Monday, May 31

Cockpit Decal review: "SPACE" 3D Decal / Detail Sets from Eduard in 1/32, 1/48th & 1/72nd scales

Gary's gone into "spaaaaaaaace" - in a big way in his look at Eduard's new Cockpit decal / detail set review. He shows us the sets, explains how they are applied & tells us what we thinks in his review...

Cockpit Decal review: "SPACE" 3D Decal / Detail Sets
From: Eduard
Scale: 1/32, 1/48th & 1/72nd scales
Product Link on the Eduard Website
Eduard have finally joined the 3D Decal revolution with the recent release of their new SPACE range. As yet it's unclear as to whether the SPACE detail sets will completely replace the LooK range of pre-painted resin sets or if Eduard plans to offer both options (as well as continue their long running pre-painted photo etch sets). At the time of writing there were a total of 24 SPACE sets listed on the Eduard site (2 in 1/32, 18 in 1/48 and 4 in 1/72) with more to come no doubt.
The packaging used for the SPACE sets carries on from the earlier LooK sets. The rigid cardboard backing protects both the 3D decal and a small PE fret which typically contains seat belts other small items which could not be rendered in 3D.
Unlike pre-painted photo-etch, Eduard were not the pioneers of 3D printed decals for scale modelling, however being a powerhouse in the aftermarket industry it was only a matter of time before they jumped onboard. If you have not heard about 3D decals before well they look like normal 2D decals but have depth. They are normally made from vinyl and built up using layers so when viewed from the side they have height (like the real thing). Before 3D decals we had to really on getting depth from resin or PE parts, some which came pre-painted etc. 3D decals give us all those benefits in one easy to use package.
Even though the SPACE sets come on decal backing paper, which you dip in water to release them, they do not behave like normal waterslide decals after that. You can hold them with tweezers and I normally use either CA (Super) or PVA glue to adhere them to the model. They have no adhesive of their own and will not grip onto the model like traditional decals of their own accord.
The PE fret, which seems to be included in all the SPACE sets I have seen, is pretty basic and is exactly the same as Eduard's other pre-painted photo-etch technology. Other 3D decal manufacturers provide the seatbelts as 3D decals and I'm not yet decided which gives a more realistic result, PE or 3D decal, for when it comes to belts they need to have depth but still bend and flex naturally.
Eduards assembly instructions are always top shelf and the SPACE set is no exception to this. If you are new to 3D decals be sure to review the recommended install steps:

1.Soak the decal in the warm water for couple of seconds and after its separation from the backing paper position it on the model.
2.To increase decal's adherence use the white glue, Mr. Mark Setter or apply to the glossy surface.
3.Leaving decal in the water for too long can cause its swelling
3D decals are the latest in a line of detail enhancing technologies that Eduard have bought to market. It's a good chance that most modellers will be familiar with at least one of Eduards colour PE or Look resin sets. I therefore thought a side by side comparison would be useful so you can see how the 3D space set compares to something already familiar. Of course these photos are heavily magnified and this makes the colours and details very pixelated. To the naked eye I found the SPACE set to be the sharpest of the three.
One of the other review sets I looked at was designed for the new 1:48 Zvezda Mi-24V. Cockpit color matching is always a challenge with pre-painted detail sets because rather than pick a color that best matches the real aircraft you instead have to find a color that best matches the detail set. Russian turquoise is a tricky color to reproduce and different model paint manufacturers vary considerably. Trial and error (and a bit of manual adjusting) will most likely be needed to get a seamless result with sets like this one.
The way to achieve more 3D height in a set like this is to design it to have layers which are glued one on top of each other. The Mi-24V set uses this technique in a couple of places to achieve realistic relief on the panels. 
You may notice (as I did) that the turquoise green sections are quite grainy and I can only imagine this is a limitation of the machine used to print the vinyl layers. 
Getting solid colors (for other than black) seems to be beyond this technology just yet.
The instruction sheet.
CONCLUSION - Eduard SPACE 3D Decal Sets
There is no doubt that the 3D effect achieved by this technology is certainly expanding the options available to modellers for adding detail to our models. I've heard some modellers refer to this type of accessory as "cheating" because it takes the skill out of the hobby. I'm not sure I entirely prescribe to this view as we have had ever increasingly sophisticated aftermarket accessories being developed for years now to enhance (not replace) the enjoyment we get from making a model. I will certainly have no hesitation on using sets like these on my models if for no other reason than simple convenience.

Gary Wickham

Thank you to Eduard for sending these sets to review. You can find them at this link on the eduard website...