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1:32 Plywood effect decals

James H

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1:32 Plywood effect decals

Old Propeller
Catalogue #: see article for # and price
Available from Nordland Models





We most certainly live in a hobby-world where some of those once previously difficult or onerous tasks are being eradicated. Whilst some modellers find it easy to beautifully replicate wood grain using oils, or perhaps even with brushing the grain itself, some of us do not. With the increase in popularity of World War 1 modelling, we are beginning to see some quite innovative and exciting ideas spring forward to tempt us to be more creative, or to help out where we struggle with those other techniques.


One of those ideas which is catching on quite quickly is the use of decals to recreate those warm timber tones we see both internally and externally on some of these early aircraft. A number of manufacturers have entered this arena, with us looking at the Uschi van der Rosten sets here a while ago. Indeed, I recently completed my 1:32 Bachem Ba 349 Natter for the Military Illustrated Modeller magazine, using Uschi's translucent decal system.




These are, however, a little different in their approach, as they are printed on a 'base-white' background. This means that there is no colour saturation and tint work to prepare beforehand, but on the other hand, this means that these are perhaps more aimed at interior model work. Of course, you can post-shade these decals, but they are far less flexible in that respect.

Old Propeller have sent us TWO of their range of plywood decals. These are:

  • D32037, Plywood Medium, £10.00
  • D32038, Plywood Dark, £10.00

As with Old Propeller's lozenge sets, the A4 Plywood decal sheets are packed into a re-sealable wallet, and have a card insert to help stiffen the pack a little. Another sheet is inserted to the rear which explains decal surface preparation and decal application. The sheet itself is not a large single expanse of plywood, but instead it is broken down into THIRTY individual panels, measuring approximately 28mm x 50mm. The printing itself is done on a laser printer, so there is no issue with any registration which only applies to silk-screen printing methods. However, underneath the laser printing is a silk-screen printed white base which means that the colour you see on the sheet is the colour you will have after application.








The panels themselves carry some extremely varied grain patterns, including some with quite a lot of knots, and some less so. All panels look incredibly real, in fact almost like small pieces of marquetry, I imagine that you could actually create an amazing looking Albatros D.V with this sheet, if you use a little artistic license with regard to the number of knots on some panels. Uschi van der Rosten released a Knotless set to tackle the issue of decaling the exterior of models. You can probably find enough material on these sets to actually create something which isn't too knotty at all. I might give that a try in the near future.




Both decal sets contain the same pattern panels, but only in different shades. The Medium set has the warm timber tones we are used to seeing on models, colour profiles and on reproduction aircraft. To me, it is perfect for using as an exterior decal, if you ignore the knots aspect. The Dark set looks very representative of some of the dark timber panels you see inside these period aircraft, or even exterior, where the shellac varnish has aged and darkened the overall appearance of the wood.


The instructions do also suggest that you can use decal setting solutions to enable these to seat too. The compound curves involved in some fuselage designs would dictate that you need a little assistance in that respect.








As a footnote, these decal sets can also be purchased in Light Plywood too.


The printing quality is exceptional, as I have mentioned in the main text, and these really have me eager to try my hand at that Albatros I always wanted to build. I do think this set also represents excellent value for money in its generous A4 format. You won't have as much flexibility with regard to your finish as you would do with a transparent carrier, but the warmth and tone of the decals should compensate for that. If anyone has built a model and used these, we'd be interested in hearing from you and seeing your finish.




Our sincere thanks to Old Propeller for the review samples used here. To purchase directly, click THIS link.



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