Wednesday, May 7

Gary reviews the new FABRIC Remove Before Flight tags in 1/48th scale from Eduard

Gary has a need – a need for speed – but before he takes off he always removes his “Remove before flight” tag – and today he looks at the latest in removable cloth from Eduard with their special fabric tags in 48th scale

Eduard Remove Before Flight FABRIC 1/48
Kit No: 49068
Designed for: Any 1/48 Aircraft
1/48 scale
Textile parts: 1
Photo Etch parts: 1
Available from: Eduard directly & most model shops

Remove Before Flight (RBF) streamers are a safety warning device commonly seen on removable aircraft and spacecraft components, typically in the form of a red ribbon, to indicate that a device, such as a protective cover or a pin to prevent the movement of mechanical parts, is only used when the aircraft is on the ground (parked or taxiing).
Typical use includes pitot tube covers or control locks. In some cases, non-removal of a labeled part have caused airplane crashes. The warning appears in English only. Similar ribbons labelled Pull to arm or similar are found on missiles and other weapon systems that are not mounted on aircraft. (source: Wikipedia)

RBF flags comes in many shapes and sizes but all serve the common goal of being colorful and hopefully impossible to miss when preparing the aircraft (or any other streamlined body) for flight.
Real life RBF flags are used and abused, being rolled and folded up and stowed in all sorts of places when not is use. When they are in use they are exposed to the elements and deteriorate very quickly. They are made typically of polyester fabric which frays at the edges.

Eduard have been providing modelers with ready to use RBF streamers in photo etch brass (49-009) for some time. These are great as they are pre-painted with the white lettering already in place. All you needed to do was to cut them off the fret and attach to your model with wire.

These brass streamers do have their draw backs though: they do not bend and twist realistically like fabric and they do not have a textured surface like the real thing. For the most part these limitations are not that evident at 1/48 scale or even the larger 1/32 scale and so we lived with them.

A strange thing about us scale modelers is that we are ALWAYS looking for a better way to do something, even if the current solution appears to be more than adequate. Eduard’s collaboration with HGW has once again come to the rescue as we can now obtain what may well be the ultimate RBF streamers. They are pre-painted and made from actual textured fabric which means they behave just like the real thing.
The 1/48 fabric streamers come in a pack of 16 with a small PE fret which contains optional metal attachment hooks.

To look at the new fabric streamers sitting next to the PE items you may be forgiven thinking there is little or no difference, you would however be wrong.
Once you start to work with the fabric streamer you begin to realize the benefits over PE. You simply need to lift the textile fabric off the backing paper and its ready to mount.
Of course before you mount it to your model you may want to follow the Eduard instructions and weather it up a bit. In my testing the textile fabric will put up with bending and squeezing but does not like to be abraded or scratched as it then tends to rip. This stress testing actually highlighted another benefit of the fabric, which is that it allows you to simulate rips and tears more accurately than PE or paper.
Where-ever possible I like to compare a new product to the one it’s meant to be replacing. I weathered up both a new fabric streamer and a PE one. Along the way the fabric streamer got a couple of small tears but I think that just added to the look. A light wash of Vallejo Brown wash and here you see a side by side comparison. To my eye, the fabric streamer on the left is clearly more textured and hangs more naturally than its PE companion. The differences will become even more apparent once you start folding and pushing the fabric streamer into nooks and crannies in a cockpit or an ejection seat, something you just can’t do with a PE or paper streamer.
So there is no doubt that these new fabric streamers look the part and are an improvement over the previous options.

How do they compare in terms of value for money? Checking Eduard’s website a quick calculation reveals that the Fabric streamers work out at around US$0.86 each. The PE streamers which come on much larger frets work out at US$0.21 each. That’s about a ¼ of the cost of the fabric streamers.

It may be that having a mixture of the new fabric streamers and the PE streamers may be the way to go, reserving the more flexible fabric items for highly visible places like cockpits.

Regardless of how you end up using them on your model I’m confident you will be impressed with the end result.

Gary Wickham

Thanks to Eduard Model Accessories for sending us these to use on our jets..