Echelon’s latest decal set includes markings for no less than 16 French Leclerc Main Battle Tanks plus some additional tank names and generic markings to create even more. The set contains markings for both Series 1 RT5 tanks and Series 2 T6 tanks and this means that they can be used both with the excellent Tamiya Leclerc Series 2 kit and the not so great updated Heller Leclerc T5/T6 kit, although of course RT5 markings cannot be used on Tamiya kit.
In typical Echelon style we get a 12 cm x 19.5 cm sheet packed full with decals. This time so many markings have been squeezed into the sheet that there was no space left for decal numbers! These were included on a separate “Decal Locator Sheet” – piece of semi-transparent paper with outlines of all decals and their numbers printed on it. Very clever idea!
Instructions are also in the usual Echelon style – printed in full color, with several photographs of real tanks and clear information on decal placement.
While 16 marking options are included, only six models can be completely equipped with markings as we ‘only’ get six sets of data plates and stencils. Incidentally six marking options for Series 2 T6 tanks are included, what means that we can purchase six Tamiya kits and have full set of markings for each of them. Other 10 options are for Series 1 RT5 tanks. These include some KFOR tanks and it is a pity that Tamiya kit can’t be used (without very serious modifications) to make models of them.
Included marking options are:
1. RT5 tank ‘ANDELOT’, KFOR Operation “Joint Guardian”, Kosovo 1999
2. RT5 tank ‘LIBYE’, KFOR Operation “Joint Guardian”, Kosovo 1999
3. RT5 tank ‘LUNEVILLE’, KFOR Operation “Joint Guardian”, Kosovo 1999
4. RT5 tank ‘PARIS’, KFOR Operation “Joint Guardian”, Kosovo 1999
5. RT5 tank ‘CROIX DE MEDAVI’, KFOR Operation “Joint Guardian”, Kosovo 1999
6. RT5 tank ‘TOLHUYS’
7. RT5 tank ‘TONNERRE’, KFOR Operation “Joint Guardian”, Kosovo 1999
8. RT5 tank ‘JUPITER’
9. RT5 tank ‘ARES’
10. RT5 tank ‘PARIS’
11. T6 tank ‘BAYEUX 1944’
12. T6 tank ‘CHERBOURG 1944’
13. T6 tank ‘MONOKO ZOHI’
14. T6 tank ‘STRASBOURG’
15. T6 tank ‘TEUTATES’
16. T6 tank ‘YSER 1914’
For all tanks we get tank names (white or gray) and registration numbers. For some we also get bridge class markings, unit emblems, tactical markings, French flags, chevrons, KFOR stencils etc. Some of the markings include multi-color designs and were printed as two separate decals that have to be applied in layers.
In addition to these primary markings we also get various placards – some really tiny. The location of these placards is clearly shown in instructions on small photographs of real tank components.
As a bonus we get large number of blank French vehicle registration plates and numbers to create additional markings. We also get complete tank names for several additional tanks and also generic letters and numbers to make even more of them. Included are various tactical markings often seen on French tanks and other armored vehicles.
I tried to find reference photos of tanks included in the marking options, but only managed to find a couple of them. For those I found I can say that Echelon markings are spot on. One minor possible inaccuracy is the color of numbers on registration plate of “Yser 1914” tank, as photos in my reference collection show them painted in gray, while they are printed in white on the decal. Other markings for this tank are very accurate, so it is likely that registration plate was repainted and color was changed at some point of this tank service.
If there is anything I don't quite like, it's the green color on bridge class markings. It doesn't look 100% right to me. I would prefer to get the bridge class numbers separately on a clear background to paint my own green circles for them, but unfortunately they are only provided as complete decals.
Decals are printed by Microscale, so there should be no problem to apply them, particularly if Microscale’s own Set and Sol setting solutions are used. All colors are printed in perfect register.
This new decal set is quite typical for Echelon, meaning it’s excellent. I highly recommend it, not only for all modelers building Leclerc kits, but also for those building models of other modern French vehicles. I personally plan to use some of additional markings to replace ugly decals included in Heller VAB kit.
Many thanks to Echelon Fine Details for the review sample
An excellent decal sheet from Echelon that can also be used for other modern French vehicles.
About Pawel Krupowicz (Vodnik) FROM: WARSZAWA, POLAND
As first lines of this bio appear under all my reviews, I feel it is important that I start with this information: In March 2005 I ventured into the other side of modeling "industry" - I was not only building model kits, but also helping design them as a consultant for Dragon Models Ltd.. These days...