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White decal problem

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  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
White decal problem
Posted by Bobstamp on Sunday, September 19, 2021 9:08 PM

I have come up against a brick wall in attempting to make a decal for the helipad on my Revell model of the hospital ship, U.S.S. Repose

I want it to look like this, with background colour to match the grey of the helipad, but I’ve found it impossible to match the colour; regardless of the settings I use, the grey is too dark, too light, not "blue" enough, or "too blue":

The best idea I’ve come up with is strips, letters, and a circle in white vinyl, but I have no idea if it’s possible to have vinyl stickers cut to custom shapes and sizes, or whether I could even afford it. And I’m concerned that the vinyl’s thickness would be obviously out of scale. Any suggestions?

Bob

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Sunday, September 19, 2021 9:43 PM

A quick google search came up with some decal options.  

Thanks,

John

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Sunday, September 19, 2021 10:38 PM

keavdog

A quick google search came up with some decal options.  

 
Thanks for your thought. I was in the shower when the same thought came to me! Using Google (DuckDuckGo, actually!) I found Bedlam Creations, which makes custom waterslide decals in white (and other colours, of course). I've sent them a request for a price quote; their prices seem quite reasonable, much less than I should have been paid for spending most of the day trying to trick my printer into providing the right colour!
 
Bob
 

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Monday, September 20, 2021 8:10 AM

Of course, you have to use white decal paper.  The problem is that you have to trim the edges perfectly, else you get a white shadow around the decal.  Your decal edges are simple straight lines, so this should not be a problem.  I use a a scalple and thin stainess steel ruler to thrim decals.

For trimming complicated designs on white paper, here is what I do.  Before starting the decal I scan a sample of the paint.  Then, I open the sample and use the color picker tool.  I use the result to set the background color.  I then open a new image.  With most graphics programs you retain the previous pallet when you open a new one.  The result is that the result is the color of the paint (or close to it).  Now, if you leave 20 or 30 mils trimming error, it will not be that noticible.

Of course, white decals always have a fine white shadow from the edge of the decal. I solve this by dipping the tip of a sharp toothpick in the background color and run it along the edge.  Don't put much paint on the pick.  You don't want to get paint on the surface of the decal.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Monday, September 20, 2021 12:08 PM

rocketman2000

Of course, you have to use white decal paper.  The problem is that you have to trim the edges perfectly, else you get a white shadow around the decal.  Your decal edges are simple straight lines, so this should not be a problem.  I use a a scalple and thin stainess steel ruler to thrim decals.

For trimming complicated designs on white paper, here is what I do.  Before starting the decal I scan a sample of the paint.  Then, I open the sample and use the color picker tool.  I use the result to set the background color.  I then open a new image.  With most graphics programs you retain the previous pallet when you open a new one.  The result is that the result is the color of the paint (or close to it).  Now, if you leave 20 or 30 mils trimming error, it will not be that noticible.

Of course, white decals always have a fine white shadow from the edge of the decal. I solve this by dipping the tip of a sharp toothpick in the background color and run it along the edge.  Don't put much paint on the pick.  You don't want to get paint on the surface of the decal.

Thank you for your suggestions, Rocketman2000. Finescale member Pawel offered the same tips when I was building my Seahorse helicopter model and even created the artwork for the Lucky Red Lions squadron logo (required because the model was supposed to represent one of the UH-34Ds that the squadron was using to transport my battalion on operations in the Vietnam War.) 

I will certainly try this method again, but I am skeptical that I can trim the circle of the helipad pattern precisely enough to hide the fact that it's a decal.

I actually tried scanning the helipad to replicate the color of the grey paint, and on regular paper it looked close, but when I printed it (on two different brands of white decal paper), the grey came out distinctly blue-ish.

I'm hoping that the Bedlam Creations company can make a decal for me at a reasonable cost. Of course, what is reasonable? If I factor in all of the tools and paint and glue and lamps and storage boxes and display cases that I've used for, so far, only three completed models, I've spent perhaps two or three  hundred dollars on each model, maybe even more! I'm willing to pay quite a bit for the decal I need; to my mind, the right decal has inestimable value. Besides, I'm not planning to buy a Rolls Royce, go on a cruise!

Bob 

 

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, September 20, 2021 1:14 PM

Hi Bob,

Is the deck part smooth? If not, you should make it so.

A couple of things in your favor are that the lines all appear to be the same width, so you can either find pinstripe decals from Microscale, slice up your own, or mask and paint.

The letters/ numbers should not be hard to find, or print them as black outlined on white paper.

I would do the circle in similar fashion, probably in eight segments. Draw the circle on the deck and spend some time pushing them around.

 

Bill

 

 Modeling is an excuse to buy books.

 

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Monday, September 20, 2021 2:27 PM

Hello!

I'm going to chime in since Bob mentioned me... In this case here I would probably go some other way - like painting the deck white and then laying out the white lines out of masking tape stripes. The problem here would of course be the circle and the letters - but I believe a cutting plotter could crank out something like that? Then again - there's the size of it, it's probably very tiny... In that case having a company print something out for you in white is a way that worked for me many times.

Bob - good luck with that ship and have a nice day

Paweł

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

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Monday, September 20, 2021 6:41 PM

GMorrison

Hi Bob,

Is the deck part smooth? If not, you should make it so.

A couple of things in your favor are that the lines all appear to be the same width, so you can either find pinstripe decals from Microscale, slice up your own, or mask and paint.

The letters/ numbers should not be hard to find, or print them as black outlined on white paper.

I would do the circle in similar fashion, probably in eight segments. Draw the circle on the deck and spend some time pushing them around.

Bill

Thanks for your suggestions, Bill. I feel like I've already spent an entire lifetime building this model. I'm thinking that if I were to follow your ideas, I wouldn't live long enough to finish it! "…pushing them [decals] around" seems like a life sentence at hard labour (scaled way back, of course), especially after applying 88 tiny porthole decals, 28 tiny red crosses to lifeboats, and the three large red crosses to the smokestack.

Bob  

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Monday, September 20, 2021 7:07 PM

Pawel

Hello!

I'm going to chime in since Bob mentioned me... In this case here I would probably go some other way - like painting the deck white and then laying out the white lines out of masking tape stripes. The problem here would of course be the circle and the letters - but I believe a cutting plotter could crank out something like that? Then again - there's the size of it, it's probably very tiny... In that case having a company print something out for you in white is a way that worked for me many times.

Bob - good luck with that ship and have a nice day

Paweł

 
In the spirit of keeping model building fun, and finishing my model Repose hospital ship so I can start my next project (a Grumman TBM tanker), I decided to go with a commercially made decal from the Bedlam Creations company that I mentioned in a previous post. Bedlam responded promptly, and I've already sent them the specs for my decal. It's not cheap, but not horribly expensive either — U.S. $49 including shipping. That's a lot less expensive than decal frustration, and not a lot more than the cost of of a half-decent restaurant meal or a bottles of cheap whiskey. Besides, I have to do something to keep the economy afloat! Confused
 
Bob
 
P.S. After posting the above, I ordered take-out from a small Mexican restaurant, Holy Guacamole, that opened a year or so ago just a block and a half from our apartment. The cost for a chile relleño, four tiny tacos, and "Holy Churros" (deep fried, doughnut-like pastry with caramel sauce and vanilla ice-cream) was just a few cents shy of $50. Mind you, those are Canadian dollars, worth US $0.78 cents today.
 
 
  

On the bench: 1/500 Revell S.S. Hope, being built as the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose; Academy 1/72 F-86F Sabre, and a diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor). 

  • Member since
    June 2017
Posted by jmoran426 on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 8:21 AM
Like you Bobstamp, white lettered decals on dark backgrounds is common on model railroad equipment. A presenter at a Regional NMRA Conference spoke about the white decals conundrum. Determined to have a positive result, he told about finding a commercial paper printer that could use white toner for printing on dark paper. He paid $8,000 for a used printer that was $16,000 new. It held 4 toner cartridges and printed in one pass. He bought white and black toner cartridge at a cost of about $100 each. He used the black toner to make test print proofs of his artwork to determine validity of the artwork and positioning on the sheet and then printed the white on clear decal paper (about $5 per sheet). With care, he could get multiple copies of small lettering projects out of one decal sheet. He proved that it is possible to make your own white on clear decals, but not cheaply. His conclusion what that it would probably work out in the long run if you made decals that others would want and be willing to pay for. Sounds like you are proving that conclusion correct! Good luck.

jmoran426

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