|$ Heck, I don't remember!|
It wasn't that long ago when 1/72 was king. During this time of plenty for the 1" = 6' modeler, there were decal sheets all over the place with new ones coming out all the time. The leader in quality 1/72 sheets at that time was Modeldecal.
Heck, you say, these are not even 'muricans! No they are not. Modeldecals were printed in the home of plastic modeling in general and 1/72 in particular, the United Kingdom. So what was it that made Modeldecal so good.
Well the first thing was their timeliness. If there was a new aircraft or paint scheme, then Modeldecal would have a sheet with that plane on it. Sure, they did sheets for a number of less than new planes, but it was modern aircraft where they made their fame. Not only that, but there were a number of possible models just sitting on the sheet. On some sheets, you'd get several different aircraft types and for some, enough unique markings to choose from a half dozen planes.
Secondly, they had references. Not just a listing of some book you needed to buy, but honest to goodness photographs right in with the decal sheet. You had what you needed right there in front of you. Sometimes the pics were not perfect, but the instructions were so specific that you really didn't need the images. They were just a help. You often got a brief history of the specific aircraft being decaled as well as color information for cockpits and wheel wells.
Finally, the decals themselves were quite good. They were not as ultra-crisp as what we have nowadays, and they were also a bit thicker than anything that Propagteam could produce. But they were guaranteed to stick and stick well. Not only that, but they had good longevity. I have used sheets that were over 25 years old and had no problems with them.
Enough background, let's take a look at a sample sheet. This one is #64 (the last sheet I have is #117, SEAC roundels, so if they went higher, I have no info on what the subjects were). This sheet was produced in 1982, making it twenty years old. There are seven possible models hidden in the sheet. First of all there are three basic types; the Phantom , Hawk, and Tornado. Modeldecal rarely did US aircraft as Microscale was busy covering those aircraft.
There is one Hawk, from 151Sq/2TWU in a wraparound dark green and dark sea grey. A single Tornado is also on the sheet, this one from the TTTE (Tornado Tri-national Training Establishment). It is also in a wrap scheme of dark green and dark sea grey. The meat of the sheet is for the Phantom. It is this time frame that the RAF was moving towards the now ubiquitous greys for its tactical aircraft. One 92 Sq FGR.2 is in the 1977 scheme of dark green/dark sea grey uppers with light aircraft grey lower surfaces. The others are FGR.2s from 19,23 and 56 Squadrons and an FG.1 from 43 Sq. These four planes are in the Barley grey/medium sea grey uppers with light aircraft grey undersides. The appropriate BS 381 (British Standard) numbers are given where appropriate.
There are enough common decals and stencils to do the Hawk, Tornado, green/grey Phantom and one of the three grey Phantoms. Some of the decals need to be gleaned from the kit, but most of what you need is on the sheet. Modeldecal also provided instrument panel decals. Remember, this is before aftermarket got underway so most kits didn't have quality panels. These decals really helped.
To my understanding, Modeldecals are still relatively available. Not sure just which sheets are still around, but to my understanding, Hannants in the UK is handling them. Even when the subjects are used from the sheets, the info sheets make for a great addition to one's reference library!
I should mention that I haven't shown the other sides of the instruction sheets. They contain the Tornado decal placement guide as well as more photos.
Review sheet courtesy of me and my decal library.
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