Amongst the most useful accessories I've found over the years for detailing cockpits are instrument decals. I bought several sets produced by Reheat back in the '90s and they've stood me in excellent stead, proving far superior to trying to paint the instrument faces. Unfortunately, Reheat seem to have been out of production for some time so, with my stock fast dwindling, things were beginning to look very bleak - but the situation has been saved by the timely arrival of some great new decals from Mike Grant.
Mike Grant's cockpit decals arrive on a small sheet packed with items printed via the ALPS system and the resolution and registration is absolutely superb. The sheet is divided into two sections - instrument faces and cockpit placards. There are over 400 instrument gauges and they are actually rather better than my old Reheat versions - whereas Reheat's decals were printed in a slightly translucent ink on a clear background which meant the kit's bezels had to be painted white first and the faces always ended up looking rather more grey than black, Mike's designs are opaque complete with a white background, making application both simpler and quicker. Along with the gauges, there are over 80 placards and these are very neat, being printed black and silver to replicate the stamped metal originals.
The sheet provides a generous variety of gauges in several sizes. The instruments are generic, but the designs are consistent with instruments from the late 1930s through to the early jet era.
The ALPS system means the carrier film covers the entire sheet, so the instrument decals aren't individual items. For best results it's easiest to use a punch and die to separate each guage before applying it to the panel. Once in postion, the gauges can be sealed with a drop of clear varnish to give an excellent "glazed" look. The placards can be trimmed out with small scissors or a scalpel.
As well as the 1/48 scale sheet shown here, the decals are also available in other scales:
1/72 scale - Item #CKP-072 - $ 6.00
1/32 scale - Item #CKP-032 - $ 12.00
Jet modellers needn't feel left out either - Mike also produces a range of modern instruments in each scale. All the decals can be ordered directly from Mike Grant's website.
It's funny how the simplest things can prove the most useful and this has certainly proved true for me with instrument decals. I have no hesitation in recommending them as an essential addition to every modeller's set of accessories.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Mike Grant has filled a serious gap in the market with the release of a superb quality set of aircraft instruments and cockpit placards.
Our Thanks to Mike Grant Decals! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...