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Desert Harriers (PV-003-72) AV-8Bs in Desert Shield and Desert Storm 1990-1991 1:72 Paulus Victor Decals Hawker, then Hawker Siddelely worked on the world’s first operation Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) attack aircraft surprisingly soon after WWII and the invention of the jet engine, with the ingenious Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine taking a large part of the kudos. America was also involved, and pretty soon there were US Marine aviators flying Harriers (AV-8As to them) vertically as well as RAF and later FAA pilots VIFFing (Vectoring in Forward Flight) to scare the poop out of their opponents and turn the tables on them. Known colloquially and somewhat simplistically in the media as the “Harrier Jump Jet”, the warload it could carry led to the inclusion of S for Short in the acronym, becoming V/STOL, and then STOVL for Short Take-Off Vertical Landing. I give up. The Harrier was so useful that as it became long in the tooth, a new Harrier II was conceived that was a visually only subtly different but otherwise a complete redesign of the original aircraft from the more powerful engine out, using larger composite wings and modern avionics to extend its lifespan immensely. Barely anyone calls it a Harrier II, although the Americans use the code AV-8B, while the UK just used the GR.5/7/9 for the RAF nomenclature. We’ll ignore the two Sea Harrier variants for our purposes. The RAF were forced to retire their Harriers earlier in 2011 by the politicians, who then sneakily sold them to America for “spares”, despite denying that it was happening. Never trust a politician. America continues to fly their Harriers (and some of ours) while they wait for the F-35 to fill the gaps. The Decals Paulus Victor are a new company to us, and have a unique aspect to their products that include a slew of background information and technical assistance to the modeller that often hasn’t been available in the same envelope with decals before. They provide stories, not just decals in isolation. Their packaging is also unique, with a high-quality feel to everything, and attention to detail evident in every aspect of the set. They arrive in a thick Ziploc bag, with an envelope printed in colour on both sides within, and flaps folded-in to prevent excessive movement of the internals. On opening the envelope (which isn’t glued closed), you’ll find a small lined area for your own notes, plus details of the variations between airframes, and a list of sources for additional information about the conflict. Within the envelope is a set of folded instructions that are larger than A3 when unfolded, with the six subjects printed on two sides of A4 plus one side of the fold-out half-sheet. The painting guide helps you through the minor minefield of the painting of these aircraft, which were prepped in a hurry to fly out to the Gulf, with information about the route that included an incredible number of refuelling stops necessary due to the thirsty nature of the “blow torch” jet engines fitted to fighters. The hot & dusty conditions of the Gulf were conducive to rapid weathering, so some discussion is to be had on that subject too. Each squadron was prepared in a slightly different manner, and these inconsistencies continued to appear and disappear throughout their deployment, with each wing given their own space on the fold-out, covering VMA-542 Tigers, VMA-231 Ace of Spades, VMA-311 Tomcats and VMA-331 Bumblebees “Killer Bees”. Beware – there’s a minor bad word on one of the decals for the Bumblebees, so if you’re easily offended, don’t read it and wear a blindfold during application, or model it when it didn’t have the offensive can on its nose. The key take-away is that you are given the information that you need, and you can use it to make your model more accurate. The additional bonus decals can be used to depict your own Desert Harrier options if you’ve a mind to do the research yourself. Speaking of bonuses, you get a free US Marines sticker with front profiles on a faux woven material background. VMA-311 Tomcats, WL-02, 163181 VMA-331 Bumblebees, VL-17, 162726 VMA-542 Tigers, WH-20, 162946 VMA-542 Tigers, WH-40, 162069 VMA-231 Ace of Spades, CG-01, 163662 VMA-231 Ace of Spades, CG-15, 163183 Each subject has notes and even some small photographs of artwork etc., to help you with your preparation, painting and application of the decals. On the left flap of the envelope, you have nine video links provided, and above them are a list of books you can use for further reference on both the Harriers and the Gulf War itself. Obviously, links in a printed form are not the ideal format, but they’re by no means the longest URLs ever, and are well worth a look. Perhaps these could be added to their site at some point to help users with poor typing skills get there. Now about those decals. The decals themselves are printed on two rectangular sheets of blue decal paper at a high resolution that renders all of the stencils legible, providing you have good enough eyesight. They have good registration, sharpness and colour density, and some nicely coloured slime-light decals. Individual decals are included for variations on the airframe’s livery for maximum detail and with minimal carrier film all round. On one of the envelope flaps, you are given sound advice to check your references to ensure you have chosen the best colours and shades for your model if you are planning on going for the ultimate in accuracy. One of the A5 sides of the envelope has a diagram showing which weapons can be found on which of the seven pylon stations that the Harrier has, and with more text that offers advice on the practical application of that capability, discussing the real-world payloads that the Harriers in Marine service carried during the War. Just in case you’re new to waterslide decals or would like to refresh your memory, there are a set of general decal handling and application instructions printed on the rear of the envelope, guiding you through the preparation of the surface, the decals and the application of setting solutions, plus how to seal them for posterity. Conclusion Decal sheets usually come with brief instructions if any, so this new outlook from Paulus Victor is a breath of fresh air, giving you plenty to read, plenty to help you make a more accurate model, and plenty of advice on how to make your painting and decaling process better and more realistic. Very Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
Watchdog Wingman (PV-005-144) F-16A Fighting Falcon & Su-27 Flanker 1:144 Paulus Victor Decals The Goodwill Games were a short-lived series of four-yearly athletic events that were created to counter the bad feelings that surrounded the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow that were boycotted by a number of nations including America in protest against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They were created by entrepaneur Ted Turner, and were closed down by Time Warner who had bought the rights to the event in the late 90s, with the last one held in Brisbane Australia in 2001. The second games were held in 1990 in Seattle USA, and as part of the celebrations, two below-par Sukhoi Su-27s from the Flight Research Institute in Moscow were flown over, and support aircraft were brought with them to take part in joint displays with US jets over the stadiums, with chaperones (likely armed, just in case) watching over them during ferry flights between gigs. The Decals Paulus Victor are a relatively new company to us, and have a unique aspect to their products that include a slew of background information and technical assistance to the modeller that often hasn’t been available in the same envelope with decals before. They provide stories, not just decals in isolation. Their packaging is also unique, with a high-quality feel to everything, and attention to detail evident in every aspect of the set. They arrive in a thick Ziploc bag, with an envelope printed in colour on both sides within, and flaps folded-in to prevent excessive movement of the internals. On opening the envelope (which isn’t glued closed), you’ll find a small lined area for your own notes, plus colour details of the two airframes covering the inside of the envelope printed on the main area from the usual four angles. F-16A Fighting Falcon Block-15 (81-0722) 186th FIS/120th FIG - Montana Air National Guard, Great Falls, MT, 1990 Su-27 Flanker "05 Red" (c/n: 36911024205) Flight Research Institute, Zhukovsky, Moscow, USSR, 1990 Each subject has notes and even some small photographs of antennae etc., to help you with your preparation, painting and application of the decals. There were a couple of sneaky “zaps” applied to the Su-27s almost as soon as they landed, one of which is well-documented because it was left on the aircraft for several years, while the other round one was removed fairly soon after. If you know what it is, they’d love to hear from you, but my guess is a NASA meatball. There are a couple of links to a video and an archive article about the games under the text, which I’ve added below: https://nara.getarchive.net/media/an-f-16a-fighting-falcon-aircraft-from-the-186th-fighter-interceptor-squadron-ba4d95 Obviously, links in a printed form are not the ideal format, but they’re by no means the longest URLs ever and I even managed to type the long one correctly first time! Perhaps these could be added to their site at some point to help users with poor typing skills get there. A little rectangular bonus sticker is included that’s a reprint of the best-known zap “My other car is a jet” and the ANG logo for you to apply to any passing Flankers, or even a base for your model if you’re more grounded in reality. Now about those decals. The decals themselves are printed on a rectangular sheet of blue decal paper at a high resolution that renders all of the main decals legible, providing you have good enough eyesight. They have good registration, sharpness and colour density, some fine wing walkway decals for the F-16, and crisp stars and BORT numbers for the Flankers. On one of the envelope flaps, you are given sound advice to check your references to ensure you have chosen the best colours and shades for your model if you are planning on going for the ultimate in accuracy. on the rear outer of the envelope there are a set of general decal handling and application instructions, guiding you through the preparation of the surface, the decals and the application of setting solutions, plus how to seal them for posterity. Conclusion Decal sheets usually come with brief instructions if any, so this new outlook from Paulus Victor is a breath of fresh air, giving you plenty to read, plenty to help you make a more accurate model, and plenty of advice on how to make your painting and decaling process better and more realistic – providing you’re insane enough to model in the braillest-of-scales that is 1:144. Very Highly recommended. (Scroll down the list from the link) Review sample courtesy of
Croatian Military Number Plates (PVDS-001-35) 1:35 & 1:72 PaulusVictor Decalssories We’ve only recently been introduced to PaulusVictor, with our first set of samples making their way through the review queue and onto your screens as I type this. They set themselves apart from standard decal sheets by including a raft of additional information on the type, variants, paint and even the load-outs carried by the subjects that they produce decals for, as well as a high-quality feel to the whole package. This accessory set was included in the delivery and shows another string to their bow. It arrives in a small high quality Ziploc bag, with a cover sheet that has instructions printed on the rear, a sheet of decals and a printed sheet of PVC foil, which we’ll get to later. Number plates. Most countries and their militaries have a particular set of regulations about their depiction in real-scale, encompassing the font, the lettering size and even the plate size, as well as the alpha-numeric code that is laid out on the plates. Most people can tell if plates from their own country are off from 20 paces, but when it comes to someone else’s country, we’re not so good. This set is intended to correct some under-sized or otherwise incorrect plates that have been included in 1:35 models of Croatian military subjects in the past, as well as give you the opportunity to depict models as Croatian vehicles if they weren’t out of the box. Whether that’s in the real world or the land of what-if is entirely up to you. Even if they don’t have Mini Metros in the Croatian army, and I’m fairly sure they don’t, at least the number plate for your Fast Attack Metro (FAM) would be wholly accurate. Most of us are aware of how to apply decals to our models, but a recap is provided on the top of the page, with more task specific instructions on the bottom half. The short version is that you can use decals or PVC foil to act as the plate itself, making a backing plate of your own from styrene sheet if the kit part is undersized, then apply the individual alphanumeric code to the plate, which has the HV country code and a national crest already printed on both types. The PVC sheet tells you to use white glue or CA to attach that material to the model, as PVC isn’t modelling glue soluble, which is good to know. The PVC sheet is satin finished, so you may want to consider adding a gloss coat to it before applying the registration letters, sealing them in with more varnish once they are dry. Conclusion Great attention to detail again, and it’s a range that I’d like to see grow and possibly expand into civilian plates in 1:24 scale. British & US number plates would be very handy for a lot of folks, I’m sure. At the moment, these Croatian plates are available in 1:35 and 1:72 from the link below. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
OK, this time something different. 1/144 Dragon A-6E with Retro Wings cockpit set and PaulusVictor decals. This kit is a nasty dog. In the box - it looks like 3.6 ...not great, not terrible. Unfortunately it is more terrible than great when you start it. Fit is very bad, and there is a lot of details missing. I tried to add some that are really visible. The most important is small hump behind the canopy... Some small intakes too. There is a lot of sink marks in the plastic, and many missing panel lines that needs to be rescribed. I will try to make decent wing fold. I used Tamiya Epoxy Putty for all these stuff so far. I made FOD covers because the intakes have wrong shape, and I will scratch pilot steps to make things more interesting. For now - I have two coats of primer and some polishing done - but there are still some surface imperfections... There will be more to show soon I hope. This A-6 is TRAM Intruder, but with old type metal wings and late type air brakes - real Frankenstein