To quote George Fisher "When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target". This holds true for all areas of life, and decals are certainly no exception to this.
Producing decals is a tricky business. Th problem is, you can't possibly be an expert in all subjects. When planning a new sheet, I do all I can to research the subject. I talk to my network of guys who know way more than me on certain subjects... OK, more like MOST subjects! They often have other contacts that can flesh out the subject even more. Occasionally, a research impasse is reached, and a call for help goes out. As can be expected with anything that happened more than 60 years ago, not a lot of images and information have survived to the current day. So, you have to make due with what you have, sometimes making best guesses based on the surviving data.
The frustrating part is that once in a while, once a sheet has been released, someone comes forward with exactly what you had been looking for. Of course, the new information seldom shows that your informed interpretations were accurate! Thankfully, this has not happened a lot.
In this case, regarding the forthcoming Spitfire VIII sheet shown above, 2 guys came forward with corrections at the very last minute, spurred on by the announcement of the Spit VIII sheet as seen on the leading modelling websites.
The printers had not started burning the screens yet, so the job was put on hold to address the corrections. One correction is minor; a transposed serial, which is a quick and easy fix. The other involves a complete rework of some of the artwork based on much better photos, and a correction to the inaccurate interpretation of the color scheme based on research that has been superseded by new discoveries.
I am very grateful to these gentlemen for coming to the rescue at the last minute. A more accurate sheet will result.
The only downside to this is that the sheet will be delayed. Due to summer vacations from both my artist and my printer, the sheets (in both 1:32 and 1:48 scales) will be released later in August.
I mentioned in the original press release that there will be a bonus 6th scheme on the 1/48th scale sheet. The above image is the profile for this bonus scheme. While at first blush, a rather plain aircraft, it was flown by the beloved Kiwi pilot F/O Vic Bargh of 67 Squadron. It also has the great fortune to have my initials as its codes, thereby assuring itself a place on this sheet! Its good to be King...
So, the sheet will be delayed a little, but will be a better and more accurate sheet. A perfect sheet? Doubtful. But it is as accurate as it can be given the many hours of research that has gone into it.
As a final note, if you have any ideas for new decal sheets, especially if you have good documentation and photos of the subjects at hand, please contact me. I can't promise that every idea will wind up on a sheet, or that it may jump to the top of the cue, but if it is really interesting, it has a good shot! Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been a modeler since the age of 6, and a professional modelmaker for the last 24 years. I have worked in a number of model shops in the SF bay area, including Industrial Light and Magic (credits include Star Wars Episode II), and M5 Studios (where they film Mythbusters). I have worked for Toy Companies such as Worlds of Wonder, Galoob, and 21st Century Toys, where I was in charge of the development of the entire product line. Most recently, I have done some contract work at Image Movers Digital, Kerner Optical, and Fonco, as well as running Barracuda Studios, which produce the decal line BarracudaCals, the resin line BarracudaCast, and the publication line BarracudaGraphs.