by: Pat McGrath [ ]
IntroductionThere are many ways of applying markings to models; Water slide decals, dry and wet transfers, adhesive masks, and photo etch stencils. This set from Lionroar comes under the last heading being a set of photo etched stencils of US style stars for WW2. The set covers the use of stars on vehicles as set out by U.S. regulations in the document AR 850-5:
10. Unit markings.— Gasoline solvent paint or paint as prescribed by the War Department will be used.
a. Unit markings.—National symbol.
(1) A white five-pointed star will be the national symbol of all motor vehicles assigned to tactical units. Administrative motor vehicles operating in an active theater of operations will be similarly marked when directed by the theater commander.
(2) The size of the national symbol will be determined for each type of motor vehicle and will be large enough to take advantage of the surface upon which to be painted. See figures 1 to 34.
(3) Whenever requirements for camouflage and concealment outweigh the requirements for recognition, the national symbol may be covered by lusterless olive-drab gasoline solvent paint, camouflage nets, oil and dirt, etc., or will be removed.
This set WWII Marks for US Military Vehicle 1 should more properly be called WWII White Star Marks for US Military Vehicle 1 as it contains no other markings than stars such as bumper codes or any other signage.
ReviewThe set comes in a plastic envelope containing the instructions and the photo etch taped to a strong cardboard background. The set consists of 13 photo etch stencils made from a very light thin metal. There is an adhesive plastic covering which has to be peeled away carefully because of the thinness of the metal as it is very easy to bend the stencils while doing this. The stencils are very sharply etched and come in three scale sizes indicated in the top right hand corner of each stencil 20” 32” and 36”.
I’m not familiar with all the variants in this set but I have come across the majority of them while looking around the web. Still it would have been nice to have a note included with the set indicating where and when each variant was used. Included are plain five pointed stars, segmented stars and stars surrounded by a broken white circle in different sizes as well as other variants. As always look for good photo references if modeling a particular vehicle.
There are no photo etch connectors so the stencils are loose once the adhesive backing is peeled away. At this stage it would be a good idea to find a suitable container to store the stencils in.
ApplicationThe very simple instructions show how to tape the stencil to the surface to be painted. I tried a few out on an old Sherman and also on some scrap metal. I used a can of Citadel Skull white I had handy and got some over spray because I under masked and because it's hard to control the direction of the spray with a can but with an airbrush this shouldn’t be a problem. Because of the nature of the stencils the inner edges don’t adhere so well to the surface of the model and may lift allowing under spray which blurs the edges of the stars. Trial and error with the airbrush and care with the direction of the spray will allow the modeler to solve this problem.
Again a note of caution if using these outdoors as I did, they are very light and I ended up searching in the long grass for one after a gust of wind carried it away.
ConclusionThis is a useful set if you specialize in US vehicles and like me you dislike decals. There is no decal setting or softening solutions to be used or future or varnish needed to protect them. They aren’t as versatile as adhesive masks but they are reusable. The plain white stars and the stars with the broken circle were also used on British, Polish and Commonwealth vehicles but again check your references to be sure.