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Anyone interested in a "How To Make Your Own Decals" ebook?

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Since most of us either want something different than the box provided decals...or need unusual/no longer available decals for a particular project, such as my current Monogram F-105...I'm going to bite the bullet and ask the question you see in the title. In a little more detail, what would y'all think of an ebook that was available in multiple formats...including mobi, epub and pdf...and very reasonably priced? There would be an in depth discussion of available papers for inkjet printing, how to create the image in the first place using Photoshop or Gimp, limitations and peculiarities of inkjet printing and more. Of course photos of finished models with the created decals. I've been threatening to do this for a long time. Let me know what y'all think and I'll see if I can quit threatening and put the project on the list.

 

Richard

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Good idea, Richard. I'm interested in creating my own decals. I was certainly inspired by IPMS/NCT (Lee Thomas) long ago when this subject came up. Thanks!

 

Mark

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Those were the days, weren't they? That goes back to when IPMS/NCT were meeting at the Coke Plant near Love Field.

 

Richard

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I would love to see this done. I have several 1/72 scale armor projects I want to do but I need the decals for them. Naturally nobody makes them so I have to find a way to do it myself. I've been waiting for a comprehensive and understandable "how-to" for a long time.

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Mark,

 

Looks like I'll have to start assembling the necessary material to create this ebook. Don't know how long it'll take, but consider it in the works. Answer me one question: Do you want me to assume that no one knows anything about making their own decals or start a little farther up the line?

 

Richard

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Put me down as being interested in the e-book as well. From an inclusiveness standpoint, I'd go ahead and start from "square one". You probably don't need to go into a lot of detail on the basics, but a little can't hurt.

 

The only area requiring full coverage (in my opinion) is the problems associated with "white". All three methods of getting white markings on models should probably be addressed: pre-painting (or post-painting), using white decal film, and finally, for those with Alps printers, printing the white areas on clear film.

 

Great idea, Richard...best of luck!

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Robert,

 

Since there are no space limits on e-books as well as the fact they can be hotlinked for navigation, there's no reason I can't go whole hog. If you already know the basics, skip to the next section. As for the Alps printers, I've never used or even seen one. As a result, any information provided on the Alps will have to come from those of you who have used one and info on the internet. I have learned that Alps will quit producing the inks in May 2015. In any event, the e-book's focus will be inkjet printers for the simple reason that this is what 99% of modelbuilders have.

 

Still, since this project has barely gotten off the runway...actually it's just started warming up the engines..., I'm open to any comments or suggestions y'all might have.

 

Richard

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Richard, I agree that starting from Square One would help. Again, you don't need to do too much in the way of basics, but enough so I can get an idea of how to do it. I'd also include a section on sizing in a Paint Shop Pro/Corel Draw/ or other software system since I have no way of knowing whether something I want to print up will come out to the scale I want.

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Mark,

 

Resizing is an essential part of the process. I use Photoshop 6 and plan on demonstrating using that program, as well as Gimp. Gimp is a free, open source photo program that is very similar to Photoshop 6. I'll also mention one or two others that will do a similar job if you're itching to spend a chunk of money. :smiley24:

 

BTW, it will also be necessary to discuss scanners and scanner techniques.

 

Richard

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Dick,

I, for one, would welcome any "how to" manual you might care to make... Your intention is superlative, and seeing as I am in the midst of making my own decals (thank you, Squadron for your paper) I for one would appreciate any alternative which might be available...

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Robert et al,

 

All comments and ideas are most welcome. They'll serve to make the decal ebook even better. A variety of decal paper will be covered, along with information on where to find the stuff.

 

Richard

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Richard,

 

This is a great topic to cover in an e-book. I have been looking all over the internet to find this type of information with very little luck. Any general graphic creation/resizing/copying and reprinting information is what is needed. I have Paint Shop Pro, but I would assume that general techniques are easily transferable.

 

One topic of interest is making a copy of old decals and cleaning them up so they look "new". A second is resizing a set of decals to use on a larger or smaller scale model.

 

Thanks for thinking of this as there is very little real usable information on this topic.

 

Skip

Edited by SkipZ

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Skip,

 

I know exactly what you're talking about. I'm been researching the net to see what is actually out there and it ranges from fairly useful to out and out guess work. More interesting is that most of the decal info is geared toward cars and railroading. While useful, many of those techniques and the recommended paper don't translate directly to most of the subjects we deal with.

 

As for copying and cleaning up old decals...as well as resizing..., that's a piece of cake once you know how.

 

A note to everyone: Keep sending me ideas, suggestions and comments for what you would like to see covered. The more I know what you want, the better the ebook will be.

 

Richard

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HI, Richard,

 

I have an inkjet (H-P 7410) with a copy feature that offers an enlargement/reduction feature. Any image put on the glass can be reduced to 25% or enlarged to 200% or more. If a reduction to less than 25% of original is needed, make a two-step reduction by first reducing to 50% of original, print a copy, then make a further reduction of the 50% copy. This worked great for me on a flight engineer's panel in the cockpit of an RC-121 using a photo in a reference book as the original image (taken down three reductions to get the 1/72 image needed). I just printed the tiny image on a sheet of paper, which I then cut out and pasted onto the plastic panel face. Looking through the cockpit window one would never know the difference between decal and paper instrument panel details.

 

I just made a shoulder patch decal for a figure that needed to be .375" in diameter from an image I downloaded from the internet. I opened the photo file and selected PRINT. The program gave me the choice of size image to print and the number of identical copies per page (I picked 35). Once I printed this page in color, I determined the % reduction I needed to get to the required size (it was 56%). I then printed a 56% copy of the entire sheet. From this sheet I determined where the images of the patch would appear on the sheet, over which I taped the leading and trailing edges of a small piece of white decal paper. With the patch of decal paper taped onto the 56% sheet, I loaded that sheet back into the printer tray and made a second 56% copy over the first from the 35-image page on the copy glass. This overprinted the first 56% copy with the second, but the white decal paper received a first image. I then sprayed the decal paper with the decal sealer and let it dry. Now I had a decal of the image in the size I wanted without having to go into any other software. Cut it off the decal sheet, soak it in water, and apply it to the figure. Seal with Future.

 

Hope this works for you, too.

 

Ed

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Hey Ed,

 

That's a rather convoluted approach, but if it works for you there's certainly nothing wrong with it. In fact, if all you need is a single instrument panel or shoulder patch in 1/72 or even smaller, that's as good a method as any. Would you mind if I include that in the ebook as an alternative approach? Properly credited, of course. I'd also be open to techniques used by others to get the result they're after. Believe me, when it comes to making your own decals, no one has a lock on it.

 

Richard

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Hi, Richard,

 

Feel free to use these techniques in your e-book. The process of making the shoulder patch decal took less than 15 minutes start to finish. I only used enough white decal paper to make one image from the 35 available, thus avoiding waste (expensive waste). The inkjet reads the small rectangle of decal paper as if it is photo paper and prints a high quality resolution image.

 

Another idea is to print the image onto a white mailing label, glossy or matte. You get a self-adhesive sticker the thickness of the label paper, which is also great for making instrument panels for small models that show more details than other methods.

 

Ed

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Ed,

 

You know what they say...there's more than one way to skin a cat (but any way you do it, the cat ain't gonna like it!).

 

If we can pull all these different approaches together, I'm liable to wind up with a whiz bang of an ebook. And being an ebook, the price should be very reasonable.

 

Richard

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Sign me up too. I took on a commission build to convert a1/18 scale Corsair toy into the "Sky Boss " , a Consair on which the commisionee was crew chief for several years. The airplane wasn't restored to wartime original like they are now so nothing is standard size in terms markings. I'm a ways off from markings but have no clue how to produce them short of masking and painting them. The book you describe would be most welcome.

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Chris,

 

If the ebook isn't ready by the time you get to the markings part of your project, give me a shout. I'll see if I can help you out. Right now I'm waiting on decal paper from Micro-Mark and Papilio. It'll be a week or two before they show up.

 

Richard

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I'm an ALPS guy and would love to see this book.

 

AFAIK, the ALPS ink carts are currently produced under some other (Japanese?) licensed brand, after the original ALPS biz tanked some years ago. Any further intell on the future of the ink carts is appreciated!

 

That said, my backup plan for the white undershot has always been to print a blank to scale in black; use the blank to cut a stencil just a hair smaller than the desired image and shoot it with paint. When covering severe color demarcation differences, this method usually works better than the white decal and prevents the occasional issues associated with layered decals. Just my 2 cents here.

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Bob,

 

I have no info on the ALPS carts beyond what you said and what I can find on the net. Considering how long the printers themselves have been out of production, it probably won't be long before you can't find parts for them either. At any rate, your backup plan sounds quite reasonable. If you don't mind, I'll include your backup idea in the alternate methods section. BTW, mainly because inkjets are what most people have access to and is also what most paper is produced for, the ebook will focus on inkjet printers only. That said, the methods of creating decal images will be the same for either inkjet or laser.

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ALPS printers are the new Monogram Vacuform Machines--a piece of history patched together to keep working. Just like one of my cars.

 

Ed

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Hey Ed,

 

Mattel, not Monogram. I had...and still have...one of the originals, but I haven't used it in many years. My car...the real one...is 21 years old and still running. However, the patches are getting more expensive!

 

Richard

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HI, Richard,

 

Ooops, my bad. Mattel owned Monogram at one point, correct. Parent company. My way of saving face in the midst of an error. It's not my fault, it's the President's!

 

Ed

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Hey Ed,

 

Gentle, rolling laughter! Mattel owned Monogram for a brief time, but they would never have been considered the 'parent' company. But you're definitely right about one thing...we know who's at fault for the error!!

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