HOW TO GET THE U.S. AIRCRAFT INSIGNIA RIGHT!
BY DAVE PLATT PHOTOS BY BUDD DAVISSON
If you are one of many modelers who acquired an ARF-type model of an American airplane, the chance that its star-and-bar markings is correct is about one in 10. It’s sad but
true. Among models built by usually careful
modelers and displayed at meets, like the
Toledo Show and Joe Nall, the situation is
somewhat better, but incorrect markings
still outnumber the correct ones.
What is it about the star-and-bar
marking that makes it so di;cult to get
right and so often to be done wrong?
Judging by the wide variation of ways to
goof it up, there are a number of reasons. To
illustrate this point, at a recent Top Gun event,
one of the static judges, Rich Uravitch, and I
looked in amused amazement at one particular
model where the star and bar appeared in six places
and each one was wrong—and each in a di;erent way. If we
take a look at a correct marking and analyze its construction,
we can see how easy it is to get wrong. In doing this analysis,
it must be noted that, like anything military, the markings
follow a strict formula, with variations from it being virtually
On the positive side, the formula is extremely simple because
all the dimensions are based on one measurement only: the
radius of the circle enclosing the star. So let’s start.
Draw a circle with a known radius.
;is dimension is referred to as “R.”
Inside the circle,
draw a regular five-point star. (Note:
;e top point faces
up on the side of the
fuselage and forward
on the wings.)
;is flight of Mustangs all show proper star-and-bar insignia.