Messerschmitt Bf-109G Over Germany, Part I
This is another one of those cases of “is it a book with accompanying decal sheet, or is it a decal sheet with some very in-depth accompanying instructions?”
I have read/reviewed/used several other Kagero products in the past, but this is the first of the Topcolors series I have had a chance to examine.
The booklet itself is produced to a high standard. It has stiff, glossy card-stock covers and the contents are all printed on heavy paper with a matt finish. I was intrigued by the line on the cover: “High Quality Decals and Masking Foil Free.” There was a decal sheet in the book, but no masking foil. After some searching of the mailing packet and some scrutinizing of the website, it seems this is the tag line used in the entire series and doesn’t necessarily apply to every volume. This particular volume only has the decals included. Others in the series may or may not have masking foils as well.
The first few pages of this book discuss the camouflage applied to the subject matter, and provide several small black and white photos of various Bf-109Gs. The rest of the book is dedicated to full-page color profiles. Most pages have either 2 side views, or 1 top view (with underside scrap views). So these profiles are nice and large. The artwork is very nicely done and each profile is accompanied by descriptive text. In many cases there are insets with unit or individual markings shown in detail. In all, there are 28 pages of profiles. To round this out, there are two more profiles on the back cover.
The included decals are on one page, and this is a tad smaller than the standard decal sheet. The 1/72 and 1/48 decals all cover the same 8 subjects, but there are a few less on the 1/32 section. I attribute this to the amount of space available on the sheet. Just individual markings are present, with no national markings or stencils. For me, this is fine – I would rather have more unique markings provided for me in this type of product. National markings and stencils are often available in a kit, and if not are easily obtainable. Providing these would have severely limited the amount of unique markings available on this sheet. Although not identified as such, I believe the decals themselves are provided by Cartograf. As such, they are high quality and should perform well.
One thing that did confuse me at first regarding the decals is there is no clear explanation of which profile schemes are included in the sheet. Upon closer examination, I noticed that the profiles with little blue stars next to them have corresponding decals. Red stars next to a profile (according to the text) mean the scheme employs the (non-existent) masking foil. I noticed 3 sets of profiles with red stars – these had no corresponding decals (and, obviously, no masking foil). There were also a few sets of profiles with no stars. So, between the non-starred and red-starred, there are several interesting schemes that the modeler is presented with, and unfortunately unable to replicate – at least, not using this set of decals. I suppose it is possible this book was meant to have the masking foil included, but upon looking at Kagero’s website I see images of the book and the decals, but no masks. On the same website, some of the others in the series do show up with masks, so I think what I have is all there is. The website DOES list which profiles in the book do have accompanying decals, and also mentions that “seven additional planes are presented in the booklet, but their markings are not included in the decal sheet.” Use the above link to Kagero’s website to follow up on this detail.
I like the book/decal concept. If you like the subject matter, don’t let the lack of some decals prevent you from getting this book. The profiles are still very nice, and a creative modeler can find ways to replicate the scheme if he or she is so inclined.
Thanks to Casemate Publishing for providing the sample, and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it!