by: Mecenas [ ]
This article presents two of the latest products from Caracal Decals dedicated to the 1:48 scale MiG-29's in special commemorative schemes of Polish Air Force. Uniqueness of these markings consists on the large and eye-catching portraits of famous Polish ace pilots from the 303 Polish Fighter Squadron “Kościuszko” painted on the inner sides of vertical stabilizers and big badges of the “Kościuszko Squadron” painted on the upper fuselage side. This schemes were started to be painted on the Fulcrums of Polish 1 ELT since July 2012, when the first two planes were presented to the public. The target is to paint all planes of the unit in this manner to commemorate the heroes who wore the “Kościuszko Badge” during the Polish-Russian war in 1920 and Battle of Britain.
These two sets by Caracal products allows to almost completely decal each of the depicted machines. Their design and history was consulted with the authors of the artworks on the original planes and based on their reference materials. This fact, for me, guarantees a high quality, good reproduction and accuracy of the drawings. Caracal provides a short biography note about the pilots and a brief history of the “Kościuszko Badge”, from its creation by Lt. Elliot Chess in 1920 to the present day. These sections were prepared by Wojtek Matusiak, a well known Polish aviation historian.
Portraits printed on the decal sheet are two-toned. Third tone will be created by the plane camouflage colour so this is quite essential to accurately paint the fins of a model carefully capturing placement and shape of the patches. Caracal recommends to use the Great Wall Hobby kit of MiG-29 type 9-12 although decal should also fit to the well known Academy release of the single-seater variant. However I wonder how the middle section of the fuselage badge will fit to the shape and size of the spine from Academy kit.
Huge Kościuszko Badge from the fuselage is sliced into three parts. Decaling instruction suggests to place first the middle section on the plane spine and carefully fit it to the kit making sure that the stripes are parallel to the planes centreline. This step is crucial and if you will do it correctly all what you will need to do in next steps will be just placing and aligning both outer sections, also making sure that the stripes are parallel.
Camouflage colours suggested by Caracal are provided in accordance to Federal Standard (FS) numbers, there's no suggestion or recommendation of any popular brand of hobby paints. Painting schemes depicted in the set have an interesting feature. Schemes are printed in 1:96 scale. If you want to create a custom mask for your 1:48 model you just have to enlarge the instruction by 100%, for example on the photocopier, use scissors and voila. Good idea Caracal!
Decals were printed by a subcontractor company which was the Italian Cartograf. As usual, also in these sets, this company has done good job. Carrier film is reasonably thin and glossy. Its transparency, crucial for the portraits, is perfect. There's absolutely no misalignment of colours, borders, lines etc. You can read most of the stencils without special difficulty, but the smallest ones, numbered from 15 to 20, are unreadable even under the magnifying glass. Unfortunately there are few errors on the stencils. Although the text is correct and without spelling errors some stencils don't have Polish diacritics. Thankfully this is not very noticeable on the stencils but I am sure some users may be disappointed. Thankfully the Mirosław Ferić name is written with its correct diacritics. In the set no.48030 dedicated to the plane numbered “56” one stencil is omitted – the blue “GOLDEN EYE” which can be noticed right under the IR sensor on the nose. And that would be all of the errors which I can find.
I am very glad these decals are available on the market. As the GWH model kit of Fulcrum proved to the successful I hope that Caracal product won't be less popular. These are really beautiful painting schemes commemorating and honouring real heroes of the Polish Air Force. Attractiveness of the great plastic model combined with these decals can benefit in really unique model on the display shelve or contest table. I hope to see many of these type soon.
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