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Gabe Q

Custom Decals Black Aces

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I'd like to get a set of custom decals made. I have the 1/72 Black Aces kit which I would like to scale up to 1/48 scale. I've never done this before so what I'm asking for is this:

  1. What graphics program do I need that I can make and edit the decal set in the appropriate filetype?
  2. Who is the best person/company to contact to have these printed in high quality?

I'd like to get a small run (about 20 or so) made up to offer here on the boards at cost. The reason I'd like to do this is because of the considerable interest shown at the last MWCon. I feel it would really benefit the community.

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Hey Gabe! Photoshop or illustrator would probably be the best both by Adobe. Not sure about decal company. Hit me up if you need more help.

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Illustrator is what you want. Drawing decals is easy, especially if you're sizing up pre-existing art. I got my first knowledge in Illustrator sizing up 1/72 decals to 1/48.

Microscale and cartograf both have a minimum requirement of 500 sheets I believe (they're the two biggest) so you'll have to find a smaller distributor

Edited by Skull Leader

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You gotta print them yourself, it's too easy not to! Just draw them up (I use Corel Draw or even PowerPoint) and then print them. White lettering is the only limitation. Micro Mark sells superior quality papers (white and clear) and even has a set. After printing (inkjet or toner-specify on your order) you just spray a fixative on them-BAM, it's that easy. I've bought from several other distributors with varied results and quality, that's why I say Micro Mark. I even used their papers straight on the Bug Eye and Daedalus. Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss more, seriously, its easy to do!-MT

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Would you be willing to share the scan of the decals? I'm interesting in printing a set in 1/60 scale. That's the plan for my Yammie assembly kit.

Once I have a place to do it, anyway...

I'm a graphic designer, and am pretty good in Illustrator. If you need it, I could help with vectorizing them - I was going to do it eventually, but I don't have that version of the kit.

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Illustrator is the usual choice but Corel can manage it. Best in vector format which has a bit of a learning curve but again not unmanageable.

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I've been printing my own decals for a while now, however the non-printed white is a HUGE issue. You can basically only apply the decals to a white aircraft only. All the colours (especially if your laser printing them) will be translucent and will take on the hue of whatever underlying paint colour your applying them on. Its fine when we have white Valkyries, but when you start to stray and go to other colours, they will "cast" that colour onto your decal designs. If you have a dark paint scheme then forget about printing your own decals. You need the white underneath to make your colours/design show through. The white sheet is of no use because you have to trim around your designs perfectly to not see any white carrier sheet left behind. It's too bad Alps printers went the way of the do-do. Please let me know if anyone finds a solution to this problem!

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Thank you, guys. I really appreciate all the help. I think I'm gonna just have to print these myself.

First order of business is to get me a copy of Illustrator. I'm ordering up some decal paper per MechTech's suggestion.

I'll keep you guys posted.

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If you can't get Mechtech's stuff, don't discount the Testors decal paper... I've won contests with decals printed off of it, so don't think it's useless, and it's probably cheap and easy to find.

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I use the Micro Mark paper too, and it works great. Pretty much have seen all the best advice here already. I was going to suggest vector format, as it will allow you to enlarge and shrink the images too, but in a cram, you can just use what you got. I've made decals using Photoshop CS2, and they came out great. Before you start top coating your decals, I'd practice on a blank sheet that you can cut up. The goal is to make the decal waterproof to hold up during the release time, but too much can make them thick and not look too good on it's final destination.

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I've been printing my own decals for a while now, however the non-printed white is a HUGE issue. You can basically only apply the decals to a white aircraft only. All the colours (especially if your laser printing them) will be translucent and will take on the hue of whatever underlying paint colour your applying them on. Its fine when we have white Valkyries, but when you start to stray and go to other colours, they will "cast" that colour onto your decal designs. If you have a dark paint scheme then forget about printing your own decals. You need the white underneath to make your colours/design show through. The white sheet is of no use because you have to trim around your designs perfectly to not see any white carrier sheet left behind. It's too bad Alps printers went the way of the do-do. Please let me know if anyone finds a solution to this problem!

There are ways around this... although you have to be a little savvy about how you lay out your decals. If the decal shape isn't a complex one (say, like noseart for example), I'll trace a thin black border around the decal and print it on white decal film... I can trim the black border away to nothing and boom, you have your white decal :)

Also, there is this transparent decal paper that dries white here: http://www.modeltrainsoftware.com/decalpaper.html, although it's really not any different than printing on already-white decal paper

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There are ways around this... although you have to be a little savvy about how you lay out your decals. If the decal shape isn't a complex one (say, like noseart for example), I'll trace a thin black border around the decal and print it on white decal film... I can trim the black border away to nothing and boom, you have your white decal :)

Also, there is this transparent decal paper that dries white here: http://www.modeltrainsoftware.com/decalpaper.html, although it's really not any different than printing on already-white decal paper

Not really... yeah, I've backed large areas with white decal behind, but for those designs that are large enough to cut a white decal to back, I would just mask and paint. Its mostly the tiny lettering that's impossible to cut out - so no, I haven't found any workable solution yet.

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