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Roden and Toko transfers: are they usable?


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As part of my current WW1 kick I have acquired a number of Roden and Toko 1/72 kits (Camel 2F1, Albatros D.III s153, various Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters).  The marking choices are interesting but the transfers themselves look very thin.  I have seen a number of recent threads that suggest that Roden transfers in particular are as good as unusable.  Especially with my glacial rate of construction, I do not want to bring a kit to near-completion only to discover the transfers don't work.  The problem is all the more acute given the surprising shortage of aftermarket transfers for mainstream British WW1 subjects.

 

So: 

 

- Can Roden and Toko transfers ever be used successfully?

- Are there any tips on how to improve the chances of success?  (Overpaint with Superscale liquid transfer film?  Particular softening/setting solutions to be used/avoided?)

- How are they for colour density?  (Some of mine will be applied to a scarlet airframe.)

 

Or do I have to stick them back in the stash until hell freezes over and I can source some decent aftermarket transfers?

Edited by Seahawk
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     Very variable is the answer. They are by no means unuseable, but do need much more care than you'd expect or want. Roden are better than Toko - the former sprang from the ashes of the latter, but the problem has always been that the transfers were produced by a company more used to doing markings for things like washing machines, where flexibility wasn't a requirement. Old story, might be apocryphal.  Anyway, as to what to do - first, try a bit that you won't use on your model. What can happen is shattering in water, cracking of large images like cockades, and on top of this they may or may not respond at all to setting solutions, and not settle over surface details.

 

     Colour density is usually okay in my experience, and I have made many of their kits. What you can do once you've established the problems with your set is to overcoat with Microscale liquid decal film. It may take more than one coat. That should prevent shattering or tearing, but they remain fragile. The other (and more common) problem is the inflexibility. I've never found any Solvaset, or similar, but have heard of it being sufficiently strong. What does usually work though is to apply a brush coat of Klear before placing the decal., while the Klear is still wet. This will pull it down into most detail, although a top coat of the stuff is also needed for best result before final top coat of your choice. You need to practise to get the technique to work reliably.

 

     Sometimes the sheet is okay. I've had one sheet with one of their Camel kits where the decals were rather elastic, but easy enough to keep in shape while placeing. They took a lot of abuse yet settled and dried on looking like paint. Quite weird, but amongst the best decals I've ever used. I have no idea if this was a one-off bit of fortune though - perhaps all the Camel decals are like that. Please let me know if you find out...............

 

     If you get no joy, let me know which particular schemes you wanted to do. There used to be many aftermarket sheets available, and I have quite a few spares, not all of which will ever get used.

 

 

Paul.

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Thank you Paul for your prompt, thorough and helpful answer.  It sounds as if success with them is in the lap of the gods: it won't be easy applying transfers with fingers crossed!  Thanks also for your kind offer of spare transfers: duly noted.  (I must say that as a newcomer to WWI aircraft I have been amazed to find it almost untouched by the aftermarket transfer industry.  Blue Rider and Avalon are honourable exceptions but they tend to go for esoteric schemes rather than alternative standard markings.) 

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It used to be better. (Go back far enough of course and it used to be worse). Blue Rider used to do a few more in-of-the-ordinary subjects, as well as generic cockade sets, and Pegasus produced RAF/RFC serials, as well as cockades for British, Belgian and Italian aircraft in 1/72nd. Unfortunately since Freightdog bought them up only the German national markings and lozenge are still in available. Then there was Americal Gryphon, who covered just about everything in both 1/72nd and 1/48th. Still regularly to be found on Ebay, but usualy for silly money. Microscale, FCM and others have also done stuff in the past. Worth regularly checking the Pheon website - not much currently in production in 1/72nd, but Rowan still brings out new sheets, and occassionaly reprints. Print Scale also have some WWI stuff currently in production. Worth browsing Hannants just to get an idea.

 

Paul.

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