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Decal Review

Archer Fine Transfers 1/35 5-Ton M54 Guntruck "Little Respect" Graphics and Stencils

By James Lyles - Florida, USA

Basic Item Information

MSRP = $10.50 USD

Medium: 1/35 Scale Dry Transfers

Reviewed By James Lyles – James is a Four time Vietnam Veteran and Former Gun Truck Commander. James also authored "The Hard Ride": Vietnam Gun Truck series (Volumes 1 & 2).  (Editor's note: Click Volume 1 and Volume 2 to see my book reviews here at WarWheels.Net.)




Detailed Review


I have always preferred using dry transfers over traditional water slide decals because dry transfers are much thinner than decals.  Therefore, after painting a clear coat over them, they closely resemble actual military stencils and peel n’ stick letters, numbers, stars, etc.

The only drawback to using dry transfers is that you usually only have one shot at applying them. If you don’t get them right the first time, you can’t reposition them as you can with water slide decals.



Overall, the size and shape of the balloon type side lettering is very close to the original with no bleeding of the colors. However, being somewhat of a perfectionist, I do find a number of slight inaccuracies with the "Little Respect" transfers.

First of all, the color of the side graphics should have been bright orange, not red. I have over 70 full color photos of "Little Respect" which were taken over the course of it’s existence and all photos show the color to be bright orange except two. The two photos that show more of a red color could have been caused by a number of problems including variations in film processing.

Secondly, the "Little Respect" graphics were slightly different from one side to the other. The transfer set only reflects the way the graphics looked on the passenger side and is merely repeated for the driver’s side.

Thirdly, since the original US Army letters and numbers on the hood and rear were white vinyl “peel n’ stick appliqués, they should be solid without the gaps of a standard stencil. The US Army lettering on the rear (below the tailgate) seems to be the correct size but it should be solid as the original. The US Army lettering on each side of the hood is somewhat larger than it should be. This lettering should also be solid, not stencil-type lettering.

Fourthly, standard size front bumper stencils were 4 inch. There were two styles of stenciling on "Little Respect", early and late. The front bumper stencils on the early "Little Respect" started out as 4 inch with a white line forming a rectangular box surrounding the stencils. Later on, the outline was dropped and the standard stencils were replaced with oversize stencils.  These were fairly obvious and may have been used because they ran out of regular size stencils or because the crew just wanted the lettering to stand out more and got away with it. Either way, the transfers in the set are more closely in line with the standard issue 4 inch military stencils but shouldn’t make too much of a difference except to purists.

Lastly, three large stars are included in the set but since "Little Respect" did not have a star on the hood, it’s nice to have the extra star in case you mess one up.

Ease of Use

I think the transfers were very easy to use but extreme care must be observed in their placement because they cannot be repositioned once they have been applied. They went on very smooth and flat.


Print Quality/ Detail Level

These high quality dry transfers are very bright and thin as a shadow.  (Editor's Note:  As you probably noticed, one of the white US Star markings was torn.  That did not come to me that way, but happened when I was preparing to scan the image.  My fault.)

The instructions and illustrations that come with the transfers are straightforward, helpful and easy to understand.

Despite some minor inaccuracies, all in all this is a nice set of dry transfers that will make it much easier for the gun truck modeler to replicate "Little Respect".

Rating = Recommended

Thanks to Woody Vondracek and Archer Fine Transfers for the Review Sample

Copyright: James Lyles - September 25, 2007