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General Aircraft: Tips & Techniques
Discussions on specific A/C building techniques.
Home made decals
LuckyBlunder
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Kansas, United States
Joined: February 02, 2006
KitMaker: 273 posts
AeroScale: 163 posts
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2007 - 11:00 AM UTC
Hi everybody -

I'm still struggling with remodeling my house(Moneypit Manor) so I havn;t been able to attack some of my ever burgeoning stash but I think about it a lot. It's a shame how life can interfere with living.

The thought struck me that I havn't been able to find any attempts by anyone to make decals. I'm under the impression it can be done with a computer and a good printer and graphics program.

My immediate problem(besides my house) is that I want to build a model of a DH-89 Rapide in the colors of the royal family. There was such a machine. It's described in the Profile Publication for that airplane(Iforget the number) and in the color section there is apicture of the crest that was on the side of the aircraft.

I could scan it into my computer and enlarge it and even print it out but I don't know how to make a decal of it in 1/72 scale.

Any thoughts?
grubbyfingers
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Victoria, Australia
Joined: September 07, 2007
KitMaker: 404 posts
AeroScale: 339 posts
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2007 - 04:29 PM UTC
Hi Steve, I've made a few sets of my own decals over the years quite successfully.

First thing to think of: Do you need white in the decals? If you do, you will need to get them made by someone with an Alps printer or something similar, or get them professionally screen printed.

If you don't need white, and it doesn't matter if the colours are somewhat translucent, I have had great success running blank decal paper through a LASER printer (An inkjet printer won't work, they need absorbent paper). The blacks come out completely opaque and sharp. The downside is that colours tend to be translucent, so they need to be applied over white. You also can't guarantee a colour match like you can with screenprinted decals. Screenprint inks are mixed to match whereas a laser printer will give you an approximation out of CMYK colours.

Once printed, I give them a coat of dullcote, glosscote or similar and they work like normal decals. You do need to trim close as the varnish acts as the carrier film and is all over the whole sheet.

As I say, this process works best for blacks and a very fine result is possible as laserprinters have a fine resolution.

I have had Alps decals made, but at $60AUD per A4 page, it's not cheap for a single model. I suppose if you worked out about three years in advance what models and colour schemes you were going to make, you could create markings for the lot and get them made.

Of course, you could get multiples run up on an A4, get them Alps printed and sell off the spares. I have done this with my NSCA chopper in the Guardian Angel build. Trouble is - it's not very likely anyone else will want to build that particular bird in that particular scale!


I hope this helps.

Graeme.
m_buchler
_VISITCOMMUNITY
California, United States
Joined: March 20, 2007
KitMaker: 137 posts
AeroScale: 103 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2007 - 06:36 PM UTC

Quoted Text

... (An inkjet printer won't work, they need absorbent paper)....



Well, actually, an inkjet printer will indeed work! You can purchase both white and clear decal paper for both laser printer/copier AND inkjet printers. I get mine from MicroMark (www micro-mark.com). I have made decals with my inkjet printer and have had good results. The only drawback to inkjet-printed decals is that the ink is water-soluable, and the decals must be clearcoated (try Krylon clear acrylic) before use. However, this does not always guarantee total protection from potential ink runs or smears. Your clearcoat must be done well, and you should minimize the time the decal sits in water.
LuckyBlunder
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Kansas, United States
Joined: February 02, 2006
KitMaker: 273 posts
AeroScale: 163 posts
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2007 - 03:18 AM UTC
Mark -

Thanks for the tip. Just to be clear on this - the Krylon is applied over the finished decal on the paper before dipping in water for application to the model?

I'll order some of th epaper from Micro-mart today and give this a try.

BTW - are you a fan of Dino? I only have every record he ever made. There'll never be another like him.

Steve
Erik67
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Buskerud, Norway
Joined: July 31, 2005
KitMaker: 1,871 posts
AeroScale: 58 posts
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2007 - 03:33 AM UTC

Quoted Text

the Krylon is applied over the finished decal on the paper before dipping in water for application to the model?



In short: Yes.

Erik
m_buchler
_VISITCOMMUNITY
California, United States
Joined: March 20, 2007
KitMaker: 137 posts
AeroScale: 103 posts
Posted: Monday, December 03, 2007 - 05:50 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Mark -

Thanks for the tip. Just to be clear on this - the Krylon is applied over the finished decal on the paper before dipping in water for application to the model?

.... BTW - are you a fan of Dino? I only have every record he ever made. There'll never be another like him.

Steve



Correct, Steve. Spray on the Krylon over the finished decal. Let those decals dry overnight, as they often remain tacky for a while, so they'll need a good long air dry first.

Yes, I am a fan of o'l Dino. And you're right, there will never be another like him.

"Tell me quick... ain't that a kick... iiiiiiinnnn the head!"
grubbyfingers
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Victoria, Australia
Joined: September 07, 2007
KitMaker: 404 posts
AeroScale: 339 posts
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 02:38 PM UTC
Hi Mark,

Thanks for the correction! I'll have to keep my eye out for it.

All the best,

Graeme.

m_buchler
_VISITCOMMUNITY
California, United States
Joined: March 20, 2007
KitMaker: 137 posts
AeroScale: 103 posts
Posted: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 08:29 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the correction! I'll have to keep my eye out for it.

All the best,

Graeme.




Happy to help.
Merlin
Staff MemberSenior Editor
AEROSCALE
#017
_VISITCOMMUNITY
United Kingdom
Joined: June 11, 2003
KitMaker: 17,581 posts
AeroScale: 12,794 posts
Posted: Wednesday, December 05, 2007 - 01:01 AM UTC
Hi Steve

I looked at a couple of systems a while back http://www.modelgeek.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=372 . While Crafty Computer Papers is a UK company, I think the paper they use originates in the States, so you may well be able to track it down.

All the best

Rowan