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In-Box Review
PrintScale Decals

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Originally published on:

Antonov-2/4 - 1/72 scale
This is the only aftermarket sheet I've ever seen for this workhorse of the former Eastern-Block, and it's a very comprehensive set with markings for 6 aircraft and is matt-printed in an almost incredible 10 colours!

1. An-2 - VVS DDR in the 1980s, with a yellow fuselage and sky blue wings.
2. An-2 - Aeroflot, 1980, in white and blue with red trim and cheat lines.
3. An-2 - Management Polar Aircraft, 1980, in overall yellow.
4. An-2 - Sosnoviy Bor flying club, Lomahi, sand overall with orange wing-tips.
5. An-4 seaplane - VMF, overall mid-blue
6. An-2 - Aeroflot, 1990, white and blue with red trim and cheat lines.

Considering the sheer number of colours (which surely must test the printers to the limit!), the registration is excellent. I noticed a slight misalignment on a couple of markings (e.g. the Russian national flags), but these can easily be trimmed. The sheet is absolutely packed with markings. There are a few stencils which are numbered, bust the rest of the items are laid out in a rather haphazard way, which probably has more to do with fitting everything onto one sheet than grouping designs for easy identification.

The instruction sheet is printed in full colour and includes some reference photos. The limited text is bi-lingual and contains Humbrol colour matches. Really, the only criticism I can make is that the instruction sheet is very small (something common to all the PrintScale sets) - all the detail you need is there, but the artwork is reproduced to small for easy reference.

72-002 - Fw 190 A2-9
You can hardly call PrintScale unambitious! This small sheet contains markings for - wait for it! - 15 a/c! Thankfully, the sheet is much better organised this time, with each subject clearly separated. This time the instructions are written entirely in what I imagine must be Ukrainian, although the units and dates are simple enough to pick out. I haven't tried to cross-check them against other references for accuracy but the variety is huge. For the review, I'll quote the colours, as best I can, from the instructions, but I recommend you check your own refs if possible:

1. Fw 190A-2, W.Nr 20205, 7./JG2, 1942. RLM 74, 75 & 76.
2. Fw 190A-3, 12(Jabo)./JG5, 1943. RLM 74, 75 & 76.
3. Fw 190A-4, 1./JG54, 1942. Winter finish.
4. Fw 190A-4, W.Nr 746, Hptm. Siegfried Schnell, 9./JG2, 1943. RLM 74, 75 & 76.
5. Fw 190A-4, Peter Bremer, I./JG54, 1943. RLM 70 & 71 splinter camo over RLM 76 undersides.
6. Fw 190A-8, W.Nr 350185, Karl-Heinz Koch, 12./JG5, 1945. RLM 74, 75 & 76
7. Fw 190Aa-3, Turkish Air Force, 1942-43. RLM 74, 75 & 76 with RLM 70 mottling.
8. Fw 190A-8, W.Nr 732197, 9./JG5, 1945. RLM 74, 75 & 76
9. Fw 190A-3, W.Nr 0552, Hptm. Joseph Priller, III./JG26, 1942. RLM 74, 75 & 76 with RLM 02 / 74 mottling.
10. Fw 190A-3, Hptm. Heinrich Kraft, I./JG51(?), 1942. RLM 74, 75 & 76 with RLM 74/75 mottling.
11. Fw 190A-9, I./JG6, 1944-45. RLM 74, 75 & 76 with RLM 75 mottling.
12. Fw 190A-8, 12./JG11, 1945. RLM 74, 75 & 76 with RLM 74/75 mottling.
13. Fw 190A-7/R-6, W.Nr 317822, JG1, 1943. RLM 74, 75 & 76 with RLM 74/75 mottling.
14. Fw 190A-4, Oblt. Erich Rudorfer, 6./JG2, 1943. RLM 79B and RLM 80 topsides, RLM 80 undersides.
15. Fw 190A-3, W.Nr 0135508, 14./JG5, 1943. RLM 74, 75 & 76 with RLM 74/75 mottling.

The sheet is again matt-finished and the registration is mostly excellent, but I was a bit concerned about the white outline on a couple of items, which makes me wonder if it's a design (rather than a printing) issue. Swastikas are split to keep the PC brigade happy and a small supplementary sheet supplies some crosses that were printed in reverse on the main sheet. The sheet includes a full set of stencils for 1 a/c and national markings for 2.

Thankfully, the painting instructions include RLM refs which stand out in the cyrillic text, so you can work out what's happening in the small profiles.

007-72 - Lake Hasan and Halhim Gol River Incidents
This sheets takes a completely different approach to the previous two and focuses on an event, rather than a particular type of aircraft. In this case, it's the border clashes between the USSR and Japan in the late 1930s. The sheet covers 14 Soviet aircraft and includes the following types:

1. I-153, 70th Red Army Air Force Regiment. Silver-grey with AII Dark Green wavy "mottle".
2. I-16P, Lt. Katalov, 22nd Red Army Air Force Regiment. Silver-grey undersides, AII Dark topsides.
3. I-153, S. Grivtsev's squadron, Halhim Gol, 1939. Silver-grey overall.
4. I-16 Type 10, flown by Ivan Lakeev. Silver-grey overall with a Black cowling.
5. I-153, flown by V.N. Kachalov, Komissar of the 22nd Red Army Air Force Regiment. Silver-grey with AII Dark Green wavy "mottle".
6. SBM, No. 16/53, flown by Lt A.A. Linkov. Silver-grey overall.
7. I-153, flown by Sqn. Leader Victor Gusarov, 70th Red Army Air Force Regiment. Silver-grey with AII Dark Green wavy "mottle".
8. I-16 Type 10, probably flown by Victor Rakhov, 70th Red Army Air Force Regiment. AII Dark Green topides, AII Blue undersides.
9. I-16 Type 10, 70th Red Army Air Force Regiment. Silver-grey with filed applied Green topsides.
10. I-15bis, of an unknown Sqn. Leader. AII Dark Green topides, AII Blue undersides.
11. I-16 Type 10, unknown unit. AII Dark Green topides, AII Blue undersides.
12. I-16 Type 5, supposedly flown by Maj. A.S. Blagoveschensky. Silver-grey overall with a Black cowling.
13. SB M-103, 38th Regiment . Silver-grey with AII Dark Green wavy "mottle".
14. TB-3 from Egorov's squadron. AII Dark Green topides, AII Blue undersides.

The matt-finished sheet is very well organised and contains complete national and unit markings for each subject. The registration is excellent and, rather cleverly, the black outlines for one style of the stars have been printed separately. Nevertheless, I found a few items were a little ragged at the edges, but to be honest, unless you're planning to model all 13 aircraft, there are plenty of alternative stars in both bright and dull red to overcome any problem.

72-012 - Heinkel He 51
This sheet stands out in two ways. Firstly, the decals are gloss-finished and, secondly, the instructions are solely in English. Markings are provided for 7 aircraft and each scheme is given both RLM numbers and FS equivalents. I'm a bit wary of some of the quoted colours, so check your own refs if possible:

1. He 51 A-1, 3/JG 233, Wien-Aspern, 1938. RLM 01 Silber overall, with RLM 24 Blau cowling.
2. He 51 B-1, Stabsartz Dr. Heinrich Neumann, San/88, Spain, 1937. RLM 80, 81, 83 topsides with RLM 65 undersides.
3. He 51, 2 /JG 88, Spain, 1936. RLM 05 topsides with RLM 80 mottle. RLM 65 undersides.
4. He 51 B, Agram (Zagreb), 1942. RLM 72(?) topsides and RLM 65 undersides.
5. He 51 Gruppo de Gardena I-G-2, Spain, 1937. RLM 62 topsides and RLM 65 undersides.
6. He 51 B, 3/JG 233, Prossnitz, 1942. RLM 01 overall.
7. He 51 B, flown by Staffelkapitan Adolf Galland, 3/JG 88, Spain, 1938. RLM 26, RLM 99(?) and RLM 84(?) topsides with RLM 65 undersides.

The subjects are nicely laid out, but the registration was rather suspect on the review sample. As with the Fw 190 sheet, this is more pronounced on some items than others so, again, it could be a design problem. Full markings are included for every aircraft, so there are plenty of spares for most items to help you work around any problem - it's really only the fuselage markings for Galland's aircraft that look tricky.

1 /48 scale Spanish Civil War markings
Turning to 1/48 scale, PrintScale have come up with something very unusual! A double-sheet of Spanish Civil War Fascist markings. One sheet contains various styles of roundels and other insignia, the second contains the distinctive numerals in 2 different styles - with 2 sizes each.

Strangely, the sheets seem to be un-numbered and contain no instructions, but a quick check through some refs shows how useful this set could prove, as the insignia include examples found on a wide variety of types and, of course, having full sets of numerals means you can basically pick whatever subject you like from the unique Spanish numbering system.

The sheets are matt-finished and absolutely packed with designs - so much so that one roundel actually touches the sheet's title text!

48-008 - Los "Moscas" Atacan!
This sheet could hardly be better timed! With Eduard's brand new I-16 Type 10 just released, PrintScale have come up trumps with no less than 12 Spanish Civil War subjects for the Type 10 and earlier Type 5. Well - I say 12 subjects... but, there are actually a couple of variations, so you've really got 14! The colour of the profiles varies somewhat, so it's not entirely clear what the topside green is in every case.

1. I-16 Type 5, 1938, in what appears to be AII Dark Green.
2. 2 options; I-16 Type 5 or Type10, in what appears to be AII Dark Green.
3. I-16 Type 10, 1944-45. Captured by the Fascists, this seems to be painted Dark Green overall.
4. I-16 Type 5, 1938, in what appears to be AII Dark Green.
5. I-16 Type 10, 1938, in what appears to be AII Green.
6. I-16 Type 5, 1936, in what appears to be AII Dark Green.
7. I-16 Type 5, 1937, in what appears to be AII Green.
8. I-16, 1939, captured by the Fascists and painted in green / brown mottle camouflage over sand topsides.
9. I-16, captured by the Fascists and painted in what might be pale grey or silver with spectacular black cheatlines.
10. I-16 Type 5, 1937/38, in what appears to be AII Green.
11. I-16 Type 5, 1936, in what appears to be AII Green.
12. 2 options: I-16 Type 5, 1936 or Type 6, in what appears to be AII Green.

The sheet is semi-matt finished and the registration on the sample is spot on. As with many PrintScale sheets, this one's really filled to the brim, so you'll have to be careful cutting out some of the designs. There are individual markings for every aircraft, but only one set of Republican rudder-stripes. No matter - PrintScale neatly give FS equivalents for the colours - which many modellers will prefer to paint in any case. The instructions are solely written in Ukrainian (I presume) but the small colourful profiles still make this a very enticing set!

US WW2 / Korea Bombs
The final sheet is available in both 1/72 and 1/48 scales and is a potential goldmine for aircraft modellers! The sheets contain complete sets of stencilling for a variety of US bombs and rockets. The text is legible in both scales and the sheets also include yellow stripes for the weapons - which could save a lot of painting headaches. The only downside is that the neatly illustrated instructions are written solely in Ukrainian, but every item is numbered so this is hardly a major handicap!

The quality of PrintScale's sheets does vary a little. When they're good - they're excellent - and the exciting thing is that the quality is steadily improving. The sheer variety of subjects makes PrintScale stand out and some of what they produce is really unique. Admittedly, the presentation isn't quite up to the highest standards yet, but their instructions are adequate and PrintScale deserve to succeed for daring to be a bit "different" in a competitive market. I have no details of availability worldwide, but these sheets are certainly worth looking out for.

Thank you to PrintScale for kindly supplying the review samples.
PrintScale are a Ukrainian decal producer who have gained a well deserved reputation locally for tackling some subjects which haven't been covered elsewhere, ranging from the Spanish Civil War, through WW2 to late Soviet era aircraft.
  Scale: Other
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  PUBLISHED: May 08, 2006

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2020 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Armorama. All rights reserved.


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