Let me just add a few notes about ALPS printers.
I have one that I bought on ebay for only $97. It works like a charm. But
I found out later that I got extremely lucky.
ALPS printers work by passing a wax-coated ribbon over a print head that
prints by heat. A very common problem with the printers is that some of the
heat elements in the head burn out, which results in "banding" in the
printing. There's absolutly no remedy for this except complete replacement
of the printer.
ALPS has a "repair" program whereby you send in your broken printer and
[something like] $250, and they'll send you back a refurbished printer.
It's a different model (an MD-5000) than what you sent in but it will indeed
I mention all this because of the "banding" issue. Very, very often people
will sell ALPS printers on ebay and not mention this problem. Then some
unsuspecting modeler will receive it and find out later it has this problem.
All that being said, yes, ALPS ribbons are indeed still available, and
relatively easy to get from a variety of sources. I've read that some folks
have compatability problems with the ALPS printer driver and Windows XP;
others experience no problems.
Also, there is an Austrailian gentleman on one of the Yahoo "ALPS" groups
who still has a supply of brand new ALPS printers that he's selling. I
forget the price.
As far as I understand it, the ALPS models which will print white are the
MD-1000, MD-1300, and MD-5000. The MD-2300 will print white, but only if
you swap labels on the ribbons to fool the printer into thinking it's
printing some other color.
Hope that helps anyone thinking of buying one.