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Wood Grain Decals


Jim H
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Wood Grain Decals


Uschi van der Rosten
Catalogue and price: See article inventory
Available from Uschi van der Rosten and Arrow-Wolf Models

 

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It's been a while since we featured Uschi van der Rosten's original wood grain decal here on SP&R, and I remember it being a product which was released at the perfect time with regard to an explosion of World War 1 modelling. Many things must still surely put modellers off trying this genre. Two of the main ones that come to mind are rigging, and of course depicting the various timber panels and boards that these early birds had.

 

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Of course, it's not just WW1 modelling that benefited from Uschi's wood grain decals, but it also laid the way wide open to many different uses, from dioramas, to civilian vehicles, and also to some rather nice 'bare bones' studies of military aircraft in their bare wood and metal forms. Uschi's decals are unusual in that they still require a number of basic model painting skills to use properly. This of course applies to the sets which we have here now too, and we will come onto that shortly. For a reminder of just what can be achieved with wood grain decal, here is the fuselage of my Wingnut Wings LVG C.VI that I built a couple of years ago. This was completed with a single sheet of the Rich decal. You might think that you need more than one set for these larger 1:32 birds, but it is enough.

 

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I didn't get these new sets of decals in the conventional way, i.e. through the post, with an accompanying email/letter. Instead, I arranged to meet Alex and his wonderful wife in Munich, where we arranged a nice evening meal. Some superb German wine and Weissbier flowed. A much welcomed break with fantastic friends. Accompanied by my wife, we spent a few hours chatting away and Alex explained his ideas to me as he always does. He also brought with him the F-86 Sabre droptank that he'd been using to promote his latest wood veneer decals. Now that was seriously impressive. At the meeting, Alex provided me with the following decal sets:

  • WGP-1, (1:48,1:32,1:32), 'Bright Planking, coarse/fine, 14,99 €
  • WGP-2, (1:48,1:32,1:32), 'Dark Planking, coarse/fine, 14,99 €
  • WGSF-48C (1:72, 1:48, 1:32), Assorted Veneer, fine/medium/coarse, 14,99 €

Go to this link to purchase.

 

And to compliment this article, Grant of Arrow-Wolf Models has sent a sample of Uschi's knotless woodgrain decal:

Knotless

 

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The 'knotless' decal sheet is perhaps the first of this latest batch to have been released, and was developed in response to modellers who wished to create a realistic timber appearance, but without the multitude of knots that the previous releases had printed. This makes sense as some WW1 aircraft were indeed skinned with timber that was more uniform in appearance. An example of this is shown below on a reproduction Albatros D.III which is currently being flown from Munich's Flugwerft Oberschelissheim museum. It was with this machine in mind, and in multi-pitcorial form, that Uschi developed this particular set.

 

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The 'Knotless package', like all Uschi wood grain decal sets, contains TWO sheets of decal, measuring approximately 200mm x 120mm. One sheet contains a full printing of a knotless design in 'Rich' colour. The pattern is repetitive, and you will need to mix and match the various panels in order to break things up a little, but as you can see from the LVG whose decal was similar in execution, that is very simple to achieve. The second sheet contains a paler representation of the knotless approach, but importantly, it isn't the same pattern as the rich colour sheet, enabling the two to work organically together when used in conjunction.

 

Planking

 

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We are perhaps beginning to see a woodgrain decal solution for diorama modellers with these two releases. It's highly unlikely that these decal sheets would be suitable for an actual aircraft, but they could be used for some aspects of vehicles, such as those flat back trucks used for both military and civilian purposes. Ship diorama modellers will also see a use too, as the planking pattern system on some of these sheets is very indicative of the patterns used on the decks of timber ships.

 

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There are two sheets in each set; light planking, fine/coarse, and dark planking, fine/coarse. One of the lighter sheets doesn't have any planking system employed except for single, long lengths run together consecutively. This is very useful in its own right, or even as something which could be cut up and reassembled in your own staggered planking format.

 

The colours of the other sheets does tend to lend these decals to be used for diorama use, as stated, because the colour of the timbers is similar to what you may find on the floors of domestic dwellings. The package description states that the planking decals can be used for vehicles, as stated, aircraft, furniture, and also diorama items such as crates. What a cool idea! From that, you could look at duck-boards, timber beams, worktops, pallets etc. Never underestimate just what you can use these for!

 

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Veneer

 

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Simply, this decal set contains two sheets of fine-grain wood veneer decal. The first sheet is singularly printed with a beautifully fine veneer pattern, with a superb appearance, and a pattern which doesn't look at all bad with regard to repetition. For me, this is probably the nicest looking of Uschi's sheets, and this specific sheet will have 1000's of uses for the modeller. Uschi describes this appearance as that of 'birchwood' which is very typical of the WW1 aircraft fuselages that were left in bare timber and varnished. I don't think he's far off the mark there. I'll be using some of this in my current Bachem Ba 349 build on Large Scale Modeller, in which the finish will be left in bare timber and metal as a study of the aircraft's construction.

 

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The second sheet is split into 3 areas. These are fine, medium and coarse representations, although please understand that all of them are still rather fine in relation to regular timber, but instead show a different style of pattern, which when displayed alongside the regular main sheet decals, should look amazing.

 

All of these decal sheets are superbly printed, with a pretty non-visible pixilation, unless you look very, very closely. That aspect is nothing at all to worry about, and won't affect the finish of your model. Having used Uschi decal before, I know that this grade of decal film does allow repositioning, even under setting solution, yet still works beautifully with those solutions. You will also find that the decals can be worked by finger into various compound curves, and can be made to cover just about any shape surface.

 

The decals are also printed with a transparent backing. This means that you will need to apply various base colours and shading to your model before you apply the decal to this. This allows you to work with your own tones and highlights and if you mix and match things a little, you can get various impressions from the very same sheet of decal. The possibilities are endless, and I would suggest that you test these base colours and decal ensembles before you begin your project proper.

 

Conclusion

Wood grain decals are Uschi van der Rosten's signature product, and he sure knows how to deliver. The products are superbly researched and meticulously recreated before undergoing testing prior to release. You need to know that you cannot apply masking tape directly to the top of the decal sheet when you transfer the various panel shapes from your model to the sheet. You'll need to reduce the tack of this first, or you'll lift the decal from the sheet. When you've mastered the process of transferring shapes, you can, for example, decal a whole fuselage in a couple of hours. Practice makes perfect. This is a top notch product produced by a guy who actually cares about your results. I've tried the product, and I can vouch for it totally.

 

Very highly recommended

 

James H

 

My thanks to Uschi van der Rosten and Arrow-Wolf Models for the review samples used here. To purchase directly, click the links in the review.

 

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I've just used some of these (the Ronny Bar ones) on the struts and fuselage of a WnW Pup, and they really are awesome. I wasn't really expecting them to be tough enough to work over the struts, but they did, after a few failed attempts.

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Great review Jim ... I really enjoyed reading this one and am grateful for the mention and inclusion of my banner.  Thank you.

 

...you sends yer sample, you gets yer banner ;)

 

I'm starting to use these on the Natter tomorrow evening

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