Pheon Models specialise in WWI aircraft decals and, considering this is their fifth issue and they only launched in late February 2009, their release schedule has been prolific.
This release is intended for the 1/32 Hispano engined SE5a kitted by Roden and Wingnut Wings. Some modellers may not be aware that the Wingnut cockade decals are slightly oversized - these decals will remedy that problem and provide many more markings options to set your model apart from the others.
Printing is by Fantasy Printshop, a UK decal printer with an excellent reputation. The decals are thin, in perfect register and appear to have good opacity.
Pheon have researched each subject meticulously and the cockade colours have been matched to the latest research. The A4 sheet is packed with markings for eight aircraft:
B189, Capt JH Tudhope (10 victories), 40 Sqn, B891, Capt G McElroy (46 victories), 24 Sqn, D5969, Lt C Lagesse (20 victories), 29 Sqn, F5910, Capt W Claxton (Canadian, 37 victories incl 2 balloons), 41 Sqn C1752, Lt F Taylor (Canadian, 10 victories), 41 Sqn B4863, Capt J McCudden, 56 Sqn, B525, Lt A Rhys Davids (25 victories), 56 Sqn. B4891, Capt J McCudden (57 victories), 56 Sqn, modified cockpit sides, exhaust and LVG spinner.
Note that in the case of Rhys-Davids aircraft, although the aeroplane is the one he flew in the Voss dogfight, the markings are for a slightly later period. At the time of the famous dogfight the squadron markings were small dumbbells on the rear fuselage and two days later these were replaced by the better known white band.
There are sufficient cockades and markings for two whole models to be completed, one with white-outlined cockades and without the white outlines.
The Palmer Aero decals in the Wingnut kit have incorrect tyre sizes (700x70 as opposed to 700x100). The Pheon sheet includes correct Palmer Aero decals to overcome this issue but unfortunately the curvature doesn't quite fit the Wingnut wheels. Pheon's instructions acknowledge the curvature issue and suggest modellers make the correction by using the Wingnut words with the Pheon numbers.
The cockade decals for the upper wing feature separate aileron sections but Pheon did not provide this for the lower wing cockades. This minor shortcoming was picked up after the run had been printed, and is acknowledged by Pheon. It is not difficult to correct.
A very attractive feature of all the Pheon decal sets are full colour decal placement guides printed on glossy card. In this set there are five A4 sized sheets showing side top and bottom views of all the aircraft. Very impressive artwork.
A bonus feature for Wingnut SE5a modellers is a novel idea for correcting the curious lack of rib or stitching detail for the fin and rudder. Pheon have included some extra thick tape and stitching decals and detailed placement instructions.
My overall impression is that these decals are very impressive. Quality is top-notch and value for money is excellent (notwithstanding the price). Overall accuracy and colours are first rate. Rowan Broadbent is a pleasure to deal with and each sheet is checked before it is despatched. Thanks to Pheon for the review samples.
The decals are available direct from Pheon Models at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Post & packing is £1.10 to the UK, £1.57 to European destinations and £2.09 to the rest of the world. Payment is via Paypal or for UK customers, cheque.
Until Pheon’s website is finished, you can check out their products here: http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?showforum=227
The next release is 1/32 Bristol F2B Westerm Front Aces, again for the Wingnut kit. A review will be posted very soon.
Highs: Perfect register, meticulous research and accuracy, lots of markings options, excellent support material Lows: Not inexpensive, but unavoidable considering low production volumesVerdict: These top quality decals from Pheon will make your Wingnut SE5a stand out from the rest.
About James Fahey (Jamo_kiwi) FROM: WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND
I started modelling Airfix kits in the late '60s, eventually building most of the range and hanging them from the ceiling of my bedroom. In my teens I did a bit of wargaming, first WWII then Ancients using 28mm white metal figures. My first foray into WWI modelling was also for wargaming and I built...