Decals – Success on whites and colors

Everyone,

Apologies for not updating the blog lately with the last projects.
Work has been focused onto creating units as requested and I thought to give a little update on regards the decals.

I can confirm (at least from the tests done so far) that I will finally be able to go on with the decals and therefore creating more artworks and decal liveries.

I’ve done a test on a smoothly-rough black plastic surface with first, a white underlaying decal (left side of the photo) and then with the decal color on top (right side of the photo).

There are a couple things to notice; one is that after several trials and erros I let the door markings as subtle as I wanted them to be, which is in my mind the scale concept between size and colors.
These instruction letters on the doors are unreadable for such a small scale (obviously) but pleased with the subtiness of the decal.
Also the outline for the door handle is grey which really does not highlight too much on a black surface (that is why airplanes that are black or have dark colors on that door area, markings are usually white) but this was just a test.

Overall I am very happy with the result, I have started to adapt the A320 artworks to be printed in this new method so I am looking forward to build a model with them. Another important aspect I wanted to comment is that the decal is very thin (but resistant) so once the white decal was placed and set, there was no issue in placing the color decal on top, it slided very well, approaching it into place slowly and the edges are practically not visible even without using the softener in this case.

 

On regards the GSE and other items to be uploaded at the store this week, I am doing a change in one of the molds for the catering truck to keep things simpler to build for the modeler, so the catering may have some delay of a couple days from Wednesday for that reason. Cargo loader, A320 galleys/cargo holds, tug MA50, A320Neo PW engines are still set to be available on Wednesday.

Best wishes,
Guillem

Decals – First test passed

Hello everyone,

November the 1st, we are entering into winter and this allows for a better work with the resin, although I really need to get a new mask to protect myself well from all the chemicals I handle, specially due the photo etched process.

I finally have been able to do a proper decal print, I call it a test but it is actually a valid decal. So far I did first tests with the galley decals because I knew I needed to adjust a few lines and redesign the whites in order for them to be printed properly on the new printer.

The next step is to fix the artwork for the A350 and actually test these decals on the model. I am pleased with the results, and although decals going on color surfaces other than white will requiere of the white decal underlayer first, I am sure it won’t be a big problem since most airliners are white.

This decal carrier is thinner than those from the previous decals, but yet resistant, so these will adapt very well. The fact that the white will be a separate layer does not mean it won’t be opaque, it is still opaque as before and I will do some test prints on black surfaces to truly see the result.

I am really looking forward to fix all the artworks that so much time took me to create, the sucess printing those decals has given me more courage to keep designing more liveries in the near future.

Note that white is actually more visible than in the photo
Note that white is actually more visible than in the photo

As for the other items in the store, I am currently making more units of:

  • A320 Neo engines
  • A320 galleys and cargo holds
  • Catering truck
  • Cargo loader
  • Pushback AST-1

Set the goal to have available the first 4 from the list at around next Wednesday.

 

I also wanted to apology if anybody has contacted me recently and I haven’t given a response back. I found out today (thanks to Frank) that the contact form module needed an update and thus I wasn’t able to receive messages for some time, I ask to those who haven’t received a response from me to please try again as I have updated the form and it seems to be working now.

Thank you all for your time, interest and patience!

Best wishes,
Guillem

The importance of colors

Hello all,

Finally, finally I have been able to do sucessful test prints for the decals, I did prints with color and with white. Naturally it is impossible to match such small details in two print passes to have white underneath the color, usually a 0,5mm marging can be left, but some details are even smaller than 0,5mm. Despite that, white layer will be included for any specific decal color for which surface on the model isn’t white. Being the thickness of the decal carrier 7 microns, it won’t be an issue having it underneath. I have been told of the several Russian artists who also use this method.

This will represent in a modification needed for all the artworks I’ve done so far, as well as do some further tests for very small decals as I am still checking the settings for best results.

There is one thing that I would like to comment and that is the color of the decal once printed. Naturally, since the backing paper is light blue, decals tend to have a bluish color, but that won’t be the case once placed over white.
For that reason I have printed an extensive color swatch with many tonalities and CMYK color codes so that I am sure that the decals match the real color that I see on the color swatch.

I will not guide myself for the colors I see on the screen as these widely vary from monitor to monitor, instead, I will be selecting codes for what I consider a closest match to the real aircraft colors.

Here is a quick example:

I slided the decal to the right, you can see that from left to right, there is the backing paper, in the middle is the color as seen once printed over the blue backing paper and on the right, the true real color once placed on a white surface, both colors are the exact same decal.
Tonalities can change a lot, so do not be alarmed  if the decal colors doesn’t seem right on the blue paper, they will once over white.

Last test on colors was to actually place the decal of the white surface next to the printed color swatch (printed with the same printer) and tone of the decal is 100% the same as in the color swatch, ths will allow me for a better selection of colors while creating artworks.

So far I am pleased with the results, it was about time I could have some… now I will need to rework the decals I have designed so far.

 

This weekend I may not be able to upload any progress on the two current projects, reason being that I won’t be able to work on these. During this week I have started to prepare more units of the catering and the cargo loader, unfortunately one of the cargo loader molds broke, therefore I need to redo this mold and will also make new ones for the rest of the set.
After having made new molds for the LD3 trolleys, Neo engines, and carts A, I need to reorganize the material and put the molds in a proper place. My space is limited so keeping things in order is a very important aspect.

Will keep working on the projects as soon as I have these things fixed.

Best wishes,
Guillem

Printer issues

 

Dear all,

Sometimes I feel like I am under a bad spell because of issues appearing after issues.

So far the print tests were fine, but recently there is an annoying ammount of chances for the paper getting jammed (virtually, not physically) in the new printer. We are talking about one single print out of 5 or 6 attempts.

I won’t be giving brand names but the nightmare I am living with this printer is awful.

Feeling abandoned by the former company in front of customers with faulty decals and other issues, I saw myself forced to take measures and do things on my own; so far, the road is being very, very difficult.

I reject the option of contacting a second company because I want to face this myself, provide the decals going through my own inspection, due lack of trust, due viability, just in the same way I make each photo etched parts for all the items.

It makes me feel sad, because I worked so hard on all the artworks I’ve done so far, I find myself in an stressful situation which is affecting my work with the other items.

I keep in contact with the customer service to find a solution to this, but everything takes time and it is more pressure added to the list.

I do not know whether I lost the inversion or not, but I will defenitely do my very best to overcome this situation no matter what.

September has started the wrong way, but it is not how it starts but how it ends.

Will try to relax working on the current items and making stock units, unfortunately I can’t divide myself into two, so I have to learn to do both tasks in an orderly method.

 

Thank you all for your patience,

Guillem

First tests with the new decals

Hello everyone,

As you may probably know, due some issues that I prefer to forget, I had to take the decision to make my own decal prints for the GSE models as well as for the aircraft liveries.

I have started to do some tests with the printer and so far I am happy with the results.

At first glance, can you tell which one is printed from my printer and which one from the expensive printer at the companys? (apologies for the quality of the photos).


On the left, the one I printed, on the right, the company’s.

Naturally, there is more than a first glance; a higher price printer which already includes a white color from manufacture will always be superior to these more affordable printers.
These highly priced printers can print white + colors in a single pass, which means that the white underlaying color would be perfectly placed below the colors, there are many other pros on the expensier printers obviously, but if we compare the overall look/quality, you can still print very good decals at a cheaper price. I am not criticizing the expensier printers, but I have been proven that even expensier printers can have issues in some areas.


Image above is zoomed about five times the decal size.

There is one thing that I am still working on, which is the sharpness of the colors (specially black) when there are lines close to each other, this is something I noticed in the settings and I am still configuring these parameters. I am still familiarizing myself with the different setups and there are several options that need to be checked.

One of the things that really surprised me is the opaqueness of the white as you can see on the first photo. These numbers are actually a decal placed on a black paper, and at first instance, I am also happy with the decal thickness.

Speaking of the white color; it is very possible that I may separate the white underlaying decal from the color decal in some circumstances thus placing first the white decal (as a primer) and then the color decal. This would not be an issue if a decal logo is bigger since you can reduce the size of the underlaying white, but the majority of the details are quite small, some lines are 0,08mm thus even reducing the artwork, it would not perfectly fit under the colors in a second print pass.

I personally don’t think that would be a bother, since this would happen only with decals that currently have a visible white and that are mixed with colors, there are very few decals currently going on dark colors, most of the airliners have white colored fuselages.

The main issues I had were with paper jamming after or during the print process, but that is something related to the print setup and specifying a proper paper type in the settings solves the issues.

Metallic colors won’t be present on my decals (at least by now). That is something I had to think about and I took the decision to not to include them, that will also be reflected on the final price and I would like to give a comment on metallics.
To be 100% honest, I think that metallic prints looks cool, however, about the windows frame and from the realism-scale point of view, these may not be very accurate since the chrome-like shine may be unrealistic for the scale, when you see an aircraft in real person, the window frames do not reflect like a mirror, it is a more dull color which actually happens anyway if you clearcoat the model, modifying how the light reflects on the metallic particles of the decal.
The reason why I used metallic in the previous decals was because I had the chance to, and because it is what most manufacturers use, but the same way as the reds for the several stencils have too much contrast for my liking, just because a manufacturer does include metallic color doesn’t mean that is the way to go.

That is speaking of window frames and from the colors I previously used for that particular printer, however, it will be missed on the leading edges of the A350 decals. Although it won’t be the same, I am not disregarding that particular decal, as I am working on a photorealistic leading edge. In the end these are options that are included on the decal set since in most cases the leading edges had to be painted.

Please, understand that above images are tests that I did just in one morning time. I am going to try some other settings and try to improve the edge sharpness. Overall I can say I am positive with the results and the decals are going in the right direction. Would like to take the chance to mention that besides the Air China A350 with the Expo 2019 colors, I have also completed a Skyteam Vietnam decal set as well as working on a new A320Neo livery.

All these changes actually took time from the stock making of the GSE models and time form the 747F detail set (as well as other items on the list), but I hope to update the 747 cargo progress very soon.

There will be some time required to modify the artworks to be printed in the new printer, although the printing company thought was my sensei not much of what he instructed can be rescued/used for the decals, in the past I was much more limited using dull Pantone colors, but now I can adjust better these colors to try to match those of the real aircraft, so I will be changing colors in future liveries as I won’t be printing Pantone anymore.

Best wishes,
Guillem

 

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