FCM 32-03: Spad XIII

Units: See review




John Tooley


      I won't go into the history of the SPAD XII, as it's been done in other reviews of the aircraft. However it's nice to see someone come up with some large scale decals other than a French flown aircraft. I'm personally hoping for more. This sheet has some interesting options, but beware! These are not your fathers decals!

      The first  option is  from Italy, (lots of color in this one) Maj. Francesco Baracca of the 91st Squadriglia in 1918. The next 2  are French, Michel Joseph Callixte of SPA-154, and Antonim Gauthier of SPA-80. Both options have some nice color for those trying to co-ordinate. From the references I have available these seem to be pretty dead-on. All the aircraft have the standard French 5 color scheme. But BEWARE! some of the aircraft are  Bleriot built , and others are Kellner built. The visible differences are in the shape and placement of the camoflage colors. More on that later.

       The next (and last) 2 options are  (naturally) Eddie Rickenbacker, of the 94th Aero, and Lt. Charles R. D'Olive, of the 93 Aero. Here's where I found some small glitches in the markings. I can't find a pic of Lt. D'Olive's plane, but I did find another of the same unit with a different plane number. The decal sheet only has one large number for the top wing, but none for the bottom wing. Capt. Eddies aircraft has some glitches as well, even tho there are probably as many pics of it as there are of "the Memphis Belle". Using  "Medal of Honor; Aviators of World War One", by Alan E. Durkota as a reference (because it has pics of the plane from every angle), here's the differences. First off, it should not have a red-white-blue stripe on the upper wing. It should only be a red-white stripe. It should also be repeated on the bottom of the lower wing. The sheet only has one large #1 for the top right wing, and none for the bottom lower wing. there should be one for the bottom lower left. However if you get the "SPAD ACES" edition of the kit  you can use the #1 from that as those decals are also wrong. The only other glitch is the lack of the small white patches covering the bullet holes, with an iron cross painted in them. However these were applied at different times and there is several pics without them. There are also pics of the plane with only round white patches without the iron cross painted in yet.

         OK. Now about the shape and placement of the camo colors. The 2 different factories building this aircraft, Bleriot and Kellner, put the colors on differently. After studying some period pics of different airframes it is VERY noticable as to the shape and placement of the colors. FCM has provided a set of B&W instructions on the back of the decal sheet explaining this, and could be utilized in the future if you know who made the airframe of a particular SPAD. The sheet also comes with a set of instrument gage faces that are a welcome addition.

        On to the decals themselves. They come with a VERY thick protective coat on the decal. There is a small insert sheet explaining this. It says to wait until the decal has set (before you overcoat it), and use the point of a hobby knife or tape to lift it off. I decided to use one of the  red-white-blue stripes for Capt. Eddies plane as a test on some old sheet. After painting and all the stuff involed I decaled it. After it dried it looked like 'Pike's Peak ' setting on top of the decal. After 24 hours I lifted a corner with a hobby knife then used tape to pull it up. I was worried that the decal would come too. It didn't. In fact it seems almost like a dry-transfer, and is SUPER thin. Other than the small glitches (which I think can be overcome.), I would say it is a very good sheet, and would like to see more.

    These decals are avilable from Flight Decs online at

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