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Bespoke water slide decals

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Harrier Mate12/12/2019 14:20:14
179 forum posts
59 photos

Hi guys,

Does anyone have any experience of making bespoke water slide decals using special inkjet paper.... looking to make some fairly complex motifs for my Flair Fokker DVII.

Alan Gorham_12/12/2019 14:50:28
1218 forum posts
136 photos

I have used clear decal paper to make small stencilling text for my Hurricane. The text size was too small for my vinyl cutter to be able to cut paint masks.

Results were adequate but I prefer painting where possible as I can get better results. What sort of things are you looking to do?

I'd be interested to hear from others who have had good results.

Erfolg12/12/2019 15:23:46
11700 forum posts
1309 photos

I have made water slide decals on my Gee Bee.


Are these the types you are thinking of?

Engine Doctor12/12/2019 15:43:55
2460 forum posts
39 photos

The ink jet water slide paper may have improved over time. I used it when it came out some years ago and it took the print very well but the adhesive was very poor and the transfers kept peeling off when put onto Lightspan unlike the transfers we used when we were kids that really stuck. Have used the self adhesive inkjet clear and metallic with good results

Andy4812/12/2019 16:01:50
1489 forum posts
7 photos

You need to spray the transfer paper with acrylic varnish once printed, the thickness of the varnish tends to have a big impact on the quality. Too thin, and it is too fragile when wet, too thick and while it transfers well, it will peel shortly after.

Alan Gorham_12/12/2019 16:05:05
1218 forum posts
136 photos

I haven't had problems with either fragility or peeling, I used acrylic artists spray varnish by Pebeo as I figured it would be gentle on the transfer.

My average results came from the fact that, despite placing the transfer over a very glossy surface, I still experienced a bit of "silvering" of the clear film. I can put modern transfers on a plastic kit and they look painted on, while the inkjet transfers are very obviously transfers.

Erfolg12/12/2019 16:49:02
11700 forum posts
1309 photos

A lot has to do with the supplier, with respect to how easy things are.

I now spray as Andy does with acrylic (WBV) varnish, to increase strength. In the recent past I have had a white transfer, that was fragile and thin, at least in my hands. Hence the practice of increasing the strength.

I also have had the same issue of poor adhesion, long term, with some old decals, ready made. Now I also paint the area where the decal is to be fixed with WBV. I then just dab of any residue varnish.

I cannot claim to be an expert, as I have only undertaken the process a few times. Some that I have made and others pre made as supplied.

Harrier Mate12/12/2019 18:15:25
179 forum posts
59 photos


Martian12/12/2019 18:34:06
2449 forum posts
1134 photos

As said get decent inkjet transfer paper, print at high quality . Then experiment first before committing to your plane

Harrier Mate12/12/2019 18:38:04
179 forum posts
59 photos

Oops.... I didn’t post the explanation. The dragon on the side of the Picture above is what I’m looking to replicate.

Don Fry12/12/2019 18:48:10
4557 forum posts
54 photos

Alan makes a good point. Some acrylic paint pens, masks, a brush, and planning, will do a "proper" painted surface. And it is not subject to cracking , peeling.

The originals are not as good as the pictures we see as 1/72 depictions nowadays. I would at least think about doing my own attempt. No one will laugh. What do you wish to do.

if it's that one about a tug of war, 7 Swabians? bets off

Chris Bott - Moderator12/12/2019 18:54:08
6804 forum posts
1427 photos
1 articles

Have a look at this article elsewhere on the forum.

Don Fry12/12/2019 19:02:59
4557 forum posts
54 photos

Posts crossed. Nice scheme.

Ask yourself, cut a mask, for the white. Leave to dry. Apply black with an acrylic pen. Mess up, if the white is dry, it will rub off, with solvents . A rub off, black on white will leave a bit of grey, but it's a German aircraft at the end of a lost war. Looks like smoke.

stu knowles12/12/2019 19:30:46
600 forum posts
49 photos

My experience has been that decal paper is good for small stuff and, as stated above, they will fall off unless sealed with some form of clear 'varnish'. If the model is much over 1/72nd scale, I think that you will struggle to replicate the Dragon using a decal.

However, if you draw out he basic shape on paper, cut out the silhouette and paint it all white. the detail is all black and can be done with Humbrol or even a felt tip marker. It will come a lot better than you might think.

Geoff S12/12/2019 20:19:12
3576 forum posts
14 photos

It's OK if you're an artist, I guess, but I'm so far from that I expect my efforts would look dreadful. My Sopwith Pup scheme has a Kiwi on the sides which I'm aiming to do wite with painted detail in black which I think I may be able to manage but the numbers on the tail are black with a white outline and I'm wondering how to do them. The roundals have a white outline, too to make then standout against the blue fuselage. (see my thread here to see what I mean)

It'll be a few weeks before I get to the point of doing the detailed finishing touches but it's getting closer.


Monz12/12/2019 20:21:19
550 forum posts
31 photos

I've used Laser water transfer decal paper run through my HP home laser printer. Everything on my DVII except the pink paint was laser printed decals over the tissue. I drew everything up in Photoshop. I used a combination of clear and white paper. The clear gives some transparency while the white is opaque, though does take some planning as domestic printers don't print white! The advantage of laser printed decals is you don't have to seal them with anything - Print, dunk, apply.

Don Fry12/12/2019 20:27:41
4557 forum posts
54 photos

How big is that bit of flying art?

Broken Prop12/12/2019 21:05:28
623 forum posts
1 photos

The article that Chris refers to above is very good, having been penned by the much missed Big Bandit. I have always followed his tips using laserjet paper from Crafty Computer Paper which, as Monz suggests, requires no overcoating.

The only thing that I would add is that the decals are always shiny, which might not look good on a warbird. I don't build those so I cannot comment, but in order to limit the amount of clear border visible beyond the decal I always cut the clear part back as close to the decal as possible.

One application that works very well is to print lines of rivets on a clear background sheet using a slightly darker colour than the underlying paint and then cut them up to suit.

They pass the '3 foot' rule quite well.


Harrier Mate12/12/2019 21:40:46
179 forum posts
59 photos


amazing scheme. And so much cheaper than Arizona Models fabric (about £150 for just the wings). Could you tell me more about that technique. You have clearly covered the model in a base layer first.... plain tissue or fabric? And then applied the printed lozenge to tissue???

Harrier Mate12/12/2019 21:41:42
179 forum posts
59 photos

Worth buying a laser printer just to achieve that result!

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