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Tips on how the US Insignia should look

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Tips on how the US Insignia should look

Old 08-09-2008, 09:57 AM
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Chris Smith
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Default RE: Tips on how the US Insignia should look

The next graphic shows a circle surround width that doesn’t match the bar surrounds. In this case, the bar length and bar surround are actually correct. Yet they look oversized or too long because the circle surround is too small.
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:59 AM
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Default RE: Tips on how the US Insignia should look

Combination mistakes

Now let’s look at some of the more obvious mistakes and common combination errors on typical decal sets for models.

In the next graphic there are numerous related problems. Immediately obvious is that the star is too large thus eliminating room for a proportional circle surround. If we were to reduce the star radius we’d have the circle surround, but the bars are not long enough to reach in and touch the stars fingers. Might be better just to throw this one away and start over.

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Old 08-09-2008, 10:00 AM
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Default RE: Tips on how the US Insignia should look

In this combination example below the star is too small and the bars are attached to the outer circumference. This makes a really goofy looking insignia. Just for fun we’ve thrown in surrounds that are too thin on the bars, and too thick on the circle. Whew, throw this away too.
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:01 AM
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Default RE: Tips on how the US Insignia should look


Oh my...

On occasion, you will see the example below. This one you have to blame on the modeler. The insignia may have been produced correctly but applied to the model upside down. Maybe it isn’t obviously upside down to some folks. I can not think of any country that uses an upside down 5-point star!
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:03 AM
  #30  
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Default RE: Tips on how the US Insignia should look

A few points should be made regarding placement on the aircraft, and then we’ll conclude.

Learning Point 6: Only one insignia on the top of the wing and only one on the bottom of the wing.

Since the addition of the bars to the roundel in 1943, the US insignia is presented only once on the top left wing, and once on the bottom right wing. With extremely rare exception, there were never 2 insignias on top or bottom. The one exception was with the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter/bomber. Because of its heavy ground attack mission, it was thought an additional and larger insignia should be placed on the bottom left wing to help friendly gunners avoid engaging by mistake. Not all P-47 units adopted the practice. It would be a strange anomaly to find any other documented exception and would not represent the normal. Some will find photo documentation of what appears to be US insignia on both left and right top wings on aircraft during the Vietnam War. Color photos will show they are South Vietnamese aircraft with SV insignia which used different coloring.

Otherwise, if you are modeling a US military aircraft assume you will only need 4 total decals. One for the top left wing, one for the bottom right wing, and one for each of the sides of the fuselage. What size they should be is a whole different issue.
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:05 AM
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Default RE: Tips on how the US Insignia should look

Conclusion

There are probably as many ways to render the insignia incorrectly as there are kits out there. I’m sure you’ve probably seen some we’ve not discussed. As you get familiar with the insignia, you will recognize problems you may not have before. When you need accurate markings and you don’t have acceptable ones included in your kit, you’ll be more inclined to make your own or use aftermarket suppliers. For best results be sure to use the more reputable companies that competition modelers would use. If the full scale subject you’re modeling has insignia that are not geometrically correct, you will now be able to recognize that and have the graphics maker supply your needs. As always competitors will have to duplicate their documentation.

What about modern grey combat aircraft and the insignia made in various shades of grey? The best information sources in that case would be photo documentation. Fortunately modern combat aircraft are well documented. The challenge is to find an example for the aircraft you want as the variations are many.

If you are only adding US insignia to a sport model consider using ones that are correct. It shows a certain ability and attention to detail. We all know how our models come alive when we add the colorful markings. Wouldn’t it be additionally rewarding if they matched the real world?
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:09 AM
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Default RE: Tips on how the US Insignia should look

Chris
That was an EXCELLENT presentation.

Jimbo
Route 66 Co CD

Old 08-09-2008, 10:17 AM
  #33  
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Default RE: Tips on how the US Insignia should look

Thanks Jimbo,
Coming from you it means something. A-10s rule!

Chris
Old 08-09-2008, 10:36 AM
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Default RE: Tips on how the US Insignia should look

ORIGINAL: tailwheel234

Chris, phenominal article!!! I think it should be printed by AMA in the magazine for you!!! Glad to see correct details finally let out.

One question, recently I was working on making an insignia for a friend to go on a jet, and when it came to the part where the bars are slightly raised from the center of the circle/star... I never found the ratio of measurement that goes with finding that center point for the bars. Any tips on that to get it exact???

Thanks, and happy flying!!!!!
Stop in BG somtime!!!
Philip

Using the imaginary straight line of the top of the bars and arms of the star, you will automatically have the bar centered correctly. However, you must remember the bar width is 1/2 of the star radius to make it work out correctly.

The larger article I wrote shows how to draw the insignia on paper. I'll show it to you sometime.

Cheers,
Chris

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