Spada Decals

1/72 or 1/48 or 1/32 or 1/24 French Hellcat decal sheet

product # SD-LL-LCAT01/FR for 11 (Euros)

Review by Steve Bamford on July 10 2008

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This new decal sheet from Spada Decals includes markings for 10 different 1/32 French Hellcats in colonial French Indochina (Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam) that will permit you to build 2 complete aircraft.  This sheet is also available in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/24. 

You get a huge variety of aircraft and one thing that is worth noting, all the aircraft on this decal sheet were from actual reference photos.  The profiles are derived from Spada Decals interpretation of these photos, with sometimes a small percentage of doubt (indicated each time on the decal sheet). These decals are printed on 3sheets of decal film much like decals printed on an ALPS printer, so you will need to cut each decal from the backing paper with the use of sharp X-acto knife.  The decals don't seem to be delicate as some of the decals from other manufactures can be.  More about using these decals can be found further down in this review.

Some of the markings that contain white lettering etc are printed on white decal paper.  For Serial # numbers this means the numbers are the white decal paper and there is a blue square printed around the numbers.  The challenge is to make sure your blue paint matches this blue decal printing around the Serial # numbers or you can carefully cut out each white number with very little of the blue surrounding the number on the decal sheet.....the second option is the way I would go (especially if your paint doesn't quite match).

The planes included on this decal sheet are the following:

  • 1) F6F-5, II.F.II Serial # 348,  Flottille 11F 1953 (?) Indochina
  • 2) F6F-5, Serial # unknown, 12eme Flottille de Chasse embarquee, 1954 Indochina
  • 3) F6F-5, IF.7 Flottille 1F. 1951 (?) 1953 Indochina
  • 4) F6F-5, 11.F.3.1, Serial # 348, Flottille 11F 1951- 1953 Indochina
  • 5) F6F-5, 12f.2, Serial # unknown, 12eme Flottille de Chasse embarquee, 1954 Indochina
  • 6) F6F-5, 1.F.4, Serial # 78418, Flottille1F, Porte anions Arromaches ou Lafayette, 1951- 1953 Indochina
  • 7) F6F-5, 12.F.20 Serial # 781, Flottille 12F Porte anions Arromaches , 1953 Indochina
  • 8) F6F-5, 11.F.20, Serial # 79404, Flottille 11F Dien Bien Phu , April 26 1954
  • 9) F6F-5, BuNo 93901 du  GC 1-6 June 1951 
  • 10) F6F-5, BuNo 79542 du  GC 2-9 December 1952 

Click on images below to see larger images

  

The instructions are mostly in French and if you don't read French you can go to http://babelfish.yahoo.com/?fr=avbbf-us and type in the text and have it translated into your language of choice.  This will be helpful as the instructions do include info about the markings on particular aircraft.  You get one side profile of each aircraft with partial profiles for the other side when possible or needed.  The decals are nice quality and are  printed on 3 decal sheets.  This decal sheet will permit you to make 2 of the 10 different aircraft featured on this decal sheet.  

Here's some instructions from the Spada Decals website regarding using and installing their decals.

How to use "Laser Line" decals :

  • 1- Using a new scalpel blade, cut as closely as possible around the motives chosen, exercising only a small pressure in order to cut the decal film but not the paper underneath. This can be done quite
    safely, with no danger to slip away, provided you stay calm and contentrated.

  • 2- Separate the motive and its paper background from the decal sheet, taking care not to damage the other motives. 

  • 3- Put the decal on water, with the motive on the upper side. It is not necessary to cover it with water.

  • 4- Let the paper soak water for some 20 seconds or the time necessary according to the water used 
    (tepid water). With some practice, this can be determined quite accurately.

  • 5- Remove the decal from water and delicately take it away from its paper background, preferably 
    with tweezers.

  • 6- Softly put the decal on your model after the latter's surface has been carefully prepared, put it in
    the correct place and slightly press it with a soft cloth or absorbing paper.

A few useful details :

  • 1- test your softening liquid before using it. We have tested our decals with several brands that are
    available on the market but we haven't tried every one of them. In theory, it is not necessary to varnish 
    decals before they are used.

  • 2- It is possible for you to enhance the sticking power of a decal using a specific product (e.g. Blue 
    Microscale). It is also possible for you to dilute white glue into water and to put a drop of it under the decal or on the plastic part before the decal is set on your model.

This is a fine decal sheet and it does include a huge number of French Hellcats during the special time in history shortly after WW2 when the French forces were active in Indochina. 

Steve

I would like to thank Spada Decals for providing me with this review sample.

Photos and text by Steve Bamford