FCM Decals | Luftwaffe Swastikas (Elite Series)

Reviewed by Rato Marczak

FCM Decals is a decal manufacturer from Brazil which has been helping Brazilian modelers with excellent decals. Most of them are about Brazilian Air Force aircraft and world wide civilian aircraft, but more recently they have extended their range of products to various other WWII subjects. This sheet is one of them: Luftwaffe swastikas. The set is multi-scale, with dozens of swastikas usable from 1/24 to 1/72 scales, bringing more value to your money.

The set is very well printed, as shown in the picture below.

You may be wondering: 'Ok, just another swastika decal sheet'. Nope. This sheet belongs to the FCM Elite decal series. So what? Well, the first thing you note in these Elite decals is an awful, rather thick clear decal film, like if a pool of Future has dried over each decal.

This is not incidental: The clear layer is designed to be removed once the decal is dry!!! You apply the decal like any other, but the instructions advise you to avoid setting solutions. Once applied, the stuff looks like those temporary tattoos. You can clearly see the overly thick clear film around the printed layer:

Don’t panic. Wait it to dry for 24 hours. Then use a hobby knife or your favorite tweezers to lift the border of the clear film, and carefully remove it from the printed layer:

If you do everything right, only the printed artwork will remain over your model.

Well, this is what makes this type of decal so different. When correctly applied, there’s no clear film to bother you.

Now the bad news: I found the method very difficult to work in areas with raised surface details (panel lines or rivets). In these cases, the thick film resist to conform the surface, and as a result some chipping (of the printed layer) occurs when you remove the film. Maybe I should ignore the instructions and use some mild setting solution. I'll make a few more tests and keep you informed. All in all, I had success in three out of each four trials. Maybe it is just me. I have been talking to some folks and I discovered that this is one of those hate it or love it stuffs. The 1/72 guys reported almost 100% success (probably due to the small size of the decals), while 1/48 and 1/32 modelers are still complaining. Anyway, in my faulty tests it was just a matter of retouching the (small) chipped areas, and the absence of a clear film to bother you may compensate the extra work.

It is an interesting method, somewhere between ordinary decals and dry transfers. I was told that Superscale tried to master this very same method during the early '80s but they gave up after a while. I loved the stuff, and I think it is just a matter of experimenting a bit more to have total control over this type of decal.

© Rato Marczak 2005

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This review was published on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 18 2016