KITS AT WAR


K7/17 1/72 SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE


Review by Craig Thompson


 

Presentation


Dutch Decals sheet K7/16 arrived in a zip-loc bag with a folded A4 size full colour instruction sheet. This sheet covers a number of aircraft of the South African Air Force in 1/72nd scale.

The instruction sheet


The A4 sized double-sided full colour instruction sheet shows decal placement and recommends which kit to use for the model. Paint colours are also suggested although I had to search the instructions to determine that the colour codes referred to Xtracolour, information which I eventually located at the bottom right hand corner of the Mohawk option scheme.

The options

The decals cover the following aircraft:

  • Short Sunderland GR. V. PP156/1712, No 35 Sqn. SAAF, Congella Dunbar, SA, 1945. Extra Dark Sea Grey over White scheme.
  • Beaufort II. AW313.F, No 16 Sqn. Misurata, 238 Wing, SAAF, 1945, Pilot:L.G. Downer. Extra Dark Sea Grey/Dark Slate Grey over Sky scheme.
  • Marauder Mk.II (B-26-C). FB443. K. No 24 SQN. SAAF, N-Africa, 1944. Olive Drab over Neutral Grey scheme.
  • Mohawk F.Mk.I. 2511. Noord Transvaal, No 4 Sqn, SAAF, Abyssinia, 1941.
  • Mohawk F.Mk.I. 2537. No 3 Sqn, SAAF, Abyssinia, 1941.
  • Mohawk F.Mk.I. 2518. No 3 Sqn, SAAF, Abyssinia, 1941. Dark Earth/Dark Green over Sky scheme.
  • Kittyhawk F.Mk.IV. 5082, 16, No 11 Sqn, O.T.U. SAAF, Waterkloof, 1944.
  • Kittyhawk F.Mk.IV. 5077, R, No 11 Sqn, O.T.U. SAAF, Port Elizabeth, 1945.
  • Kittyhawk F.Mk.III. FR817, No 5 Sqn, SAAF, Italy 1944. Dark Earth/Middle Stone over Azure Blue scheme.
  • Kittyhawk 5077 “R” has a White sharks mouth with Red and Yellow centre.
  • Junkers-52/3m, 26, SAAF. Aircraft used for ferry flights between SA and North Africa. Dark Green over Azure Blue scheme.

The decals

The decals are printed in register, with minimal carrier film. The roundels are printed in two colours only, blue/white or blue/orange. The orange centres for the blue/white roundels as well as the yellow surrounds for some of the fuselage roundels being supplied as separate items.

The fin flashes on the left-hand side of the decal sheet had the centre white stripe thinner than those printed on the right hand side of the sheet.

The nose art for the Marauder was on a separate 15mm square sheet, which fell out when I opened the bag and nearly got lost. A white backing for the nose art is printed on the main sheet.

For the Kittyhawk F.Mk.IV, 5082 scheme the white shark teeth are provided but the red/yellow centre of the shark’s mouth has to be painted, which may pose a challenge.

I decided that the Ju52/3m with all its corrugations would be a good test for the decals.

Decal application

I used an Italeri kit and not having Xtracolour paints finished it in Humbrol Matt US Dark Green (116) over Azure Blue (157) followed with a coat of Tamiya gloss clear to give a smooth surface for the decals to go on.

The decals slid off their backing sheet after a few seconds in warm water and were easily positioned on the model. They are fairly thick and even after several applications of Microsol showed some reluctance to settle into the surface corrugations.

The port side fuselage roundel was softened with further applications of Microsol and coaxed into the corrugations with a cotton bud. This was a bad move as the decal now took on an oval appearance due to the shortening of the vertical dimension compared with the horizontal one.

The end result was that the by the next day the decals still had a slightly corrugated appearance but did not conform totally to the kit surface.

The orange roundel centres were added to the wing underside and fuselage sides along with more Microsol.

The yellow fuselage surrounds went on well with no gaps showing.

The next option to be considered was to slit the decals along the corrugations, which I did on the centre line of the port decal resulting in having to touch the areas up with white & orange paint.

At this stage I decided to leave the decals as they were, as they did not look too bad.

Density was good with the white areas not showing any signs of the underlying colour.

Washing off any residual decal solvent was next followed by another coat of gloss clear to seal the decals in, finished off with a coat of Testors Dullcote Lacquer.

The end result was satisfactory with only a small amount of silvering showing at the fuselage serial numbers due to me not having trimmed the carrier film closely.

Conclusion

The decals are well presented and of good quality except for being slightly thick, although this is probably the price one pays for their good colour density.

The ability to settle into the corrugations of the Ju52 surface are probably the hardest test for any decal and unfortunately these ones fail in this respect.

I have used Dutch Decals on other aircraft and found that due to their thickness the best manner to get them to go into recessed panel lines is slit them along the lines with a razor or soften them with Microsol and coax them in with the end of a toothpick.

In all other respects they score 9/10 but due to their thickness I can only give them an overall 7/10.

 


 

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