Pheon Decals | 32001: 1/32 SPAD VIIs of the Esc Lafayette, SPA124 & 103rd Aero Sqn USAS

Reviewed by Mike Swinburne

Released back in 2009 and revised in 2011, the 1/32 decal collection for Roden's SPAD VII series was the first of many large scale decal offerings from Pheon Decals. Not only does this give the builder many interesting and colorful options, but the set is additionally useful due to the traditional iffy-at-best quality of Roden decals.

Fourteen aircraft are included on these decal sheets, with enough roundels to complete up to three aircraft using only what is included in the set. The aircraft come from the famed Lafayette Escadrille, USAS 103 Aero Squadron, and SPA124. Full color side profiles come on three sheets of thick glossy paper, while overhead views are included on a further two glossy sheets. A booklet with aircraft history and details describing the fourteen aircraft also comes with the decal set, providing as much information as possible to allow the builder to make the model(s) highly accurate. The marking options are:

1. S331 Cpl Stephen Bigelow N124, Ham. May 1917.

2. S156 Capitaine Georges Thenault N124, Cachy. November 1916.

3. S1456 Lt William Thaw N124, Chaudun. June 1917.

4. S1777 Sous-Lt Raoul Lufbery SPA124, Chaudun. Oct 1917.

5. S1615 Sgt Harold Buckley Willis SPA124, Senard. August 1917.

6. S1331 Sgt Kenneth Marr SPA124, Senard. September 1917.

7. S1621, Lt Antoine de Maison-Rouge SPA124, Senard. September 1917.

8. Serial unknown 1 Lt Christopher Ford 103rd Aero Sqn, Ferme de la Noblette. March 1918.

9. S3141 Capt Dudley L Hill 103rd Aero Sqn, Bonne Maison. April 1918.

10. S3301 1 Lt George Turnure 103rd Aero Sqn, Bonne Maison. April 1918.

11. S3198 Capt Robert Soubiran, 103rd Aero Squadron, Ferme de la Noblette. February 1918.

12. 1Lt Charles H Dolan, 103rd Aero Squadron, Bonne Maison. April 1918.

13. Adjudant Václav Pilát, SPA124, La Cheppe. May 1918.

14. Lt Alberto Lello Portella, SPA124, La Cheppe. May 1918.

Decals In Detail

Pheon includes three full decal sheets in this set, along with two small sheets. One sheet features all of the unique markings for each aircraft, one containing roundels and stripes for tail markings, a smaller sheet in blue containing additional roundel circles, tail stripes, and feather details for the various feathers on the headdresses.

The two small decal sheets contain white Ms, and a white 5. While it seems the white Ms are for a possible outline of the red Ms on option #6, I don't know if the "5" is to include a possible white outline on the upper wing number of option #10 or simply provide additional backing for the decal over the green and black camouflage.

Rowan was definitely thorough when researching these aircraft, as evidenced by five different "Indian head" graphics for the sides of the aircraft. The differences in these heads are in the details and colors of the war paint on the faces, and the color and bands and feathers on the headdresses; there is no "one size fits all" mentality here! Looking closely at the decal art, I have to wonder if there is a bit of a misprint on "Indian Head" #1; it appears that the red detail of the headband overlaps other details when this is not the case on the other heads.

All details throughout the sheets are very well designed with lots of minute details where appropriate, and are printed with minimal carrier film. The sheets have been printed by Fantasy Printshop and are very nicely done. Any misalignment in colors would be especially noticeable with so many colors and details on the individual markings sheet.

The SPAD VII collection is available for GBP 17.50 plus postage from Pheon Decals. This is a very welcome addition, and for the amount of unique decals and enough of them to complete three aircraft from this set, the price is very reasonable. I purchased my copy directly from Pheon and it's recommended with enthusiasm!

© Mike Swinburne 2018

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This review was published on Saturday, February 10 2018; Last modified on Monday, February 12 2018