. 

North American P-51 Mustang Part 2

Published: January 18th, 2014     
North American P-51 Mustang Part 2
Reviewed by: Mike Kellner, IPMS# 30864
Scale: 1/72
Company: Lifelike Decals

When I was first assigned this review I started four P-51D kits thinking I’d get a jump on things, but when the decals arrived I discovered they were meant for two P-51Bs and two Ds. So much for planning ahead. 

The decals were on register and looked great in the package.  The four aircraft represented are: 

  • Aircraft #1: Malcolm Hood P-51B “Salem Representative” flown by Lt. Ralph K. Hofer of the 334FS/4th FG.
  • Aircraft #2:  P-51D “Sky Czar” flown by Capt. Fred Munder, Jr. of the 381FS/363rd FG
  • Aircraft #3: Malcolm Hood P-51B “Big Mac Jr.” flown by Capt. John Brown, Jr. of the 382FS/363rd FG.
  • Aircraft #4: P-51D “Nancy Lee” flown by Lt. Richard Baggett of the 402FS/370 FG. 

Although there are markings specific for four aircraft, there are common decals for only one.  To use the other three nose art markings I used the individual kit decals for the stars and bars, prop markings, walkway stripes, etc..

Consolidated B-24 Liberator Decals, Part 1 and 2

Published: January 15th, 2014     
Consolidated B-24 Liberator Decals, Part 1 and 2
Reviewed by: Rod Lees, IPMS# 10821
Scale: 1/72
Company: Lifelike Decals

Thanks very much to Lifelike decals for providing IPMS USA these review sets. We appreciate your support and look forward to your future efforts!

I had heard of Lifelike decals, but normally don’t work in 1/72nd scale.  However, when these showed up, I had to throw my name in the hat… and am very pleased I did. 

The first set, 72-029, covers four B-24’s with four different groups in the pacific region.  All have very colorful tail markings, and the nose art is particularly striking. The fact I have not seen these before made them a better value. 

Markings are included for the following:

Speed Hunter Graphics Decals for the F-4C & F-4D

Published: January 3rd, 2014     
Speed Hunter Graphics Decals for the F-4C & F-4D
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery, IPMS# 14003
Scale: 1/48
Company: Speed Hunter Graphics

Speed Hunter Graphics is a new decal source and is a division of the well-known and respected Reid Air Publications business. IPMS is very pleased to be able to review the Premiere Decal offerings from Speed Hunter in 1/48th scale, that being the markings for the F-4C and F-4D, reviewed here.

There are two sets of decals for the F-4C and F-4D identified by the item numbers 48001 and 48002.

Set # 1, item # 48001 has markings for a number of aircraft including:

  • F-4C 63-7589 191st Fighter Interceptor Group, Selfridge ANGB, Michigan ANG
  • F-4D 66-7554 906th Tactical Fighter Group, Wright-Pat AFB, Dayton OH
  • F-4C 64-0829 482nd Tactical Fighter Wing, Homestead AFB, Homestead, FL.
  • F-4C 63-7676 154th Composite Group, Hickam AFB Hawaii ANG
  • F-4C 64-0776 142nd Fighter Interceptor Group, Oregon ANG, Portland, OR
  • F-4D 66-7550 507th Tactical Fighter Group, Tinker AFB, OKC, OK

Set # 2, item # 48002 has markings for a number of aircraft including:

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