ARCHERS FINE TRANSFERS
I first became acquanted with dry transfer type decals, years ago, back in the mid 70's. A company called Alan Breeze/Letraset Model Decals was in business then and they had dry transfer decals for both armor in aircraft in several scales. I bought several sets of these and found out later that the shelf life on them was very, very short. If they were exposed to air, for very long, they would no longer transfer off the backing sheets. I heard, on the modeling grapevine, that this is why this company folded.
Well, here it is 30 some years later and technology has pretty much cured this problem. I recently received three very nice dry transfer decal sheets from Woody Vondracek, owner and creator of Archer Fine Transfers.
On Woody's web site he says:
"up until 10 years ago the adhesives used on dry transfers was a wax based substance which would lose its adhesive properties in a few years. (Alan Breeze's problem amounted to just weeks). Although some dry transfer manufacturers still use this very same adhesive, Archer does not.
The adhesive we use is a solvent based micro encapsulated adhesive. We have test transfer that were printed 10 years ago and still maintain their adhesive properties today.
But simply using this type of adhesive does not guarantee a long shelf life. Most dry transfers today are printed using the silk screen method to save money. The problem with this is that over a short period of time the solvents in the adhesive seep through the ink and literally bond the ink to the carrier film.
Archer transfers are not printed this way. All Archer transfers are direct contact printed and incorporate a chemical barrier film between the ink and the adhesive.
The adhesive on dry transfers is pressure sensitive and will therefore pick up dirt, dust, and any other lose substance it comes in contact with. In all the years we've been printing dry transfers theonly cause that we have seen for Archer transfers losing their adhesive properties is dust and dirt which has accumulated on the adhesive.
Some modelers do not keep the back of the sheet covered when not in use or inadvertently allow the back of the sheet to tough dusty surfaces. Keep the back of the sheet dust free and covered when not in use. Also, trimming the transfer you want to use from the sheet will prevent the rest of the sheet from being unecessarily exposed to dust and dirt.
Archer Fine Transfers are unconditionally guaranteed forever. Simply stated, if you're not happy we're not happy and we will replace or refund your purchace price on anything we have ever sold"
This statement pretty much says it all. Now what did Woody send me to take a squint at?
The first sheet is no. FG35025 "US ARMY DIVISION UNIFORM PATCHES" in 1/35th scale. These are designed to go onto the sleeves of 1/35th figures of US soldiers. The MSRP on them is $13.95. You get 24 patches for each of five different divisions. This amount will do a whole lot of figures.
Patches are given for the following divisions:
- 11th AB, Lete, Manila, Cavite
- 30th Div., St. Lo, Aachen, Malmedy, Stavelot, Rhine
- 10th Div., Gothic Line, Po Valley
- 31st Div., Phillipines
- 37th Div., Munda, Manila, Bougainville, Lingayen Gulf, Bataan
As tiny as these shoulder patches are, the colors are amazingly right in register. Highly recommended.
The second sheet received is no. AR35134 "TIGER BATTALION INSIGNIAS for s.Pz.Abt. 506" On this mark, a tiger is shown leaning on a red shield with a white cross. Behind the tiger and shield is the letter "W". This mark was carried on the rear of the tiger's turret in the center of the turret basket. You get enough marks on the sheet to do 2 tanks from the 5 companys.
The color of this "W" denoted the group or company within this Panzer group. Green was Stab, white was the 1st company, red the 2nd, and yellow the 3rd. Archer gives us these four colors plus one with a black "W". I have not been able to discover the company that black would designate. I found the other units, depicted in the book
"Tiger I on the Eastern Front"
by Jean Restayn,
Histooire & Collections,
5, Avenue de la Republique,
F-75541 Paris Cedex 11,
ISBN: 2 908 182 815, page 76.
The final sheet sent to me is no. AR35043 "GERMAN WWII BALENCRUZ #1" in 1/35th scale. These are variations of the German national cross. Again, there are numerous crosses on this kit to do quite a few German vehicles. MSRP is $11.95.
Archer is considered, by many modelers...including myself, to be the CADILLAC of dry transfer decals. Woody is a very friendly person to deal with too.
Archer decals can be found at Greatmodels (who carries part of the line) or ordered directly from them at:
Archer Fine Transfers
1205 Silvershire Way
Knightsdale, NC 27545 USA
Phone: (919) 266-4181
I highly recommend these dry transfers and look forward to getting some more.