APC Decals 1/72 Replacement Decals
By Matt Bittner
After I obtained a KP 1/72 Letov Š.231 I did what most modelers do now-a-days: I performed a Google search on the aircraft type, as well as on the KP kit itself. This brought up only a few hits on the model, but one of those took me to APC Decals' site and their replacement decals for the kit.
Sometimes, when one obtains a kit on the "secondary" market, especially ones that have been out of production for some time, the paper instructions and decals in the kit have sometimes yellowed with age. That was the case with my example so I knew I needed to try to replace the decals. Since there are no aftermarket decals for the Letov Š.231 I thought that what APC Decals provided was my only option. I placed an order for the decals and contacted the owner of Hobbyshop.cz (whom distributes and makes APC Decals). He was willing to send the Letov Š.231 decals and others for review.
I was chatting with a friend of mine who couldn't see a business model for what APC Decals provides; replacement decals for older and somewhat out-of-production kits. He thought that when collectors purchase these items they want their kits in tact. To that part I agreed, a "true" kit collector wants all original items with a kit and won't buy anything else for that kit. But I can see the business model for what APC Decals provides in a few ways. First, to replace aging and yellowing decals. If you're going to build the kit, and most modelers will, why try to deal with the older decals and instead user newer, better decals? The other aspect I can see is if you fancy a particular scheme that only comes with the kit. Even if you have a more recent kit, that scheme is the one you really want to finish your model as. Finally, I can also see that - as in the case with the Letov Š.231 - there is no other options out there, so you're "stuck" with the kit scheme and decals.
So yes, I can see the busisness model for what APC Decals has created, and I think it's a good one. These decals are spot on and nicely printed, in register. Realize, though, you only get the decals as APC Decals rely on the instructions that come with the kit for final finishing. If your kit didn't come with instructions there are probably plenty of people on-line that can help.
I definitely thank APC Decals not only for the replacement Letov Š.231 decals, but all the decals they sent. Some of the others will definitely be used.