Yankee Merlin Roars! (Part 3)
This is one of four P-51 decal sheets produced by a new decal maker, A.M.D.G. Decals. A.M.D.G. seems to be one of those companies “by and for” modelers. If you have a look at the company website, you will find their philosophy on the “About Us” page. They seem to have a very enthusiastic and passionate approach to this, and this decal sheet does a great job of demonstrating it!
This sheet has complete markings (including four sets of national insignia and propeller data stencils) for all of the aircraft depicted. There are three UK-based subjects and one based in China. The amount of research done for these four schemes is readily apparent after reading the instructions.
Markings provided are for the following Mustangs:
- P-51B-5-NA, s/n 43-7157, Sunny V, flown by Lt. Col. Everett W. Stewart, HQ 355th FG, Steeple Morden, UK, April 1944
- P-51B-10-NA, s/n 42-106462, U’VE HAD IT, flown by Capt. John B. England, 362nd FS/357th FG, Leiston, UK, June 1944
- P-51B-15-NA, s/n 42-106638, Impatient Virgin?, flown by Lt. Victor E. Bocquin, 367th FS/361st FG, Bottisham, UK, September 1944
- P-51C-1-NA, s/n 42-103233, shark mouth nose art, flown by unknown pilot, 118th TRS/23rd FG, Chengkung, China, Spring 1945
The instruction sheet itself is printed on both sides, in full color, and with a glossy, professional finish. Each subject has a large side profile and smaller top and bottom profiles. Above each aircraft there are several paragraphs of markings and painting instructions, and below each profile there are even more paragraphs covering the history of the pilot and the machine. In addition to the guidelines and information provided, each scheme also lists a photo reference. Two of the schemes list books as a reference that I happen to have in my library; they were quite easy to verify. The other two list “A.M.D.G. Decals web-archive” as their reference. I take this to mean the photos are part of A.M.D.G.’s collection, as I could not find anything on their website that corresponded with a “web-archive.” Still, the schemes are pretty well documented, so this shouldn’t be an issue at all.
The specific instructions on the sheet make it pretty obvious a modeler has been directly involved. In several instances the directions guide you explicitly as to the order the decals need to be applied in order to properly reflect the modifications and additions that took place to the markings over time. All decal instructions (well, most) show you where things go, but not many guide you on the proper order (which isn’t always obvious).
The decals themselves are crisply printed with good, opaque colors. I tested just one of the decals out, and it went down easily following A.M.D.G.’s guidelines. I put a few drops of water on the model surface, followed by the decal, and then a little Micro Set (as suggested). A.M.D.G. recommends the milder decal softeners, so stay away from the Solvaset!
One particularly nice feature of these decals is the way some of the personal markings have been printed. For instance, option #3 has the text “Impatient Virgin?” in yellow across a red rectangle. A.M.D.G. has printed the red rectangle with clear lettering, and separately has the wording as another decal printed in yellow. So, you have the option of painting the red rectangle and applying just the yellow wording decal, or painting a yellow rectangle and applying the red decal over that (allowing the yellow paint to show through the clear lettering), or you can apply the red rectangle decal followed by the yellow text decal over it. Any of these combinations will result in the proper look, and it’s nice to have options. This will also allow you to perfectly match the yellow and/or red with the trim colors that must be painted on. Similarly, the decal sheet provides to option to use kill markings that are either one-piece, multi-color decals, or are multi-piece decals broken down into single-color components to allow for perfect registration when applied by the modeler. This is a great option to have, although the one-piece, multi-color, all-in-one decals on my sheet look to be in perfect register anyways. Some extra scrap bits are provided for any touchups on decals that go in tricky areas, like checkered nose bands. These are all nice touches that show modelers were involved in this production.
Currently A.M.D.G. has this sheet and three other Mustang decal sheets available, all in 1/48. Their website indicates that both other scales and topics will soon be available. If their other sets are as comprehensive as this, I will definitely be acquiring more!
This decal set is highly recommended. It features first-rate instructions, quality decals, and a company that seems passionate about the hobby—a great combination!
Thanks to A.M.D.G. Decals for providing the sample and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it!