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looking for a custom decal maker

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  • Member since
    November, 2016
looking for a custom decal maker
Posted by skyhawk1943 on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 9:07 AM

I have a factory model of an A-4E from McDonnell/Douglas which I received some 50 years ago while serving with VA-36 Roadrunners. I am looking to get some decals made to turn the generic gray factory into a VA-36 CVW-17 livery scheme. I have some pictures of our paintjob from 1970-1971 which may prove helpful. If you are interested please contact me via this forum or at dmoylan@aol.com

Tags: factory A-4E
  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 4:04 PM

Hello!

Custom decal printing usually works so that you draw the decals on your computer and send them to the custom decal provider, who prints them out for you. Just looking at the pictures won't get you the results you need, because you need to determine the scale of your model and get all the sizes right. I'd recommend getting an aftermarked decal sheet for an A-4E that is closest to what you need and most accurate. Then you scan it and redraw in CorelDRAW or a similar program. Then you rescale it based on the measurements taken off your model and you are ready to print. Sounds complicated, but I checked personally - it's doable. This is exactly what I didn with my Whale:

Good luck with your project and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    November, 2016
Posted by skyhawk1943 on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 7:34 PM

Pawel    Thanks for the quick reply and that's a great looking Whale you've got there. Spent a lot of time with my probe in the basket of one of those. A welcome sight when the petrol was getting skosh. One further question for you. I have a piece of artwork (Squadron decal) which goes on the fuselage. The artwork is three inches by three inches. I need that decal to be approximately 12cm by 12cm (1/48 scale model). Can I just reduce the artwork image until I'm right sized and then print the decal from that scanned image or am I missing something along the way. Is there some need to redraw and rescale? I also found the AA tailmarking on an A-3 sheet of decals. Thry appear to be the right size but I was planning on doing the same thing. Scanning them into jpeg format then changing thr size if I need to. What do you think? Thanks Dan M

  • Member since
    November, 2016
Posted by elation on Sunday, December 04, 2016 5:57 PM

Didn't know one could make their own decals.  A couple days ago, I thought I saw a blank sheet of decal. Did I see it wrong?  

I am familiar with software like illustrator and photoshop and getting a cricut machine Soon. 

With the digital cutter in hand, can I buy a special decal sheet to print on?  Or does it use special ink too? 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, December 05, 2016 2:46 PM

elation

Didn't know one could make their own decals.  A couple days ago, I thought I saw a blank sheet of decal. Did I see it wrong?  

I am familiar with software like illustrator and photoshop and getting a cricut machine Soon. 

With the digital cutter in hand, can I buy a special decal sheet to print on?  Or does it use special ink too? 

 

There are two types of DIY decal paper, one for laser printers and one for inkjet printers.  Further, for each type there are clear sheets and white sheets.  The clear sheets are for making dark decals to use over light colored surfaces.  The white sheets are for making light colored decals to go over dark surfaces, or to make decals with white color areas in them.

The dark decals are easy to do, and if you want to try to make some decals I recommend you start with the clear paper and black or dark art. 

For making light colored decals, or for decals with white in them, there are two methods.  One method, best for larger, simple shaped decals, requires you to cut the decal out exactly, so that no white edge shows.  The second method requires you to set the background color of the design to the color of the surface or paint you will be putting the decal down on.  Matching colors exactly is hard, but if you are reasonably close, then by cutting the design very close to the edge it will probably not show too badly.  But, you still will get a very thin white line around the decal due to the thickness of the white decal film. You will need to touch up this white edge with a small brush or toothpick.  Difficult but doable.

I generally get my decal film sheets from Micro Mark.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November, 2016
Posted by elation on Monday, December 05, 2016 3:16 PM

I see.

Thank you.

Ya, I guess you need a white sheet to represent white since most printers don't have White ink.

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Monday, December 05, 2016 3:34 PM

Hello Dan!

Thanks a lot for your kind words. I'll get back to you when I build my next carrier aircraft or yellow gear.

I think it should be possible to scan the decal and have it printed out, but there are a few things to watch for. First, you need to scan high resolution, the printing companies have very nice printers, so if your pixels are too coarse, it will show. That's extra important if you plan to enlarge the pattern. If you are making it smaller, the pixels will get finer, so it's OK. The other issue is the background - you would have to make it clear somehow, where the background is and where your pattern is - because the printing companies have no problems printing white. So you have to check with a selected custom decal company - each has their own specification on how they accept the designs to be printed. I prefer to redraw my decal patterns in CorelDRAW - I feel it gives me more control over the dimensions, background, and is also better for drawing geometrical patterns that you see on aircraft markings all the time. Changing things is also easier than in a bitmap program. Some decal companies will also redraw and process your pattern for an extra fee - maybe that could work for you?

Anyhow - good luck with your project and have a nice day.

Don - while I see the beneefit of quickly printing a decal or two at home, the issuses you describe make me go to custom decal companies - they got really nice toys, can print white, silver and gold in addition to other colours, dang, they can even get you decals and pre-cut masks of exactly the same size - lots of nice options and in the end it's cheaper to do this way than getting an extra printer, ink for it, decal paper and extra clear varnish, and keeping it all set up - unless you print a lot that is. I need custom decals like once a year - I know going to a pro with it is cheaper for me that it would have been doing it myself.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    August, 2013
  • From: Michigan
Posted by Straycat1911 on Friday, February 03, 2017 3:28 PM

The one time(so far) I needed custom decals, I used

www.speedwaydecals.com

I got about 75 images on one sheet for a decent price. Wasn't cheap compared to a single subject SuperScale but it was quality work.

The gents name is Thomas Logan; send him a reference photo and the size you need and he'll get it done. He mainly does cars, but he will do other stuff, too.

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