Home > Reviews > Modern > Echelon Fine Details 1/35-scale Decal Sheets: USMC Operation Iraqi Freedom parts 1 and 2


Echelon Fine Details 1/35-scale Decal Sheets: USMC Operation Iraqi Freedom parts 1 and 2

by Cookie Sewell

TM35004, United States Marine Corps Operation Iraqi Freedom M1A1HA
(Heavy Common) Abrams; six complete vehicle marking sets: price US$14.50
TM35006, United States Marine Corps Operation Iraqi Freedom M1A1HA
(Heavy Common) Abrams (Part 2); six complete vehicle marking sets; price US$14.50

Advantages: gorgeous, well-done sheets with COMPLETE marking data and information
Disadvantages: relatively high prices may scare off some buyers
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: for all USMC and OIF fans

For many years now armor modelers have noticed a great sloughing off of their interests by waterslide decal manufacturers. Alas for those companies, in the interim there have been a number of great dry transfer manufacturers like Archer Fine Transfers that have stepped up to the plate and cleaned up. Many modelers have now become firm converts to dry transfer markings as a result.

Nevertheless, there is still a market out there for wet (waterslide) transfers (decals) and new companies are coming in to meet that need. This one, Echelon, is from Singapore, which only goes to show the internationality of the hobby.

These sheets are each 125 x 192mm (about 5 x 7 1⁄2in) but are crammed with a great deal of markings and information stencils. Each one provides specific markings for six individual vehicles, all from the USMC 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sheet 004 covers six sand painted tanks – "Big PITO," "Saddamizer," Sinister Minister,", "Kitten Rescue," "4 Play,". and "Hard Licker." The first three are from 2nd Tanks and the last three from 1st Tanks. "Hard Licker" is also noted as mounting a mine plow set. Each tank has good call-outs on where markings go as well as the markings used on its APU (auxiliary power unit) and other elements. The decal sheet even includes the greenish plastic bagged shipping documents now seen on many US items in place of the old-fashioned paint stencils.

Sheet 006 covers four European tri-colored tanks and two Forest Green tanks. It should be noted that many of the Marine tanks were simply rolled out of stocks that were pre-positioned for Europe and used in Iraq, and ergo were not painted sand prior to arrival. Some had half-hearted attempts at sand paint, but overall it makes the Marine tanks more interesting from a modeler's standpoint than the Army ones when it comes to painting and marking. The four tricolor tanks are "Hermes/Cut Vaseline," "Valhalla," "Angry American," and "Lazy-Eye/Kuler Blynd," all from the 1st Tanks. The other two are "Protest This" and "Nightmare's Witness" from Task Force Tarawa and 1st Tanks. As with the other sheet, all of the stencils and warning decals for the APU and other sections of the tanks are included.

Due to the fact that the company had to work from photographs they do note that most vehicle serials were not available and they did not get an accurate accounting of serial to bumper code or name (understandable given the dust and kit carried by most tanks in Iraq.)

Overall these are great sheets, and now if you are not yet a user of dry transfers you have an excellent set of waterslide decals to use to personalize your M1A1 model.

Thanks to Peter Brown for the review samples.