RCAF Beaufighter Decals Part II – The Application

Published: August 7th, 2012     
Product Image
Decal Package
Reviewed by: 
Michael Novosad, IPMS# 36721
Scale: 1/48
Company: Aviaeology
Price: $13.99
Product / Stock #: AOD48002m

Some months ago, I had the opportunity to review the Aviaeology RCAF Beaufighters in Coastal Command decals, product number AOD48002m, which ultimately resulted in an uncontrollable urge to build a Beaufighter and use the decals.  I had two Tamiya Beaufighter kits in my stash with the goal, of course, to build both someday.  The Aviaeology decals offered that inspiration.

I believe the inspiration arose both from the obvious quality of the decals, plus the eight pages of instructions and information on Coastal Command Beaufighters.  Tucked away in the package is a small business card advising the purchaser to contact the sales branch of Aviaeology by SkyGrid to obtain a full-color home-printable PDF of the instruction pages.  While the black-and-white instructions included with the decals are more than adequate for the build, weathering, and decal application, the color version takes everything to a higher level.  A wealth of information is contained within the instruction, and most likely the instructions will be retained in most modeler's files for future reference. The only downside to the instructions and decals is the modeler will be encouraged to build more than one Beaufighter in Coastal Command colors!

The kit build was quite straightforward as is most typical of the Tamiya kits.  Read the decals instructions before you begin the kit assembly, as there are several features that need to be added.  Spend at least two sessions reading the instructions and deciding what details and features are to be added to the build, as not all the aircraft included in the instructions share the same details.  There is a lot to decide on before the kit is assembled.  The instructions contain many vintage photos of Beaufighters that will offer further incentives.  I especially liked the comments on the weathering effects on the aircraft and decided to try my hand at a moderately weathered finish.

The Application

Once the model was painted and the initial weathering applied, three thin applications of Future were laid down and allowed to cure thoroughly for at least 48 hours.  As with any decal, a glossy surface is a must for proper application.  I applied the decal markings and stencils using MicroSet and MicroSol.  The roundels had a tendency to stick in place when first applied, but by flowing a bit more MicroSet with a paintbrush under the decal I was able to float it into the correct location.  When applying the larger letters and numbers, I found the decals required a bit more care to locate; the minimal carrier film between the legs of the letters and numbers allowed some "billowing" or "rippling" of the decals, but gentle persuasion with a MicroSet-loaded soft brush encouraged the decal the to lay flat in place.

Once all the decals were in place, a light application of MicroSet was used to encourage the decals to settle into the recessed panel lines and over small raised panels.  The roundels did have a tendency to bridge the recessed panel lines, but a sharp knife blade put an end to that.  I followed up that surgery with another light application of MicroSol.

Once the decals had dried, I found no evidence of silvering.  The decals looked great, were opaque, and the colors looked more than just right.  This Beaufighter looked ready for combat!!

The following is a recap from my initial review.

The Decals

The decals are silk screen-printed, waterslide, and look stunning.  Depth of colors, registration, and definition appear perfect.  The carrier film is minimal and follows the outline of the national markings, letters, and aircraft serial numbers.  There should be no need to use the kit decals with this set, as all the markings and stencils and included.  There are only enough stencils to finish one model, though (additional models may be marked with the letters and number plus roundels and fin flashes from other decal sources).

The Instructions

Eight A4 double-sided pages make up the instructions.  The instruction have the true depth of reference material that can be preserved in the modeler's library once the kit is finished and decals applied.  (Request the PDF instructions from the manufacturer and you with most likely received them the same day.)

Information contained within the instructions/reference pages include:

  • Coastal Command Beaufighter TF.X schemes, colors and finishes.
  • Allied Expeditionary Air Force Identification stripes [Invasion Stripes].
  • Profile Illustrations.
  • Beaufighter TF.X airframe stencil / data markings.
  • Beaufighter TF.X rocket projectile features and wing Installation.
  • Beaufighter TF.X rocket projectile details and colors.

In addition, the decal set also comes with a 12-step preparation and application guide that should prove to be a valuable reference for experience and novice modelers.

Conclusion

Again, many thanks to Skygrid Studios and to IPMS/USA which once again offered a wonderful opportunity to review a truly outstanding, high quality product.  Now that I have used the product, I can still recommend this decal set for those who wish to build an RCAF Coastal Command Beaufighter.  I am now a big fan of this product line and truly appreciate the personal service and communications offered by Terry Higgins.

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