MDC | 32002: 1/32 Luftwaffe Instrument Dial Decals

Reviewed by Rato Marczak

Another great MDC accessory for the "detailer". An instrument dial decal sheet, in this case for Luftwaffe subjects. Because of the demise of Reheat Models and the scarcity of the old, long out of production Pro-Modeler aircraft instruments decal sheet, it was becoming more and more difficult to find alternatives to enhance cockpit dials. Note many modelers are able to achieve a really crisp finish with the dry brushing technique (well, not me at least). You can use photo-etched panels with negative films, but they are expensive, not always correct, and sometimes they simply don´t exist for the subject you are interested in. Now how to paint that fabulous resin set you bought, or even the very well done parts of some recent releases in 1/32, without going blind? Decals... Not the whole control panel. It would be difficult to conform over the dials. I´m talking about instrument by instrument. Of course you can always punch each dial of the kit decal sheet, too, but that´s another story...

This sheet mixes the basic types of Luftwaffe instruments. But contrary to the Pro-Modeler and the Reheat items these are ready do use, because they are printed in black and white. Furthermore, you don´t need to punch them, since the clear film is limited to the instruments only. These instruments were designed to match the MDC cockpit sets recently released (Bf 109 and Fw 190), but considering the reputation of MDC, I´m sure they are very accurate in size and shape and can be used in any Luftwaffe subjects. Most of the instruments are readable under a magnifying glass! They may not be exactly of the type you need (there was a number manufacturers of aircraft instruments during WWII), or they may unmatch slightly your bezels, but surely will do the job. I checked most of them against K. Merrick´s book "German Aircraft Interiors 1939-1945", and I have no complains.

The entire sheet contains 52 decals. They are printed in black and white, and the register in my sample was spot on (this is a huge advantage over older items, which needed overlapping the black decal on top of the white one). The manufacturer plates are a special touch. Here´s the list:

List of all instruments in the sheet (the manufacturer plates are not numbered). Image courtesy MDC.

These instruments can be used with well known "sandwich method" for scratchbuilding a control panel, as well. Make a new front panel with the instrument holes punched out and paint it with the correct color. Then scratchbuild a back panel without the holes and apply the instruments on the corresponding places so that the dials match the holes of the front panel. Finally, glue the panels with a thin clear acetate sheet between them (or a thick coat of clear varnish).

Magnified view of some items (L to R: manufacturer plate, artificial horizon, airspeed indicator, temperature indicator, engine boost indicator and Bf 109 flap/trim.

Instrument decals are the cheapest way to enhance your scratchbuilt, resin or kit cockpits. With care, even an inexperienced modeler can use them. Some of you will complain because there's not many variations of sizes, but most instruments follow standards. If you need a shortcut to enhance an instrument panel, this is for you.

Highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of MDC. Thanks for your support.

© Rato Marczak

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