In-Box Review
Aiming Post Stripes
Aiming Post Stripes - suitable for U.S. and German aiming posts
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]


Ever since man invented cannons he's had the problem of how to aim them.

Oh, I don't mean shoving the muzzle forward and blasting away.

I mean aiming and actually HITTING something.

Today this job is performed by computers, often with the aid of lasers, radar, wire guidance (in the case of cannon-fired missiles) and spotters radioing in coordinates mapped to Global Positioning Satellites (GPS). But originally trying to figure out how far away a target was and how to aim the gun or adjust the propellant was done with visual aids.

Aiming poles.

Using mathematics, you take a reading, compare it to an aiming pole divided into marked lengths, and triangulate the distance. Like finding the unknown side of a right triangle.

Aiming poles in both the US and German artillery in WW2 were red & white striped. Trying to replicate the striping can be challenging: they're small (as narrow as 2mm at the butt end of the German poles, and 4mm on the US ones). Spacing out the reds and whites is nerve-wrackng. Now Archer Fine Transfers has come to the rescue with a set of aiming stripes for both armies.

what you get

Inside Archer's usual glassine envelope are:

1 sheet of decals
1 instruction sheet

the review

I love guns.

No, really, I love any kind of cannon model. There's something impressive about a piece of ordnance that can blast holes in the enemy's line, level buildings and wreak havoc on the battlefield. It is said that artillery did more to determine the outcome of the First World War than any other armament. Those who've been under an artillery barrage say it is worse than anything else.

Recently we've been treated to a run of new gun kits, large and small. I have the 105mm howitzer, the British 12 pounder, and just picked up the AFV Club 8" howitzer at a model show last month for a very attractive price. But the accessories for big guns are often poor: few of the tools of the trade, especially aiming poles. Making your own is challenging enough; painting them is a nightmare. Up until now, it required elaborate masking.

Life is too short, and my thumbs are too big.

Now you simply paint the pole white and apply these red decals. They're pre-spaced, the only trick is to figure out how much you need. Archer assumes you'll likely need extras in case you mess up, so the set includes enough decal to do several poles. The instructions even advise you how to make your own in case the kit doesn't provide them (8" howitzer, Grrrr).

The process is pretty straightforward: paint the pole, apply the decals, add setting solution. There are decals for German artillery spotter poles (8mm wide) and US (4mm). Kurt Laughlin did the research on the US portion.


Archer Fine Transfers continue to provide excellent products that make models better and the lives of modellers like me easier. Thanks, Archer!
Highs: Well-done as always.
Lows: Pricey, but quality comes at a price.
Verdict: A must-have unless you like masking tiny sticks.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: AR35359
  Suggested Retail: $6.95
  PUBLISHED: May 24, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Archer Fine Transfers!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Bill Cross (bill_c)

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright 2021 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. All rights reserved.


Bill, I'm assuming you trim the decal where those black marks are, so they fit onto the poles?
MAY 25, 2012 - 03:37 AM
Those marks are to let you know where the decals end, yes, and are not part of the poles. The instructions show how the poles should look for both armies.
MAY 25, 2012 - 05:07 AM
Looks interesting....I think I will stick with painting....I could see the application driving me nuts, plus I love to dent & weather my poles. As for accuracy of artillery in WWII....remember it killed more troops than any other weapon. "Aiming point this instrument" PS....for VN era, poles were also green and black...same spacing. PSS....Aiming Posts are also used with mortars Rounds Complete!!
MAY 25, 2012 - 12:33 PM

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