Please note that Aviaeology has a website that is currently under revision. Aviaeology requests that purchases be made through their eBay store.
For those who have purchased decals from Aviaeology before, you are already aware of the high quality of their products, and you are also aware of the excellent documentation that Aviaeology provides to its customers.
For first-time buyers, here is a summary of the process followed by Aviaeology. At the time of this review the Aviaeology website is under renovation, so please go to their eBay store at http://stores.ebay.ca/Aviaeology. Once a purchase is made, an automatically generated email will appear in your inbox. Attached to that email will be the documentation portion that accompanies the decal set in PDF format. For those who purchase their Aviaeology products from a third-party vendor (such as your local hobby shop), there is a “chit” within the product packaging that directs the purchaser to register their purchase/ownership with Aviaeology via email. The PDF documentation will soon follow via a return email. The most recently produced documentation allows for the viewer to “zoom in” on-screen, up to 800 to 1600%! This documentation is “golden” and is a significant aid to the modeler in making sure that the orientation of the decal is correct when applied to the model. The pdf documentation represents a considerable amount of research by Aviaeology and is protected under various copyright laws, so a sample of this documentation is not included in this review. While this process may sound rather intense, it is, in fact, quite simple.
This sheet, “RCAF Mosquitoes-Canadians in Fighter Command #1” is the result of the extensive research that Aviaeology applies to each of their products. Aviaeology uses historical images, publications, technical manuals, and restorations to stock their decal sheets with the correct markings. The “instruction” sheets for the decal set also indicate the variations in markings from aircraft to another, since not all aircraft used identical markings. This unique approach gives the modeler the opportunity to achieve a high degree of authenticity for a specific aircraft.
The decal sheet provides a sufficient number of decals to complete at least one 1/24 scale. There are multiple “Nose Art” markings, featuring Mosquito FB.VI HJ719 “Moonbeam McSwine”, Mosquito FB.VI (series II) “Hairless Joe”, Mosquito FB.VI (mid series II) NS850 “Black Rufe”, and my choice of markings, Mosquito FB.VI (late series II) SZ976 “Amigo Panchito”.
I used this set of decals (AOD24005m) in conjunction with the Stencil/Data set that Aviaeology also produces, (AOD 24S05), to finish my Airfix Mossie kit.
In addition to the “decal placement” illustrations, Aviaeology includes a decal “Preparation & Application” list. Following these 12 suggestions will greatly assist the modeler in successful application of the decals. Aviaeology also recommends that if a decal softener is to be used, it should be the “mild” solution that is used. In plain language, “Micro Set” is preferable. “Solva Set” should be used with some caution and in diluted form (mixed with water). In my experience I’ve found that Micro Set is sufficient, and depending on one’s “surface prep” not necessary in most cases. I set out to follow these 12 steps to the letter, and I found that there were two issues to which I needed to pay close attention.
It should be noted that I live in an area in which the tap water has a high concentration of calcium. I have found it advisable to use distilled water.
The first issue was that of water temperature. I experienced a problem using water that was not “warm”. I experienced a crack in the decal I tested. I warmed the water up to the upper 60 degree-lower 70-degree range and I noticed that the decals slid off the backing paper more readily.
The second issue was that of a lack of patience on my part. Once the decal was dipped into the water, where it remained until being removed for application, I found that a wait time of 30 seconds was not sufficient to loosen the decal. The decal was reluctant to leave the backing sheet and very difficult to maneuver once applied to the model. In fact, I ended up destroying two “test decals” by not giving it more time. And it doesn’t really take that much more time. Decals that “soaked” for 45 seconds to 60 seconds worked perfectly. I had sufficient time to maneuver the decals into their final positions with a few gentle nudges and I was off to the races.
When applied using the Aviaeology guidelines, and when given enough “soak” time in warmer water I experienced no difficulties and did not find any silvering when the decaling process was concluded.
This decal set is highly recommended due to the superior quality of the printing, no misaligned decals, no need to trim excess decal backing, opacity of the markings, quality of service from Aviaeology and an excellent price for the product. Thanks to Aviaeology for the opportunity to review this excellent product.