Lozenge Decals

C.P. Hart (hartc@spot.colorado.edu)
Tue, 31 Oct 1995 11:28:18 +0000

Geetings to all list members,

On 15 October Greg Springer made a few remarks on Aeromaster Lozenge
decals, part of this post included:

> First of all, let me state that I am a believer
>in using lighter colors to achieve'scale effect'. This is the main
>factor in my opinion on these sheets.
> The first commercially available sheets that I can remember are the
>Fowler decals from the early 80's. In 1987 I covered a prize-winning
>Fokker D-VI conversion with these only to discover about three years
>later that the original subject was done in 4-color (lugubrium!).
>Glenn Merrill informed me that the colors were suspect. Americal then
>released their sheets. Glenn had access to the fabric collection of
>the late Rodney Gerard and I believe that he has always taken pains to
>get an exact color match. However it is a match to the full sized
>samples which IMHO leaves the decals too dark in 1/48 scale.
> Last year Superscale released their 5-color sheets. These are much
>lighter in tone than Americal's. Their under surface decals are the
>ones which I prefer.
> Finally Aeromaster's sheets arrived and while I think that their
>under surface decals are too dark,I quite like the color balance of the
>upper surface sheet and that will be the one which I will use on my
>next 5-color subject.
> This opinion is completely unscientific in nature. I am not
>pedantic about color matching but I strive for what 'looks right'
>sitting on the shelf. Please don't ask me about 4-color!

I have known Glen Merrill of Americal/Gryphon Decals for many years,
and I passed along these remarks to him. He felt that he was misquoted and
asked me to post his response to the remarks made by Greg.

Although Glen is online he does not subscribe to this news group and
asks me not to post his e-mail address. Any remarks, reactions or comments
may be mailed to:

Glen Merrill
4373 Varsity Lane
Houston TX 77004-6617

On 30 October Glen Merrill of Americal/Gryphon wrote in response:
Greg Springer misquoted me regarding the sources of color matches for
our lozenge decals. As it appears the discussion has included only 1:48
day fabrics of land-based aircraft I will not discuss night and naval or
1:72 sheets. The sheets involved are #20 and #21 (top and bottom
5-color, respectively), #39 and #40 (top and bottom 4-color,
respectively), #45 (alternate 5-color bottom) and #60 (alternate 4-color
top). As our enclosure sheets should make very clear only the colors
for #45 came from the Gerrard collection. As I'm sure many of you
know, Alan Toelle has recently declared the collection bogus. Having
lent him (Toelle) massive amounts of material and knowing what he would say,
our latest catalog contains a _caveat_ about the colors of this pattern.
The #60 set of colors was based on a piece of fabric described by Leo
Opdycke in _WWI Aero_. The pattern was identical to normal 4-color,
but with rather dramatically different colors. In my mind its authenicity
was reinforced by the fact that Leo also gave the Methuen reference to
a bullet hole patch on one the polygons that was the identical Methuen
reference to the brown in the standard 4-color top.

For the standard 4- and 5-color values we examined fabric in many
museum collections including going to Knowlton, PQ
to study their Fokker D.VII as well as several European
museums and samples in the hands of private collectors. In addition, as
we gratefully acknowledge on our enclosure sheets, we had the benefit
of the research of many others beginning in the 1950s and continuing
virtually to the present, which we evaluated both as Munsell and as
Methuen references. There is a concensus and I think we fit it very well,
making small adjustments resulting from frequent reevaluations.
Interestingly and ironically, one of our competetors recently trumpeted
that his product was the one true and authentic lozenge decal because
he had based in on the replica fabric done by Silberstreife. When the
people at MVT were doing the replica fabric they sent a test sample to
AMERICAL/GRYPHON for comment. We commented and suggested
some minor tweaks - by their final product they had made minor
corrections, although I can't state for certain whether or not our
suggestions influenced them.

I do thank Greg for stating my insistence on color fidelity. Matters of
color fidelity are somewhat subjective at best, but I make no apology for
striving for the greatest authenticity possible. Clearly I am not strong on
the concept of "scale color." To me, any time a person shifts color
values from the original to please his/her sense of the aesthetic, that
person has entered the slippery slope that leads from historical modelling
to fantasy modelling. Another sweet little irony in that connection is that
the "scale color crowd" usually wants to lighten the genuine colors to
achieve the desired effect. Yet, the others who have produced decals
for Austro-Hungarian aircraft have used one or another nice, dark red.
My late friend and colleague Marty O'Connor did extensive reseach on
the colors of the aircraft of the Dual Monarchy, including interviews with
color-picking by surviving personnel who had seen the actual machines.
His conclusion was that the most commonly used red was Methuen
10A8, which keys out as "vivid red." So we mixed inks accordingly and
are darned close, perhaps 10.25A8, i.e., slightly darker than the shade
Marty called for. Every time we open the can we are startled at the
"tomato soup" color that is so much lighter than anyone else has used
based on "how they think it should look." If one doesn't follow the best
information that is available then one might just as well paint the aircraft
pink, which is pretty much what the Austro-Hungarians did! So I
suppose we should darken that color to achieve scale effect?
Glen K. Merrill