by: Robert Blokker [ ]
Archer is a company that does not really need any introduction in this day and age. It has been one of the leading names for years when it comes to producing decals and dry transfers for giving your vehicles markings and identities. And they are going strong ever since with interesting releases. Not only does Archer provide decal sets for vehicles. They also produce neat stuff to finish of details in your diorama’s or adding that finishing touch to items to be found as cargo on and in your vehicles. Which brings me neatly to the set I am going to review here.
what you get
The German crate and box stencils from Archer are water-slide decals and they come in a bag with a folded-up label stapled to it. The label states the brand, the scale and price while the back gives you the contact details of the company. Upon opening the bag you will find a blue decal sheet measuring roughly 9cm by 11cm and an instruction sheet on A4 folded twice.
The subtitle already gives a mention of what exactly it is you are going to stencil: "Medical and miscellaneous boxes and crates." A quick glance at the sheet reveals this to be very true: pretty much half of the sheet is dedicated to boxes of a medical nature with terms any field hospital would be very happy with. Aside the medical section you will find a section with "Miscellaneous," a section "common to all crates" and the bottom part is dedicated to the big swastika and eagle stamps that the German army stamped on everything showing it belonged to them.
All the decals are available several times, and both come in black and white for (respectively) unpainted and painted boxes.
In the medical section you will find The following decals:
- Verbandkasten (First aid box): 6 pieces - 3 in black 3 in white
- Sauerstoff Behandlungs Gerät 38 (Oxygen treatment apparatus 38): 4 pieces - 2 in black 2 in white
- Sanitätskasten (Medical services box): 6 pieces - 3 in black 3 in white
- Plasma (plasma): 10 pieces - 5 in black 5 in white
- Watte Tabletten (cotton wool pads): 6 pieces - 3 in black 3 in white
- 144 Stk. Vasenol Fuss-Puder (144 pcs. Vasenol foot powder): 4 pieces - 2 in black 2 in white
- 100 Stk. Hansaplast Nachfuellung (100 pcs Hansaplast* resupply) 4 pieces. 2 in black 2 in white
- Vulkan Sanex 1000 Stk. (Vulkan Sanex prohylactics): 6 pieces - 3 in black 3 in white
- More red cross symbols then you’ll find at the annual worldwide red cross meeting
* Hansaplast is a brand of band aids
The miscellaneous section can basically be divided into 2 sections of its own: the majority of the decals is centered at communications equipment; the rest is made up for food containers. On this section you’ll find:
- Netzgerät E-41 (Switchboard set E-41): 10 pieces - 5 in black 5 in white
- Fernfeldsprecher 33 (field telephone mod. 33): 4 pieces - 2 in black 2 in white
- Speisebehalter (food container)
Common to all crates
Here you will find some general directions that can be placed on any crate or box. I’m talking about Oben (top), Nicht Werfen (do not throw) and Vorsicht! (caution!); each is available four times, two in black and two in white.
The bottom part holds 37 Eagles with swastika and date. Eighteen black and nineteen white come in three different sizes. This is a very generic decal that could be found on anything the Germans transported, be it food, ammo, car parts or the Ark of the Covenant. If the Germans thought it belonged to them, it was on there. Each of the Eagle decals has a year on it, so you can do boxes that fit the year your dio is based on, as long as it is not 1945. From 1940 to 1944 the years are present.
The A4 sheet with the instructions is very clear: it gives an overview of the meanings of all the terms that are on this decal sheet, as not everybody is fluent in the German language. It also gives a bit of information on colors and in which situation you use a white stencil or a black one. And it gives a rundown of how to get the best results applying the decals.
This is a very nice set. The decals are very sharp in printing. The stencil font-type used is pretty much the same as I have seen on numerous surviving examples of boxes and crates from WW2 Germany. The red cross symbols are nicely-done in color, and the cross stands neatly in the middle of the white circles.
There is one thing I have my reservations about and that is with the field telephone stencils: I have never seen it written as Fernfeldsprecher. I own two very good original examples of the German Field Telephone Type 33, and I always learned it was Feldfernsprecher, which makes more sense since Fernsprecher is the German name for telephone, and the Feld- indicates the portable use in the field by the army. Starting to doubt myself, I did a Google search and it seemed to back my suspicions up, as Fernfeldsprecher 33 returned two pictures of this telephone type. While Feldfernsprecher 33 gave me several pages of exactly this type of telephone. I’d love to be proven wrong.
Aside from this little nitpick, I still have to say that it is a useful set. The medical decals will smarten up any cargo, and will make any medical-themed vehicle or diorama look more real. The other decals are good as well for piles of supplies or the odd box laying around. And if you ever plan to build an "Indiana Jones and the Ark of the Covenant being driven away from Africa" diorama, you can mark the box accordingly with the Eagle and Swastika.
Thanks to Archer Fine Transfers for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw it reviewed here on Armorama when ordering.