Decal and Aftermarket Products

After buiding models "straight from the box" for a while, many modellers want to do something to make their model stand out from the crowd. This is easy to do with aftermarket decals, photoetch, and resin products.

The cheapest and easiest "conversion" is normally just new markings, courtesy of a new set of decals. These normally run (for a 1:48 aircraft) from $3 to $10, with larger or special sets higher ($15-$20.) Most of them have the major markings for several different aircraft, though you may need to use kit insignia and stencilling if you do more than one or two.

The next step up is photoetched detail. This is fine, etched metal, normally on a "fret." You need a good blade or photoetch nippers to cut the parts out. These can be anything from small details to spruce up a kit (or correct it) such as rudder pedals, a seat (which must be bent to shape,) or dropped flaps, to full cockpits and conversions. These will also run from $3 to the $30s normally, depending on how involved the fret is. The most commonly used photoetched parts are doors, instrument panels (normally with a film "backing" for the instruments,) rudder pedals and seat belts. They have the advantage of being more "to scale," thickness-wise, for things like flaps and doors, but they take more work getting parts assembled. If you want to see what's involved, go to Aircraft Resource Center's Instruction Sheet Library.

Next comes resin. You'll normally see cockpits and engines redone with this material. It's also good for more complex conversions (new wings, fuselage sections, and the like) but it is heavy, expensive, and care must be taken while working with it (use a mask while sanding parts, as the dust can be harmful.) Resin (and other forms, such as combination kits, white metal, and vacform) are the most expensive (small parts like tires can run $3 for a set, larger sets can get into the %50-$60 range) but with practice, they can make for outstanding one of a kind models.

Now that you know what we're looking at, let's see what's out there.


Manufacturer Part No. Scale Name Description
Leading Edge 48.7/72.7 1:48 (48.7) or 1:72 (72.7) Canadian 70 Years F-18 Special Canadian armed forces 70 Year Anniversary limited run sheet
Mike Grant Decals Jaguar International 1/48 or 1/72 Jaguar International Nigerian AF and Indian AF Markings for two Indian and two Nigerian Jaguars.
Mike Grant Decals Captured Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden 1/48 or 1/72 Captured Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden Markings for captured J2M
Mike Grant Decals Canadair CF-5A/D 1/48 or 1/72 Canadair CF-5A/D Markings for four Canadian Aggressor aircraft
Mike Grant Decals Greek/Bahrain F-16C/D 1/48 or 1/72 Greek and Bahrain AF F-16C/D Markings for one Greek and one Bahrain AF F-16
Aeromaster Finnish Aces of WWII 1/48 Finnish Aces Markings for multiple WWII Finnish aircraft
Mike Grant Decals Foreign Gladiators 1:48 or 1:72 Foreign Gladiators 48-MGD001 or 72-MGD0001 Five foreign Gladiators
Twobobs Decals 48-008 1/48 Two Japanese F-15DJ Aggressor aircraft
Twobobs Decals 48-009 1/48 A-10 Experimental Camo Warthogs Two experimental schemes