To give folks embarking on Monogram's B-29 (and who have the capability to print their own decals via inkjet/ALPS/laser etc) some new marking options, I've produced a sheet of decal patterns with three sets of 1/48 nose art markings (Lady Boomerang, humpin honey, T.D.Y. Widow II) plus tail markings for the first two aircraft. This has been posted in .pdf form - and can be downloaded for free and viewed via Adobe Acrobat Reader. If, after you've downloaded the sheet, you find them valuable enough to use, a $4 order via PayPal or check (info on page) would be appreciated.
The capability to cut n paste from the pdf has been preserved, so you can extract the images and tweak/redo them in a graphics program if you so desire.
The page can be accessed from the homepage below, via the "Shareware Decal Patterns" button. Getting the actual pdf file from the decal page is probably best done by saving the link to disk - it is a 1MB file, and trying to open from within a browser seems to result in HTTP Code 206 messages
A word of warning - the nose art on these birds was definitely "cheesecake" - if you are underage or offended by such things, don't download it.
This idea (and good idea it is) of sharing decal work via download .PDF files, is a very common procedure among the paper/cardstock model community, with the only difference that almost always the paper models are free and the downloads are shared for the love of the hobby.
The cardstock modelers have advantages in that their models can be printed on just about any ink jet or color laser printer, where as decals require:
1) an Alps printer, which are difficult to find and have pricey ink consumables.
2) special decal paper as stock, which is pricey and you have to go out of your way to find it for sale.
Thus few ordinary modelers are equipped to print out the decals.
The other difficulty, beyond the art work creation, which is always a question since artists themselves are a rare breed, is that popular free paper model downloads often get used heavily by the worldwide public. Then the ISP server gets picky about excessive bandwidth usage and wants to charge the artist extra money.
All we need is a common brand inkjet printer that is "decal friendly" and that is sold in every Circuit City, and this idea will take off. The printer ink must be water insoluble and must be able to print white and metallics. I heard a rumor that Epson was doing research in this area to expand upon their C82 line of printers, but it is only a rumor.
I am busy becoming expert in Photoshop in order to create cardstock models, and there is no reason this knowledge cannot be turned to decals for plastic models.
And I believe we have barely scratched he surface in how decals can be used creatively, beyond just aircraft markings of national insignia, but also for added detail effects, such as the mottles of German camouflage or the metallic grid work of APUs. For example, I think wiring and piping effects inside wheel wells could be accomplished with decals in extraordinary ways. I haven't tried it yet, but the idea is cooking away in my brain. Decals that can be cut out to exactly match the panel line boundaries of the plastic model should disappear upon viewing the model, and those panel lines can be printed on the decal as well to be used as a cutting guide.
we're getting closer, though. Clear and white inkjet and laser decal paper is becoming more available - even Walmart is carrying the Testors kit, although I haven't seen it myself. Inkjet decals might not always be as good as commercially-printed examples, and take some extra time to prepare, but for many short-run subjects I think they are becoming a viable alternative. And the quality and availability of related materials will no doubt increase as time goes on.
Some related links:
endorsement intended - just for informative purposes)
Please post some examples sometime - I've always found the cardstock idea a neat one. Learning the skills to design a model from scratch would be daunting, but no doubt worth the effort.
All good ideas - really thinking outside the box. I can't paint decent mottles for the life of me, so that sounds like a plan.
My first baby steps with Photoshop concern a "recolor" job of a commercial model. The model is Marek's 1/33rd Pfalz IIIa, which can be purchased here ....
and then is downloadable as a .PDF file.
Click the site and page down to this model. It is a black fuselage version, quite nice to see and highly detailed. It costs $5. Since I have a license to this model, it is perfectly OK for me to modify it inside the computer for my own building purposes. What I cannot do is share that work with anyone without the model designer's permission, except perhaps, if I can save my modification as a separate Photoshop file to which anyone else can purchase the commercial model and then overlay (or underlay) my modifications (kind of like the decal business).
My recoloring project is inspired by Ron Burns at .....
Go to this site and click into Ron's photo album to see this same Pfalz model built in a jazzy black and white shooting star scheme over metallic silver. Ron has actually posted his Photoshop (well he used Corel Draw) modifications on this site as well as a downloadable corel draw file under a section called "parts bin." To get that file, you probably have to join the site "group" and get a password and such, which is free. The idea is that this will be a central place for anyone to post graphics modifications to paper models which are then available free to the public. This idea is just starting up now.
My plan is to recreate the model in that violet - green camouflage scheme. So far I have achieved the "breaking up" of the commercial model into different Photoshop "layers" of
a) base metal silver color b) panel lines (black), but on the violet-green model you would change these to white or light gray c) paper cut and fold lines, light gray to appear as inconspicuous as possible over the metal silver d) national insignia and any "nose art" or serial numbers of the commercial model. e) part numbers f) detail images in each part that should not change from one scheme to the next (rudder hinges, for example)
This is pretty much done and is the hard part of the work. Next comes the fun part, spray painting (in Photoshop, natch) the violet and green. I think this should go quickly except for any Photoshop learning time that I still must invest.
With the experience curve climbed, and my "master files" saved, I think I could create just about any Pfalz scheme in about an hour of computer time, including the ones with lozenge wings and tails.
And finding pictures or profiles on the Web for the Pfalz is easy with
One could use these pics as starting points to render your art work into Photoshop. This is where I found the violet-green scheme.
Trust me, this is loads of fun, but not easy to accomplish until you have mastered at least one of the photo art computer programs. Microsoft Illustrator might work, as might even PAINT, which comes with each copy of Windows. But Photoshop is king of the hill right now with tons of special effects features, but it is pricy ($400). I especially want to learn "color shading" to replicate metallic effects with just gray and white color. Haven't gotten this far yet.
When I learn a new program such as Photoshop, I am very methodical, reading the manual cover to cover a few times, trying out the features and thinking up "make-work" projects to test my understanding. This takes months. You could say the Pfalz is sort of a make-work project as well, but a fun one.
One could also add "weathering" in Photoshop.
Next project, once the Pfalz is completed, has to be Marek's Pitts Special, on the same purchase web page at the top of this posting. It just begs to be built in the black and gold Ran Ban acrobatic team scheme.
Lots of fun here, more fun then fiddling with plastic, actually ....../Vess
P.S. To design a paper model from scratch is a whole-nother kettle of fish. You must master a few other programs like AutoCAD or Rhino3D, and understand
3-D geometry and how to flatten such into 2-D paper parts. This is real engineering work, and requires a clear understanding of mathematics and the power and limitations of the paper medium. For me this is a very long term objective in a hazy sort of way. Maybe I will, or maybe I will retire to a beach in Key West. Time will tell.
All excellent ideas,but wait until the "gadget printer" drops below say $1000,how many cottage companies show up to print parts...maybe one day in the not too distant future we can design and build an entire kit But then think of the legal entanglements from people copying the programs of others,or even entire mainstream kits...