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Model Car Decal Placement Tips

Aug 1, 2008
Part of what makes building model cars fun is the ability to correctly portray the car that the model represents. One of the tools that helps you to do so is the placement of decals on the car. Decals add that special touch without requiring you to have to hand paint everything. It cuts down on the time it takes to finish as well as the amount of skill involved in model building. The one thing it can take is a steady hand and maybe a bit of patience.

There are different sources for decals that you can choose from. Whether you use the ones that came with your model car, make your own, or have a professional decal manufacturer do it decals can be gotten from many places. If you are new modeler then you may want to get used to applying the ones that came in your model building kit. Once you have built a bit of experience then you can experiment with creating your own water slide decals.

Creating your own decals can be fun and interesting. Before you begin however you must make sure that you have the correct paper. You need to start with ready made sheets of clear decal film. This will give you the best turnout for your money. Many suppliers are available online that carry it and even say that their paper is ink jet ready. If you have a design in mind and can put it on computer it can be transferred direct to this film. If this doesn't work for you then read on!

Once you are ready to start you can either create different masks for each of the colors you wish to use or you can silkscreen it. To create individual masks all you have to do is to mask the film for each of the color separations that you will be making. Always make sure that you apply the lightest colors first and work out to the darkest. This can be a very cheap method and is really pretty easy. It can take up a lot of time though if you have to make several of them. Always make sure that you take the time to think out each mask before you set it up.

If you are going to silkscreen it can be just a bit more involved. Basically you will create a different screen that allows the paint to go down on the model according to which screen you are using. Each color has its own separation and the screen catches the excess paint. It can produce a high quality decal and it is not too hard if you need to produce more than one but if it is misaligned it can mess up the decal and cause you to have to start all over. The set up can be just a bit difficult as well.

If making your own decals seems like too much of a chore then you can always print it off of a computer or draw it out by hand and take it to a local print shop. Most of these can copy the picture on a color copier and then transfer it to a decal sheet for you. While the quality may drop because of their printer or ink not being up to standard this does tend to be the most cost and time efficient way for modelers to get the decals that they want.

Producing your own decals can allow you to add a bit of flair to your model car. It is like adding your artistic signature and tells people "I was here."
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks. You will find excellent hobbying and trading resources here for model car decal info, model trains, and model trucks.
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