Thursday, September 29

EagleCals Decals – EC#140 P-51Ds Lets test them on the Tamiya kit!!


Photobucket

Purveyors of decals that are full of quality, accuracy and fine details - EagleCals from the USA bring us three new sets of decals for the ever popular fighter from World War II the P-51 Mustang. The new sets produced of course are in all three major scales with the same attention to detail to each sheet – reviewed and tested on the kit here for you though is the 1/32 sheet for the new favourite kit of all people  it seems in larger scales the Tamiya 1/32 scale Mustang. 

Photobucket


Photobucket

EagleCals
EC#140 P-51Ds
Scales: 1/72 + 1/48 + 1/32 Reviewed here
Colour Schemes: Three x P-51D-5-NA
Printed by: Cartograf of Italy
Product Link:  EagleCals
EC#140-72 $11.00
EC#140-48 $15.00
EC#140-32 $17.50

Photobucket


The one part of this kit from Tamiya that I thought wasn’t strong was the decal sheet – not the quality but the choice of markings – some would disagree with me and be more than happy with the two choices – but seeing there are so many iconic mustangs in the vault of history I would have started off with a stronger candidate in the markings department – Some say that not another “Big Beautiful Doll” or “Old Crow”. But thanks to a few decal makers out there I can say I am glad they have jumped on board to make the definitive sets of markings for this the definitive kit in this scale with these four new release sets.

The aircraft featured in this set EC#140 are:
"Hun Hunter/Texas" Capt. Henry Brown
“Lou IV” Col. Thomas J.J. Christian
"Sharkmouth" Maj. John "Muscles" Bennett

Photobucket

There has been a bunch of new releases for this particular kit and with the lines long with people ready to buy it it is no surprise to see all of the major decal makers hopping on board. EagleCals have long been in that part of the market and as well as these new sets have previously released six other sets to fit the mustang. The good thing is that the previous sets of sheets produced where necessary are going to be re-printed to fit the new Tamiya Mustang. This is a testament to EagleCals accuracy and attention to detail. Let’s however talk about the sheet in hand.

Photobucket

This new sheet EC#140 comes in a Ziploc bag with a two double sided A4 sheet of instructions and profiles, One A4  black and white photo supplement, plus of course two lovely glossy sheets of decals. One mainly adorned with stars and bars and the other with individual aircraft markings. 

Let’s look at the decals themselves – the sheets are very shiny – shinier than most you would encounter, and there seems to be a slight pattern of lines working its way through these decals which ill test out in this article to see if it comes out or not in the finished article.

You can see these "watermarks" as i think they look like - they are not present on the finished article so dont worry about them
Photobucket

The decals themselves are so smooth and so strong to the touch I don’t think that they will suffer from fragility upon placement of your model. The colours are strong and in register – all art here is sharp and exactly within the lines it should be.

Carrier film kept to minimal - again do not worry about the marks - they are not there once applied
Photobucket


The carrier film is greatly reduced here which is one of the great parts for me. This is the reason why many people use the mask system of painting on markings, here however in such places like the buzz numbers on the fuselage the carrier film is tapered off a little and not travelling for the full height of the lettering. Neither is it too thin as to allow for the letters to become twisted or misplaced. Additionally this system makes the decal placements of such things like the buzz letters pretty hard to get wrong. Indeed the carrier film around all of these decals is razor thin – great work!
Photobucket

The whites especially on large areas of some decals are often a real problem. I have found that under most decals there will be some bleed through. Cartograf decals though in my experience are very good and do not suffer from this problem. I used some with my Fw- 190A3 build (again decals were printed by Cartograf) which went straight over some very dark mottling and no problems at all – these decals look and feel very similar to those set. The white is bright as well as the red writing on the “Lou IV” and the sharkmouth. This decal of “ATHELENE” shows the strong white on offer here. I do not anticipate any bleed through.

Photobucket

The research on these decals was done by well-known authority Mark Proulx. EagleCals have done a good thing here to show at the bottom of the run-down of each aircraft – they have included their reference sources – great for me as I had the “Bluenoser” 352nd FG book from Osprey which showed pictures of the sharkmouth P-51. It is nice to be able to point out your references in a place where modellers might have them on hand already and easily access them.

Photobucket

The stencilling is captured here and I did go through them all and found no made up words or spelling mistakes. (I should not be the one to pick out anyone- else’s spelling mistakes I can tell you) anyway they are very fine and again suffering a minimum of carrier film. Anyone can talk about what they want decals to do all day – I wanted to risk a quick test on the kit how the decals apply themselves.

Photobucket

Let’s see how the decals apply to the painted P-51 wing section from the Tamiya Mustang kit!

I quickly undercoated the kit wing (still on the sprue mind) and the laid down some Testors metalizer paint to give a nice silver cover that would be typical of most kit surfaces. I wanted to show these decals in as much of a normal environment as possible. Before the decals I applied two coats of “Future” floor polish to give a gloss surface for the decals to sit on. Then laid a “Star and Bars” from the EagleCals sheet in some water.

Within a minute the decals came off the sheet and gently I placed them on the wing. There is a nasty ridge the decal had to conform over – and I chose this wing section because of that fact – to see in the hardest part of the kit how the decal would sit. To be honest this is the only part of the process which didn’t look completely flush without adding micro set or Micro sol decal setting solution. I added a bit around the decal where the ridge was and let it all settle down. As always a tenuous wait ensues when witnessing this decal crinkle up and meld in to the panels – the urge to “help” the decal settle passed and I made a cup of tea...

Slowly the decal sinks in around the ridge
Photobucket


And sinks a little more...
Photobucket

Finally an hour later by the end of the process the decal sits flawlessly!
Photobucket

I must stress here - This decal went down perfectly well without the extra help – but seeing the ridge was there on the wing I decided to try that tricky part to totally test the decal out. It passed with flying colours – the decal never looked fragile and took a lot of manipulation before I found its perfect spot. The colours look strong and the white is not at all opaque. Top class! Here is the wing showing how well the decal sucked to the surface.

The finished decal – impossible to scratch off even before it has a protective coating of flat!
Photobucket

Now for the research...

"Hun Hunter/Texas" P-51D-5-NA - 44-13305 - flown by Capt. Henry Brown

Photobucket
Photobucket

This aircraft is very well known to Mustang aficionados – Piloted by 14 kill ace Capt. Henry Brown  it was an olive drab pattern on the upper surfaces with natural metal everywhere else (Ohh and a white prop and forward cowling)

Photobucket

The good thing about these decals and the attached colour and black and white references is that you have two alternative views of this aircraft with the included black chevrons, the extra kill marks on the port side and also the “Bulldogs” on the cowling able to be added or removed according to these handy references. 

You could do this aircraft bare ( with no pilot association) with just WR-Z
Photobucket

Photobucket

or next with 18 kills as Browns aircraft
Photobucket

Photobucket

Later with 26 kill markings for Brown and the black arrow beneath the exhausts
Photobucket

The Markings match the reference pictures I have very well and hats off again to the research that must have gone into finding and correcting the artwork to make the correct markings. I like this colour scheme very much.


It was interesting to me that on the 3rd of October 1944 while strafing a German airfield this aircraft was downed. Two of Brown’s fellow pilots landed on the very same flak-filled German airfield to rescue him! (The first pilot crash landed and also was taken prisoner while the second landed too late to help) Brown however survived the crash and became a POW as well as his “saviour” who was going to give his plane up for brown to fly off in!

Photobucket

Here is another interesting story of this very gallant man’s wartime exploits. Brown survived the war to later have a successful career in the USAF.


“Lou IV” P-51D-5-NA – “WR-Z” – 413305 - flown by Col. Thomas J.J. Christian. 
Photobucket

Photobucket

Col. Thomas J.J. Christian flew one of the most famous Mustangs of the war “Lou IV”. Many of us can remember the first colour pictures to be made popular of WWII and this aircraft was the centrepiece of one of them. It is very fitting to have such a popular aircraft in these markings released in 1/32.

Photobucket

This aircraft is best remembered in this shot taken from a B-17 bomber in a series of pictures in early colour as well as black and white and for many years there has been some consternation on the actual colour of the top sides of the aircraft. For many years it was thought to be blue because of eyewitness (civilian spotters) accounts. Recent evidence from the pilots and the ground crew in the group reveal that all of the aircraft had a mixture of RAF green and Olive drab on the topsides of the aircraft. 


I agree with the research done hare by Eaglecals and you could not do any fairer than look at this great source of colour interpretation (and there are MANY) that was made in this small article by excellent aviation Wade Myers in this little expose on how he chose the artwork colours for his rendering of this aircraft.

 “Lou IV” was named after Col. Christian’s baby daughter, while his earlier mounts bearing the same names (2 P-47D razorbacks, “Lou III” was a P-51B) and you can see the name in the decals here reproduced very well against a high res close up I have found

Photobucket

Photobucket

The second name on the starboard side is “Athelene” which was Christian’s crew chief S/Sgt D Jameson’s wife. The picture I have here is not as good but you can see it does match...

Photobucket

Photobucket

Both Christian and this aircraft were lost on 12 Aug 44 when dive bombing rail yards at Arras in France. Last seen making a dive and failing to re-join the group.

A great one page article on Col. Thomas Jonathan Jackson J.R. Christian’s fate just days after the famous pictures of “Lou IV” were taken and some great shots of the aircraft are here in this well researched article.  

I like the way this controversial colour scheme has been researched.

"Sharkmouth" P-51D-5-NA - flown by Maj. John "Muscles" Bennett


Photobucket


This shark- mouthed P-51D- 5- NA was flown by Capt. John Bennett of the 352ndFg of the 487thFs and is in livery that it would have had flying from Bodney in England August 1944.
"Muscles” Had the only "sharkmouth" nose art adorned P-51 in the 352ndFg and while he made no kills in this particular aircraft he did in his earlier mustang “B” model in which he scored three killed in the air plus four “damaged”


Thanks to my Osprey "Mustang aces of the  352nd FG" book!!
Photobucket

The decal sheet matches the reference pictures that come with the decals as well as an independent picture I found in the “Bluenose” 352nd FG book I had to hand. The mouth and teeth are correct which with such an importance on this part of the aircraft is imperative.

Photobucket

A nice bit of research by Eaglecals was the identification of the overspray of blue on the propeller blades of this and some of the other blue nosed Mustangs in this squadron. A nice find and definitely a talking point at the modelling tables when someone says you haven’t masked the aircraft props very well!

In conclusion – very well researched with a few hidden options on  Hun Hunter – these decals I can say for a FACT go on to the intended kit very well – and stay there with minimum of fuss from the modeller – really I cannot say much more than you have seen with your own eyes already – if you are after any or all of these schemes than this is the decal sheet you will want to buy for the P-51D.

Thanks to the lovely people at EagleCals for these excellent decals.
Photobucket

See more Mustang sheets from EagleCals