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1:32 Lozenge Decal (4/5 colour upper & Lower, Fokker D.VII)


Jim H
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1:32 Lozenge Decal (4/5 colour upper & Lower, Fokker D.VII)


Aviattic
Catalogue # See article for detail
Available from Aviattic for £9.75 each +P&P

 

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I've often said that WW1 modellers are experiencing a golden age. This genre has gone from being vastly under-represented in both a kit and aftermarket aspect, to one which is now not only very well catered for, but so much so that it is now attracting new modellers and converts who wish to try something other than a Messerschmitt or an F-15. The likes of Wingnut Wings, HGW, Taurus, and Old Propeller etc. have not only transformed the hobby, but made it readily accessible. Now, there is a new kid on the block. Let me introduce Aviattic.

 

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Aviattic, whilst a new name on our scene, has actually been quietly bubbling away in the background for a few years. Richard Andrews, an ex-antiques restorer and dealer, and his business/creative partner Harry Green, have spent seven years, and countless thousands of hours studying German lozenge fabric, the dyes and their compositions, and the fabrics and their own unique properties. It's a science in itself, and one that these guys have taken very seriously with regard to creating an authentic lozenge product. The last four years alone, Richard and Harry have looked at transferring that knowledge into a miniature form, and producing something which is scale in colour appearance and has the signature textile effect. Not only do these guys have actual pieces of lozenge which still contain the vibrant colours which were used, where they needed to investigate further, examples of materials were referenced in museums, globally. A serious effort has gone into this product.

We have been sent THIRTEEN A4 decals sheets which represent the first of the initial TWENTY-SEVEN different releases that we'll see from Aviattic. These sets are:

  • Fokker D.VII 32/4 U and L, PINK cp
  • Fokker D.VII 32/4 U and L, BLUE cp
  • Fokker D.VII 32/4 U and L, LILAC cp
  • Fokker D.VII 32/4 U and L, LOZ cp
  • 32/4U (Joined and trimmed, 52.25")
  • 32/4U (Full width 54")
  • 32/4L (Joined and trimmed, 52.25")
  • 32/4L (Full width 54")
  • 32/5U (Joined and trimmed, 52.25")
  • 32/5U (Full width 54")
  • 32/5L (Joined and trimmed, 52.25")
  • 32/5L (Full width 54")
  • 32/4-5 Upper and lower interior, reversed pattern, 54"

Our review samples were packaged into a single, large zip-lock wallet with a rather attractive and glossy Aviattic cover sheet, and also a leaflet within which explains a little about lozenge fabric, including the printing and application of the real thing, and some notes about colour and varnish degradation during the very short 'flying life' of these machines. This leaflet is quite an education, and explains a little of the history behind lozenge, plus Richard and Harry's quest to bring you not only the most accurate, but the only truly accurate representation of this rather startling camouflage pattern.

 

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The product list I have given might not be particularly enlightening, so I'll explain further.

These first releases contain FOUR 'cookie-cut' decal sheets for the Fokker D.VII, which are designed in the same way, almost, as the Wingnut Wings products, with the exception being that the wingtips are separately printed. This is to aid application around the rather complex compound curves in this area. "But what if I screw up here?". Aviattic realize that this can be a tricky area, and as such, have supplied an extra set of wingtip decals. The instructions do suggest you can use decal setting solutions, such as Microl Sol. I prefer Mr Mark Setter, so I'll test a piece first to ensure all is well.

 

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This sheet contains panels for the wings and elevators only, with the upper wing being split into 3 panels plus wingtips for upper and lower sides, and the lower wing consisting of a single upper and lower panel, again with separate wingtips. The upper wing ailerons are supplied as separate upper and lower halves.

The fabric effect which has been captured is quite extraordinary. Whilst the Old Propeller sets are a little stylized in their fabric reproduction, and also not as vibrant, these new Aviattic sets capture the authentic vibrancy of the dyes, as well as maintaining a more subtle, but still quite visible linen texture which looks entirely scale in execution.

 

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Rib tapes and edging tapes are printed in situ on these sheets, which leads me into the reason why FOUR sheets are released for these sets. Each set is printed with different colour rib/edge tapes. You can now choose to model your aircraft in loz tapes, or the other more vibrant colours. Unless you see that your specific machine has lozenge, or a light coloured tape that reflects blue for instance, then you can choose whatever colour you wish for your model. It is now generally accepted that there were no hard and fast rules with regard to specific colours for certain factories.

 

All four of these initial Fokker D.VII releases are 4-colour lozenge. Five colour will follow later. Small panels of separate colour are also printed around these sheets, so if you cause any minor damage during application, you can now patch it up! As for the hand print decals.....Richard explained those to me. Very entertaining! ;)

 

Now we'll take a look at what Aviattic refer to as the 'bolt sheets'. These are the 'Full width' and 'joined and trimmed' sets. The rationale here is simple. Aviattic have printed the 'full width' sheet to represent the full width of a bolt (roll), with the decal running along the width of the A4 sheet in 'landscape mode'. This is virtually identical to the manner in which WNW present there, but of course this stuff looks superb, with its vibrancy and fabric texture. The scale width of the fabric roll was 54 inches. This would commonly be used on a fuselage. If you wish to use this product 'edge to edge' on a wing, you'll need to trim a pre-determined strip from either side in order to replicate the material lost during the folding and stitching process. Of course, there is an alternative, and that is the 'Joined and trimmed' sets whose fabric is printed across the A4 sheet in 'portrait mode'. The sheet is also solid, being entirely covered in lozenge whose strip width has been pre-adjusted to take the folding and stitching into consideration.

 

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These sheets are printed in both 4 and 5 colour versions, for both upper and lower fabric designs.

The last sheet is printed in reverse! This is because it represents the pattern as would be seen from the interior of an aircraft, in the cockpit, for example. As the printing process of the fabric, and the qualities of the fabric itself, stop total dye penetration, you will get something which looks more washed out in appearance. Aviattic have supplied their A4 sheet to represent both upper and lower lozenge in this reverse style. Very useful indeed.

 

All decals are also translucent. This means you will need to apply them to a pre-painted and gloss varnished surface. The colours you should lay down should be fairly neutral, such as white, off-white, pale grey etc, and this is the stage where you need to do any pre-shading and basecoat balancing in order to achieve the tints and tones you need. You can also lay down any streaking and oil/grime at this stage too. When you apply your decals over this, the whole appearance should look quite organic, and not contrived. Test your base coat on a scrap piece first in order to check that you have the finish you wish for. Aviattic also explain that the real printing process caused some lozenge to slightly overlap others. At 1:32, this isn't too apparent at first look, but if you look closely, you'll see that this effect has been included too!

 

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Decal trial image, taken from Aviattic

 

All decals are laser printed onto high quality decal sheet from extremely high resolution computer generated graphics, so registration is irrelevant as everything is digitally controlled. Colour representation looks amazing, and as I have mentioned, the fabric texture is incredibly realistic and restrained.

 

Conclusion
Simply the very best lozenge decals I have ever seen, bar none. The work behind these releases is evident, and I know that they weren't released until after much testing and test printing to check both colour accuracy and the scale linen appearance. It's been a long, torturous journey for Richard and Harry, but the result is without doubt, both startling and ultra-realistic. You simply will never use kit decals again after seeing these.

 

Very highly recommended

 

James H

 

Our sincere thanks go to Aviattic for the review sample sheets. To buy these directly, click THIS link.

 

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