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Is there a way to rescale, print your own decals?

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  • Member since
    September, 2018
  • From: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Is there a way to rescale, print your own decals?
Posted by AirLandSea76891 on Wednesday, September 12, 2018 10:17 PM
I've not been able to find any 1/100 decals for a Northwest Airlines 727-100 in the 1960's livery. I've found a livery set for the Northwest Orient scheme but then the aircraft would not be the exact replica of what I'm trying to model (the 1971 D.B. Cooper jump). So I’m looking at the 1:144 Minicraft Northwest Airlines 707 kit and wondering if it the decals could be made larger. I don’t have any printing equipment at home so it would have get it done by others.
Yes, I know 1/100's are large - I have a custom made dual livery Pan Am/TWA Boeing 707 from Atlantic Models in Miami - but for my purposes I need for the 727 to be 1:100, based on the size of the typical 1:100 (Pan Am 707 photo) and 1:144 (Air Force One photo) entry doors so that the human figure being suspended from the aircraft would not be microscopic and be able to be seen.
My favorite airliner has always been the 727 (then the VC10, DC-10/MD-11 and L-1011) and I'm fascinated by the airstairs. As such this would be a good entry for my initial foray back into modeling. My thought is that it would be a basic build with no flaps down – and without 1,000 parts Smile - with the only modification being Cooper suspended in mid-air. I have a couple of other ideas for props on some of the models that I’m thinking about buying and building.
Back to the original point of the post, I want to know if this is possible before I embark any further on that journey… or just accept it and use the 1970s livery (which just happens to be my all-time favorite livery for NW)


"Enjoy your life now. It comes with an expiration date."


  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, September 13, 2018 8:44 AM

Yes, I have done it quite often.  The first thing you need is graphics software.  The gold standard is Photoshop, but it is very expensive.  For resizing decals that are scanned from an existing graphic, not much is needed, so a relatively inexpensive graphics program is usually adequate.  I believe one comes with Windows.  You need to compute (easy grade school math) the resizing percentage, then resize the scanned file by that much.

Then, you need to print it on inkjet paper (clear).  This is easy for dark decals over light colors (NWA markings are mostly in this category).  Making white decals is a whole different ball of wax).

Then you must coat the decals to make them waterproof.  However, they must be completely dry first.  Depending on the printer, this may take 3 to 4 days.  I use Testors glosscoat myself, but I have tried several other clearcoats with good success.

You will have to cut out each decal carefully, since this process makes the whole sheet into one decal.

I saved one airliner kit that already had NWA markings.  I now always scan decal sheets before using.  During application of the kit decals, I ham-handedly ruined one of the long side stripes.  No problem- I printed and coated a replacement.  Asked my friends to tell me which side was homemade- they couldn't tell.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, September 13, 2018 9:16 AM

I did that recently. In addition to all of Don's good advice. I suggest you make a work plan. Decide what you'll decal and what more reasonably would be painted.

Everything "type" related is a good decal candidate. Things like stripes are often much easier to mask and paint.

Find out which paints you need and order them.

Any printed decal you create that goes down over white is a good candidate for white decal film

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Fort Worth, TX
Posted by RESlusher on Thursday, September 13, 2018 10:35 AM

I would also suggest getting as many decals on the page as possible.  Putting one thumbnail sized graphic on a page wastes a lot of paper and clear-coat.  Fit as many as you can on the page even if they are for other projects.  Make it worth the effort.

Richard S.

On the bench:  Takom M9 ACE

On deck:  Trumpeter SA-4 Ganef

In the hole:  Who knows what's next!


  • Member since
    September, 2018
  • From: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Posted by AirLandSea76891 on Thursday, September 13, 2018 10:48 AM

That's great news now that I know its possible.

Thanks for your input.


"Enjoy your life now. It comes with an expiration date."


  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Thursday, September 13, 2018 10:56 AM

Richard, you are correct, however I've developed a way around that.

I print a test decal on plain full sized copy paper fed through the manual feeder that I also use for decal paper.

Then I cut out a little piece of decal paper thats sized for the decal I want to print. I tape it to the paper print along the leading edge of the decal paper, right over the previously printed image. Run the sheet throuigh the printer agin.

It generally works very well.


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