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1:32 and 1:48 Wet Transfer Stencils (Various) HGW Catalogue # see article for code and price Available from HGW This, of course, isn't the first time we've looked at the new series of Wet Transfer from HGW, but this series is now expanding quite rapidly. We have been sent the latest releases in 1:48 and 1:32, so we'll take a look at each set independently, and what they offer the modeller, over the standard, traditional decal. 'But surely, these are decals', I can hear you say. Technically, yes they are, but that's where the comparison ends. These are like a halfway house between the regular decal and the dry-rub down decals that have made appearances over the years. Where these differ is that you get all the benefits of a carrier-filmless decal (as per the rub down stencils), but with all the convenience of the traditional decal that you apply with water and setting solution. Of course, masks are always another option for regular decals, but certainly not for stencils. That solution is totally unworkable. Adding regular stencil decals to a model, means you will always have that excess carrier film present, that you so desperately try to hide with setting solutions, gloss varnish etc. If you use masks for the remainder of your model, then this compromise in realism is something you've had to live with. Well, no longer! When these decals are added, there is NO carrier film whatsoever. All you are left with is the stencil....... The sets we have in 1:32 are: 232001, Spitfire Mk.IX Stencils, 159 Kč 232006, Messerschmitt Bf 109E Stencils, 295 Kč 232008, P-51D,J,K Mustang Stencils, 295 Kč Those in 1:48 248001, Spitfire Mk.IX Stencils, 159 Kč 248008, P-51D,J,K Stencils, 159 Kč 248009, Messerschmitt Bf 109F,G,K, 159 Kč 232001, Spitfire Mk.IX Stencils This set is presented in a slim, re-sealable wallet, with a tough card stiffener to stop it getting bent, and damaging the contents. Like all sets, the basic instructions are shown on the cover. These are: Cut out the required decal Soak in hot water (tepid!!) and wait until the decal loses its base paper Apply as a regular decal Push the water from below the decal Leave to dry for 3 to 4 hours Remove the transfer foil and remove any glue residue with water You will note I inserted the word 'tepid' into there. I would never advise you use hot water for decals, and as I've previously used the rivet decals, which work on the same principle, I know you can use tepid water. Also not mentioned here is the use of a decal setting solution. With the rivets, I do use this, but I don't know what the result would be here. You're best testing a spare decal first. This particular set contains a complete set of stencil decals, including the narrow wing walkway lines. Being fastened to the carrier whilst you apply them does mean that decals such as these are far easier to apply than regular decals. HGW has produced a very comprehensive stencil set here that could completely remove the need to use those in the Tamiya or PCM kits etc, and the result is that when they are applied, they will literally look like they have been painted onto the model. What's more, these decals are so fine and sharp that you can read the test on just about every single one! A decal placement guide is obviously included, and this shows in detail where everything needs to be applied, using a regular numbering system. All very self-explanatory. 232006, Messerschmitt Bf 109E Stencils Now, here we see something very different. First of all, this sleeve is much larger than the Spitfire stencil set, and secondly is that this is far MORE than a stencil set. Yes, the stencils are included here in their entirety, including fuel tank decals and wing walk decals in both black and red, but here we see a radical departure from the 'stencil only' set. The same small, narrow sheet also contains kill tally markings and other items such as the Mickey Mouse that adorned Adolf Galland's JG26 machine. I'm presuming the other markings here are for the same. They certainly look like it to me. Now, there is a second, LARGER sheet. In fact, it's twice the size of the first, and this contains no stencils whatsoever. What it does contain are many common markings and unit emblems. All of these are in the same format as the stencils, meaning the decal should look like the next best thing to applying masks. This is quite an extraordinary set which will no doubt satisfy the requirements of many Luftwaffe builders. There are also kill tallies etc. As with the Spitfire set, drawings are given for the location of the stencils, but NOT for the aircraft markings. You'll have to check your references before you use those, as they are simply designed to replace what you may be using for your scheme anyway. You still won't get away from using regular kit decals for the national markings, but in this case, I would suggest you go for masks for those. 232008, P-51D,J,K Mustang Stencils One thing you can say about the P-51, it was FULL of stencil data! Again, this set comes in the larger size wallet because it also includes more than simple stencils, although only one sheet is used here. About half of the sheet is taken over to stencils (and there appear to be hundreds of them), and there are a few decals that are optional, depending on which variant of Mustang you are building. The remainder of the sheet is taken over again with personal markings and emblems/codes for actual schemes. In this case, I can identify these aircraft: P-51D, 473305, 4th FG, 334th FG, 'Blondie', flown by Lt. Marvin W. Arthur, February 1945 P-51D, 411622, G4-C 'Nooky Booky IV', 362nd FS, 357th FG, Major 'Kit' Carson', Suffolk, England P-51D, HO-M, "Petie 2nd" As with the Me 109E set, you will need to source your own information for the placement of these non-stencil decals. I will only briefly summarise the 1:48 sets, as most has been covered above. All sets are packaged into the narrow wallet, and the Mustang set appears to be identical to the 1:32 version, with everything simply scaled down. What is remarkable is that I can STILL read the stencils, at 1:48 scale!! All the same stencils are included, as well as the scheme markings. As per the 1:32 version, the 1:48 Spitfire set contains stencils only, while the Bf 109F,G,K set contains both Balkenkreuz and specific machine markings, to compliment the comprehensive stencils set. I'd go as far as to say that there are enough stencils for two models here also. Conclusion I very much like the concept of stencils with zero carrier film. I've not actually used any of these in anger yet, but intend to on future builds. What's really pushed these for me is the inclusion of scheme markings too. Perhaps we'll see scheme sets released by HGW in future? I'd like to think so. By themselves, the stencils make a great addition to your Spitfire/Bf 109E and Mustang builds, and I hope HGW extend this to include the Fw 190, and also generic stencils to cater to those kits which simply don't supply them in regular form. Highly recommended My sincere thanks to HGW for these review samples. To purchase directly, click the links in the review. James H