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Question Re. Testors Decal Making Kit

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I just purchased the Testors Decal Making Kit (Tes 9198) which includes a software CD - two questions come to mind:

 

1) Has anyone had any experience using this kit for making Custom decals?

 

2) If so, can online clip art/designs be imported to use with this software?

 

Thanks,

 

Hank

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Hank,

 

Good luck using your decal making kit. To answer your question; I have been designing and making my own decals for some time (without a kit) and I can't imagine why any image that will import into your program won't work. The best results will depend on the quality and resolution your printer is able to print. Just be certain to set it to the type of paper (probably photo glossy) your program recommends and follow the directions carefully.

 

Post some pics of your new decals.

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Rusty,

 

Thanks for the reply. This will be a new facet of model building for me. I've had others create decals for me from my CAD drawings, but this will be a first for me. I expect the kit in the mail within a week or so. We'll see what happens at that point.

 

Hank

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Nick,

 

I ordered it from Hobbylinc online - www.hobbylinc.com

 

Hope this helps!

 

Hank

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I have had it for a number of years now, and have never had an issue with it. I've used their designs as well as importing my own. I picked mine up at a local hobby store here in NJ

Edited by JSTARKIII

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OK, I'm at a total loss as to how to even BEGIN to use this software. There are no instructions about anything - PERIOD!!!

 

Help doesn't work on Windows 10 O.S. At this point, I would just as soon uninstall and figure the cost of this piece of S$#%%!!! program down the drain!!

 

I've just spent 2 hours trying to figure out ANYTHING about how to import existing photos for making them into decals without any form of success. It went downhill from there!!!!

 

If anyone has a CLUE about how to go about starting this thing, please let me know!!

 

Thanks,

 

Hank

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Sorry to hear that you are having problems. I've been making decals for years now and am loathe to tell you that specialty decal programs are really not necessary. Any picture printing and editing program will work. If you can scan or import clip art into a photo, you can make decals if you have good decal paper for you printer.

 

With the two hours you have spent on the kit software you could probably have figured out how to do it with the photo editing software that is in Window 10. It is no different than printing photos except you need decal paper(which the kit gave you) and the instructions on how to use it.

 

To be up front with you, I am also a hobbyist photographer and have Photoshop which is far more complex than what you need for making decals. If you want to learn photo printing, you take a tutorial on photo printing(Youtube has a ton of them) you could kill two birds with one stone, learning photo printing and decal making all in one. Both of which will save you a ton of money having someone else do it for you.

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Pete,

 

Thanks for the reply! I am not at my workshop (where all my decal printing kit is located), but will check out the YouTube tutorials you suggested. I am familiar with the Win10 photo editor as it is a pretty good editor compared to earlier versions. When I get back to my shop next week, I'll look to see if the decal paper had any instructions with it. Perhaps by then I will have decided on a particular .jpg to use for the new decals and will have scaled it according to my needs.

 

Hank

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REMEMBER that your printer does NOT print white. So any white on your photos will not print properly, if at all. I print all my decals on white decal paper and instruct those using them to cut around the flags (I only make flags) as close as possible to the perimeter.

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REMEMBER that your printer does NOT print white. So any white on your photos will not print properly, if at all. I print all my decals on white decal paper and instruct those using them to cut around the flags (I only make flags) as close as possible to the perimeter.

Rusty, good point! Been doing this so long that it didn't occur to me to mention it. Actually I print most of my decals on white as ink jet inks are somewhat transparent and any camouflage or color divisions under the decal with "bleed" through.

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The only thing of any value in the Testors Decal Making Kit is the can of Decal Bonder. As for the CD, you will have to buy another CD for $9.95 to be able to import any designs. The CD that's included in the 'kit' limits you to what is on the CD. I'd suggest you download a copy of my ebook "How To Make Your Own Decals'. It discusses the entire process in 67 page detail, including equipment, software, paper, etc. Full information and a link for ordering can be found here or here. Hope this helps.

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Peter, Epson inks are archival quality and tend to be more opaque than many other inks. However, you are correct in many respects. No matter what brand of ink you use, yellow is a nightmare to print so that it's actually visible, never mind opaque. In that case, printing on white decal paper is virtually a necessity.

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I have an old copy of Photoshop 6 and have learned to use it over the years. It does what I need it to do and that's really all that matters. The current Photoshop exists only as a subscription based product on the cloud. If you want a photo program that you can install on your hard drive, requires no subscription and is not too terribly expensive ($80 - $90), you might want to check out Corel PhotoPaint 2018. As Peter said about Photoshop, PhotoPaint 2018 is way more than you need to do decal design. BUT it has excellent, easy to understand video tutorials that'll come in very handy if you want to learn photo enhancement or manipulation.

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I have an old copy of Photoshop 6 and have learned to use it over the years. It does what I need it to do and that's really all that matters. The current Photoshop exists only as a subscription based product on the cloud. If you want a photo program that you can install on your hard drive, requires no subscription and is not too terribly expensive ($80 - $90), you might want to check out Corel PhotoPaint 2018. As Peter said about Photoshop, PhotoPaint 2018 is way more than you need to do decal design. BUT it has excellent, easy to understand video tutorials that'll come in very handy if you want to learn photo enhancement or manipulation.

Richard, I am running the CS5 version of Photoshop and refuse to upgrade it. I was very annoyed when they went to cloud based subscription. I get use to a program that works and it seems like they change it just to make more money. I'm not going to play that game.

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Pete, ain't it the truth! Since I now have Photoshop 6 (and Photoshop 5) as well as Corel PhotoPaint 2018, I figure my photo and decal requirements are covered for the foreseeable future.

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One last thing to note about making your own decals. Once you are happy with your print, be sure to coat the sheet with a clear top coat. I use good ol' Krylon clear I get at Westlake Hardware. It does a good job sealing the colors to the white decal paper and will protect the decal from damage or scratches during application.

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I have Photoshop CS6 and an OLD version of Photoshop Elements v2. Elements works great for decals as it's basically Photoshop without all the bells and whistles. I agree about Photoshop. Adobe is PARANOID someone is going to pirate their programs, so they are constantly issuing updates, upgrades, requirements, and asking for my product id number to verify program legitimacy. The cloud thing is just another anti-pirate precaution.

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Gentlemen, et al:

 

Thanks so much for the advice, info, etc. First, almost all internet programs are going to the cloud (actually, IMHO they are going to Hell in a handbasket!) and it is for one reason only - $$$$$$!!! My CAD program is trying it's best to get everyone licensed on a cloud-based platform, which is why I don't have a current license. It's ridiculous!

 

My only need at the moment is to create some 1/144 scale hull numbers for one of my ship models. These are black, military block numerals with a white shadow (you've seen them I'm pretty sure) - that's it! So, I'll take all the advice, info, instructions, etc. into account and go from there. I do have the official USN drawing that illustrates the proper size, styles, etc. so it's just a matter of creating a CAD file that I can print on decal paper and get it to come out correctly. FYI - this particular scale is an odd-ball in the hull no. decal world - none currently available that I know of. There are a few other items to be drawn up (also numerals and simple symbols, etc.) which I'll include on the sheet, but the hull numbers are the main attraction.

 

Once again, thanks!

 

Hank

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My only need at the moment is to create some 1/144 scale hull numbers for one of my ship models. These are black, military block numerals with a white shadow (you've seen them I'm pretty sure) - that's it!

Hank, there are suitable computer fonts already available which will preclude your making your own or can be easily modified. Many are free, some cost a few bucks. Here's one source (these are not free, but well worth the cost): http://www.tlai.com/med_des/modeling.html

 

A search for "US navy hull number font" will turn up many other possibilities.

 

Install the font, type your number/name in Adobe Illustrator using the appropriate font, then convert the type to outlines. Voila! A vector graphic which can be scaled up or down or otherwise modified as necessary.

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Michael,

 

I appreciate the link and info! I'll look into that avenue although I don't have Adobe Illustrator (just Acrobat Reader) at present. It's quite possible that one of these fonts can be imported into my CAD program and used like any of the included fonts. I use the same program at work and can stay late and experiment - esp. during these cold nights!!!

 

Hank

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Hank, CAD is probably a less useful tool than a vector graphics editor. One option (assuming you don't need to pass the artwork to anyone as a graphics file) is to use the open source drawing tool in OpenOffice (available from "http://www.openoffice.org/".) The learning curve for the 'Draw' component isn't too steep and can result in some marvelous graphics. Also, it can integrate with any fonts you might install as well as decompile font characters so you can treat them as graphics. The advantage of vector based graphics is they can be output to any scale without distortion (aka the 'jaggies') or pixelation effects. An example of this level of work can be found on the IPMS/Hampton Roads Scale Modelers website:

http://hamptonroadsscalemodelers.com/star-wars-a-wing-decals-of-the-studio-model/

 

That aside, one trick for designs that incorporate white areas is to apply a border color compatiable with the intended application background color so when printed and closely trimmed, the white areas will be sharply defined without having to trim the boundary exactly. For the ship's numbers example, the white shadow can be outlined with a light gray color. Then, when trimming for application, you can either cut at the white/gray boundary or just trim so the gray will outline the white area (almost like a mask) while blending into the hull color. I always recommend test print runs on regular paper to 1) check the color results since printed doesn't always match what you see on screen and 2) to allow for a 'proof' to allow inset of a sized bit of decal paper into a full page of paper (use thin "Scotch" type tape on the back to hold the decal paper in place... and not too much) so you don't use any more decal paper than necessary. This technique may not work if your printer has a 'loop back' feed path however, unless you are able to secure the seams thoroughly so they don't "peel".

 

Hope this of some use!

Regards, Robert

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Robert,

 

Once again, Thanks! - I'll look into this (Openoffice) and their vector graphics Draw component. Quite professional the way that fellow had laid out his artwork and so forth on the Hampton Roads example. I do understand your comment re. the gray background - I had another modeler draw up some similar type graphics for me for a different ship model (can't recall the program he used but I think it was Illustrator) and he sent the .pdf to me with the objects placed on the sheet with various shades of gray as a "surround". These were not decals but printed on regular white paper. It worked great as the actual object was raised from the mounting surface and this gave that effect on the model. The gray I picked was almost invisible after placement.

 

Looks like I've got some "schooling" to do and since this isn't a current on-going need, I should have time to research, download, study, etc. all the items that have been presented so far.

 

Hank

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Bob mentioned taping the decal paper to plain paper for printing and it keyed another tip I use that may be helpful. I buy 8 1/2 by 11 sheets of decal paper and cut them up to fit my 4X6 photo paper tray. Most HP printers have a secondary tray that is for photo printing single photos. This way you have less waste from the decal paper. If you use photo paper for your test print you will get a true color representation as most decal paper is slightly glossy. I don't mind wasting the 4x6 photo paper as it seems that HP always adds a package when I buy larger packs of the 8 1/2x 11 sheets. I have stacks of the stuff and almost never print the old size photos.

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There is reference above to cutting out images from the printed decal sheet. Would any of the available laser or spinning blade cutters be suitable for cutting out decals?

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