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-   -   Tips on the US National Insignia (https://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/rc-warbirds-warplanes-200/7824449-tips-us-national-insignia.html)

Chris Smith 08-08-2008 03:23 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
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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.

Chris Smith 08-08-2008 03:24 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
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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.

Chris Smith 08-08-2008 03:25 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
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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.

Chris Smith 08-08-2008 03:26 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
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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!

Chris Smith 08-08-2008 03:28 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
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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, assume if you are modeling a US military aircraft 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.

Chris Smith 08-08-2008 03:29 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
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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?

Chad Veich 01-02-2013 03:36 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
I see you are currently online Chris so I wanted to revive this old thread just to say thanks for putting it up. Incorrectly rendered US national insignia are one of my biggest pet peaves and I've considered making a similar post on numerous occassions. Now that I've found this one that will not be necessary as you have covered the topic quite nicely! I'm surprised no one else responded but, respond or not, I hope lots of scale modelers took, or will take, the time to read through the information. Hopefully some of the Chinese ARF manufacturers will do the same!

aghost 01-02-2013 07:29 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
Hadn't seen this thread before. Read the whole thing. Thanks Chris. and Chad for reviving it.<div>
</div><div>Now to go look at a couple of my planes.</div><div>

darren763 01-02-2013 08:35 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
Thanks I'm subscribed. I knew some stars and bars didn't look right and you wrote this so well. Its bookmarked.


Boomerang1 01-02-2013 11:50 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
Don't forget the number 1.17.

If you want to draw a 5 pointed star 1.17 is the key number.

First determine the diameter of the circle which will be the size of the star.

Mark the top of the star (what Chris Smith would call Mr Star's head :D).

Use a compass set to 1.17 X the radius of the circle, put the centre of the compass at the top of the star & make an arc across the outside of the circle, doesn't matter which side, I go clockwise.

Move the centre of the compass to the arc you have just drawn & make another arc across the circle.

Keep doing this & you end up with 5 arcs, the 5 points of a star.

Join all the points where the arcs cross the outside of the circle & you have your 5 pointed star.


Chris Smith 01-03-2013 02:28 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
Glad you guys can use the info. I always say if just one guy benefits it's worth it.

What is surprising is the number of high placed contest airplanes with the insignia done incorrectly!

The jet community is particularly bad, as that is where I spend most of my time. The influence of Chinese ARFs have made the issue prevalent.

FireBee 01-07-2013 06:19 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
I had never seen this thread either. Great explinations Chris! Thanks Chad for revival.
I truly believe painted on insignia add that final scale touch.

Only q is North Africa with the added yellow surround. I don't recall if U.S. directive or British
Is it safe to assume that this was a 1/8 radius yellow surround?
R, Mike

Chris Smith 01-08-2013 04:56 AM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
You're probably talking about the yellow used for operation "Torch". The yellow was directed for all allied aircraft in that operation and was not a universal modification to the national insignia. kind of like d-day stripes.

You will need to refer to individual aircraft documentation since the application varied widely.

FireBee 01-09-2013 11:06 AM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
Thanks Chris.

Again I commend you for an excellent tutorial for us all!

Chris Smith 01-09-2013 02:47 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
You're more than welcome. I wish I could write it in Chinese.

77chickenhawk 01-09-2013 07:16 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
Thanks Chris. I learned something new today.

Cooper 01-10-2013 09:25 AM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
Great job - I too learned something today
Thank you!

Very best!

Greg Anixter
Scottsdale, AZ

aghost 01-10-2013 10:06 AM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
I have several ARFs I have been happy with for several years until I read this thread. A couple of them have glaring insignia errors once you really look at them. Happy to say the insignia on TF Corsair .60 ARF looks OK (without doing a bunch of measuring and really close inspection).<div>
</div><div>Regarding full scale, I happen to be looking at some film clips on the "Critical Past" website of flight operations on Guadacanal in May, 1943. One clip showed some Corsairs and Wildcats (if I remember right) with insignias on the top of both wings. Wouldn't have even noticed that detail without reading this thread.</div><div>

FireBee 01-10-2013 11:24 AM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
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I went looking in my inventory at work for that Corsair pics but did not have it.

here is detail how the underside STBD wing was done for a Dauntless on USS Intrepid in Charleston NC.

Adding Corsair picture with 6 position markings. This is production plane, 1943, with little white stickers the QA inspector stickers before removal.

mR JoLLy 01-13-2013 03:10 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
I make markings up for many people and I regularly have the dilemma of looking at restorations with poorly reproduced insignia and customers not knowing what to do. Should they copy the restoration or use the correct markings as per the original aircraft. It causes many problems for sure. One common error I see is the length of the bar at R measured from the outer edge of the circle that contains the star rather than from the point of the star. It's only a slight difference, but it does show up when you know what you are looking for.

On an addendum to the exceptions that had insignia on both lower surfaces I discovered the P-47's attached to 5th ERS were seen like this.

Nice work anyway. I can refer people to this thread should it be necessary :)


FireBee 01-13-2013 06:02 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
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Nigel, i love that plane.

5th ERS flew "war weary" P-47s over the English Channel to drop life rafts to downed bomber crews. Make sure you add "WW" below the Bruno numbers on the vert fin.. They usually flew with drop tank, 4 smokes (below belly near trailing edge) and life rafts on they pylons and half the machine guns removed for a total of 4 vice 8. Attached is underside markings. My yellow P-47 Razerback was done up in this scheme, but as 5F * K. And my own nose art and I name her "Circling Angel"
I love the unique planes.

Chad Veich 01-13-2013 09:05 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
Actually many P-47's in the ETO had insiginia on the undersides of both wings. This was due to recognition errors, the aircraft often being mistaken for a FW-190. In some instances one or both of the under wing insignia were oversize as well. Always consult your documentation first! :)

raptureboy 01-18-2013 09:05 AM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
How about the very early markings with the red ball. Used on trainers and early wildcats, maybe you could add some info on those. Glad I have'nt done my markings yet on my P-47.

CashD 01-18-2013 09:14 AM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia

oops never mind.</p>

FireBee 01-24-2013 07:34 PM

RE: Tips on the US National Insignia
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Chris, others,
I need some help here, I may someday do my giant corsair as VF-17 (skull and crossbones) with either side # 3, 8, or 31.

tonight while loking at #3, I finally noticed something strange? are my eyes just tired? is the photo really showing a diff insignia?
I won't state it just to see of others also note it.

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