Having an interest in dioramas as well as armour, usually means when I am building a model my mind strays to how I am best going to show it, the type and size of base, which and how many figures I need and what storage or accessories are required. In my mind there is nothing more pleasing to the eye than seeing a fully laden model similar to the pictures you find on the internet and in decent books, it adds to the realism and scale of the model. Although for many years the one accessory that has failed to really impress me are model flags, most I have seen (and bought) have been printed on paper and for some reason no matter how hard I try and get them to sit on the model they fail to impress or look totally wrong, in fact they look like what they are pictures of flags printed on paper. Such has been my disappointment I have gone out of my way to avoid them. That is till now.
A small diorama project I had been working on left me with a problem, I wanted to show a couple of US Marines standing in front of a statue holding the Stars and Stripes, I again tried the paper route and was not impressed, luckily for me (and you) with the powers of the internet I came across a web site that sold scale model flags made from real cloth, similar to the real thing, perfect just what I was looking for, I ordered a couple of sets to see what they were like, and then went about introducing myself and the network to the owner. After a couple of email conversations they agreed to send me a couple of catalogues to look through and pick out a couple of samples to review. The flags themselves are sold online (and via phone 020 8123 0510) by ModelFlags.com who are an authorised "Worldwide" distributor for the manufacturers BECC Model Accessories (who themselves do not sell directly to the public). The cloth flags are only a small part of their product line the rest, Vinyl Lettering and Decals, can be seen at their website alongside all the flags they supply (approx 350 designs) and they will happily ship worldwide.
The flags are produced in various sizes from 10mm to 150mm, with the two smaller sizes being within the scale for 1/72 (AAA and AA), the next two 1/48 (A and B) , for this review I will look at the 1/35 scale flags in size C and D (38mm and 50mm).
The flags arrived and are very professionally packed in clear zip lock bags sealed at the top with a cardboard hanger (obviously used to help display the flags in a store) showing BECC logo, Inside the zip lock bag you can see the flag, which is attached to a thin piece of card by a small label that contains the reference number and flag description as well as the size code and actual size in millimetres. The back of the card has some printed instructions on how to best prepare and use the flag. On opening the zip lock bag and examining the flag you can see that not only is it printed on both sides of the cloth, the quality of the printing is second to non. The flag itself is surrounded by some additional cloth material so a good blade and straight edge will be needed to cut it flush, a black outline surrounds the flags itself giving you a good edge to cut to and a blank overlap at the left edge of the flag allows you some room to work with when mounting it to a flag pole or aerial. The provided instructions suggest dabbing some glue around the edge of the flag before cutting so as to stop the fraying (although from a diorama point of view that could actually make the flag look a little more real if required).
I received six flags in total to look at all of different designs and with different colours, allowing me to asses the quality of production overall, to which I must admit to being quite impressed. The flags I received will work for different eras and looking at some of the new figure sets coming from master box and MB will fit in quite nicely with them as well, take a look at the pictures and then browse through the news section of the site and you will understand what I mean.
The flags I received to look at are:-
D50 - German Hakenkruz - 1933-1945 Swastika
J02 - Japan Naval Ensign - Radiant Sun
J01 - Japan National Flag
USA01 - Stars & Stripes - present day - 50 stars
IL01 - Israel - National Flag
On opening the zip lock bag and removing the paper insert which has the flags attached to it, you can actually feel the quality of the material, I did feel it may be a little thick for what I actually required but we will see. The flag is attached to the paper backing by a small label, the label does not touch the design part of the flag as there is plenty of waste material around it. Using a new blade in the modeling knife and a small steel rule I cut along the black outline of the flag, The material did not or fray which is testament to the quality of the material used. A couple of more cuts and I had the flag, due to how I planned to use the flag in a diorama, I also removed the excess at the side. This excess is designed should you actually wish to mount the flag on a flag pole or mast of some kind. I didn't as the instructions suggest seal the edges with any form of glue, but a few weeks after using it it is still not showing any form of fraying. The flag mounted in to the hands of the figures with a little bit of super glue with no undue distress, and formed perfectly due to the soft nature of the material, which was good considering my earlier reservation to the thickness.
One of the things you really notice is how bold the colours come across in the printing at such a small scale, the radiant sun being a real good example of this. These flags are just what I have been looking for to complete or add so some of my projects, in fact I feel a little ashamed that I had not found them earlier, the prices I feel are very competitive when compared to much inferior paper items currently available from some of the manufactures, their light weight and simple packaging will keep the postage costs to a minimum no matter where you are in the world and I really do feel that these will help add something to your work, whether hanging from a building in a diorama, draped across the back of your latest panzer build or being carried by some figures charging across a field. Highly recommended.
Highs: high quality double sided printing on real cloth. Most flags catered for. Company is always interested in new ideas for designs.Lows: sizes are based around the model boating community, so a little care will be needed to ensure you buy the right oneVerdict: Highly recommended simple product, that has never really been done by any of the major scale model producers.
Our Thanks to ModelFlags.com! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Keith Forsyth (docdios) FROM: ENGLAND - WEST MIDLANDS, UNITED KINGDOM
Keith Forsyth (docdios) comes from the small town of Stafford in the United Kingdom. He began his interest in modeling at an early age with armor being the main focus. It was not until finding himself between jobs in 1995 that he really got hooked. It was during a shopping visit to another town when...