Over the past year or so, Mike Grant has built a solid reputation for his line of ALPS-printed aircraft decals. The artwork and printing on these decals has been excellent, and the subjects have been wide-ranging, from Polish Albatros D.IIIs to Idaho ANG A-10s. With his latest sheets, Calgary-based Grant has taken the next step – the 1/72nd and 1/48th scale Foreign Gladiator sheets are not ALPS-printed, but screen-printed decals printed by Fantasy Printshops. From a user’s standpoint, the main advantage is that unlike the ALPS decals, where the entire sheet is covered by decal film, these are individual decals, making them much easier to apply.
The quality is excellent, with five Gloster Gladiators are included on the sheet. The Gladiator is an aircraft that lends itself to exotic schemes; it was used by at least seventeen different air forces, and many of those are ones rarely covered by mainstream decal manufacturers. The choices here are an ex-RAF Egyptian Mk.II; a captured Luftwaffe Mk.I, in squadron service; a Lithuanian Mk.I; a Greek Mk.I; and a Latvian Mk.I.
Previous sheets from Blue Rider, Aviation USK/Tally Ho!, and the Encore reboxing of the Heller kit have included aircraft from some of these air forces, but Grant has wisely chosen different examples from those; for example, the Latvian example is “116” rather than the familiar “114,” and is one which was later used by the Soviets, giving another choice simply by replacing the Latvian swastikas with Soviet red stars. The Lithuanian example is also a different aircraft in a different scheme than former Lithuanian aircraft, being based on an operational Lithuanian example rather than the Gloster-applied markings.
Of special interest are the Egyptian and Greek aircraft, neither of which I’ve previously seen offered; the Greek example in the four-color RAF shadow-shaded scheme is especially appealing.
The instruction sheet is brief but functional; we’re so used to FS or RLM colors being provided that we forget not everything is meticulously documented, and that we don’t have an exact match for Lithuanian Olive Green. The instructions provided are in black and white, but a full-color PDF file of the instructions can be found on their site. This is a great idea, and one that I’m sure we’ll see more often in the future.
This is an excellent choice for Grant’s first screen-printed sheet, and is executed to his high standards. Mike Grant Decals can be ordered from their web site.