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Decals for Starline 2500 - Does anyone know of any plans?
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MacrossMartin
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Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Adelaide, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:40 pm    Post subject: Decals for Starline 2500 - Does anyone know of any plans? Reply with quote

Hello all,

Firstly, I hope I'm posting in the right place here... apologies to the forum if I'm not.

I consider myself a dab hand with a paintbrush, but I really want to go to town on my 2500 fleet(s), and that's going to require decals.

Having been off the radar SFB/Trek miniatures-wise for a while, (this new range has brought me back,) can anyone tell me if there's anyone producing - or planning to produce - suitable decals?

Thanks!!
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IainMcG
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Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 48
Location: Paisley, Scotland

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know Matt over at Mongoose has said it's under consideration, but I haven't heard anything more than that.

Outside of that, I expect that you could have the likes of Pomroy Productions upscale their SFB decals as a custom job (if they don't end up releasing SL2500 decals anyway). I had him resize a bunch for some 1/7000 scale starships so I'm sure going the other way should be easy enough too.
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MacrossMartin
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Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Adelaide, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Iain, but - without wishing to hijack my own thread, I just took a look at Pomroy Productions site, and found this:

"Due to increasing time constraints, Pomroy Productions will cease operations on Saturday, September 17, 2011. All orders placed between August 21, 2011 and September 17, 2011 will be produced and shipped on Monday, September 19. To all of our customers: We greatly apreciate your patronage; we are glad we have been able to meet your gaming needs.

We will maintain this web site to publish more examples of our products. Most of the samples shown are for sale. Please contact us at hobbybobp (at) hotmail (dot) com if you are interested."

So that ends that possibility. What a pity!
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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4470
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would expect Mark Tutton (starfighter ace) to upsize his designs to the new ST2500 scale.
He only produces stock designs... i.e., no custom names,so everyone will have the same vessel names.
But the quality of his designs makes it worth it, regardless.
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djdood
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
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Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry to hear that Bob Pomroy is shutting down. He is a good guy and I would assume "real life" intruded, as so often happens with garage productions. It happens all the time in the resin model "garage kit" cottage industry too.

Because of the unpredictability of finding suppliers I can both work with and know will be around for the "forever" it will take to finish my minis collection (I'm very slow), I've come to rely on myself (and good friends) for these type of things.

I'd highly recommend acquiring the software and skills to make your own decals. It's very liberating.

I like not needing anyone's help and to be able to create almost anything I dream up. The only limitation is printing (any decals I do myself can only go on white or light gray minis; any to go on darker color minis, I would need to pay someone to print on special ALPS printers).

Some folks shy away from this, thinking they'll need a lot of artistic skill or skill with graphics software. That's not necessarily true.

If you just want to change names/numbers on Fed decals, you'd only need to create a sheet once, and it's basically just word-processing after that (with some minor adjusting of banner ends).

Creating that sheet in the first place does indeed take some skill both artistically and (especially) with the software. Both are well worth the investment to learn.

- SOFTWARE & GRAPHICS -
The main thing you would need is skill with the software to get the results you want; personally, I had enough graphics background to figure out Macromedia FreeHand 9 using its Help files. There are lots of tutorials, on the websites, YouTube, etc., that can help.

I also made my life easier by using a "pre-constructed" starting point. Alan Sinclair is kind enough to keep his highly accurate drawings of the NCC-1701 filming model up on his website, including a sheet of just the ship's markings, in multiple formats including dwg and dxf (vector) formats. Those can be imported directly into most drawing software and make a great starting point (much easier than starting from scratch).

The font used for the Federation ships is around the web, free in some cases.

Software is up to taste and expense. Adobe Illustrator is an industry standard, but is also very expensive. Macromedia FreeHand was a competitor (until Adobe bought them out) - as mentioned above, I use a (very) old version of FreeHand that I've had for years. There are others, including likely open-source free ones.

You really don't need a million bells and whistles to do basic banners and NCC numbers. The only real requirements, in my opinion, would be that it should be a vector drawing program (not a bitmap image editor like GIMP or Photoshop), and that it be able to do text along a path (e.g. the curved NCC numbers on saucer tops). Even my ancient FreeHand 9 can easily do these.

- PRINTING -
Getting the art out of the program and onto decal sheet can follow many paths.

For right now, for basic Federation and other light hull-color empires (Romulans, WYN, etc.), I'm quite comfortable doing my art, using a free pdf software to export it as a pdf document, then sending that pdf to a friend for laser-printing on clear decal sheet he gets from the hobby shop.

If he is at some point unable to do this, I can get the blank decal sheets myself and look into having a local copy place laserprint them for me (or, maybe even invest in my own laserprinter at some point). In a pinch, you can even ink-jet them on special ink-jet decal paper, but those don't look nearly as nice.

For dark hull-color empires (Klingons, Kzintis, Gorns, etc.), it gets more complicated. I haven't gone there yet, but when I do, my plan is to send my art off to one of the established custom decal vendors that I have worked with (JT Graphics, etc.) and have them print them on ALPS or other solid-deposition printing methods (which can print white first, under the decal art, so the dark hull paint doesn't bleed through). That will probably involve additional steps (possibly for color-separations, etc.). I'll cross that bridge when it comes, but it won't be for a quite a while - that *vast* majority of "custom" decals I've needed are for Federation and Romulan ships .
------------------

For me, I've really enjoyed the process of doing these. Now that I have a small library of art built up, I can make new stuff quickly and easily and have even been able to respond quickly to completely new demands, which is very gratifying.
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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4470
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Following up on Will's comments:

The laser printing on clear paper is quite easy. Just be sure to invest the few extra cents required to get a good, high-quality paper. My local supplier was out of the god paper when I did hte decals for the Mongoose CA. I went with the lesser quality, but in-stock alternate and it shows in the quality.

As for the designs on the darker hulled ships; many of them can be done at home as well.
The stripes for the Hydran ships are easy enough. Do several solid bads across the entire sheet and cut off the length you need. Compound curves on the FFs and DWs may present a challenge (but MicroSet should help there); but for the CL, CW, CA, NCA, PAL, etc... it's a straightforward process.
The triangular Hydran logo is easy enough to do as well. Just use a sharp exacto knife and a steel straight-edge to cut right on the design line.

Gorn and Tholian logos can be done the same way, adn cut with a knife/straight-edge.

Some of the Kzinti ship symbols have square (or at least, regualr) shapes that can be cut with a knife / striaght-edge.

After that it gets a bit tricky, but there are services out there that can do color separation printing and "white first" printing. There's a local business (about 4/10s of a mile from here) that does 4-color separation printing of iron-on transfers and white first printing of iron ons for dark colored t-shirts. They produce a wide range of items featurign custom imagery. I might check them out. They use the same graphics software I use (Coreldraw). I know this from discussions concernign the pricing of Battlegroup Murfreeboro t-shirts. The big cost is image conversion - but if it's provided in Colre format, the cost goes way down.
They may have the capability to produce acceptable decals?

Tony Thomas
Battlegroup Murfreesboro
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marcus_aurelius
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 07 Jun 2008
Posts: 254
Location: Cary IL

PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am hoping that there will be 2500 decals. There is a direct correlation between the availability of decals and my likelihood to purchase non-trivial numbers of the Federation 2500 ships. For the other empires I could probably reuse my remaining 2400 decals.
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MacrossMartin
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Joined: 17 Sep 2011
Posts: 16
Location: Adelaide, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all for the comments so far. Yes, thus do all garage kit makers go this way, I know, having briefly followed a similar path many moons ago.

djdood - I won't criticise you for preaching to the choir, for the sake of the fact that you can't know that I'm a qualified graphic designer myself. Wink

I've made my own decals for 'one off' projects in the past, but never for doing up whole fleets of ships... maybe now's the time...

I'm probably getting silly here, but the size of the 2500 ships leads me to wonder about the practicallities of creating 'ultimate' decal sheets, complete with areas of "Aztec" panels, as seen on the refitted Big E in The Motion Picture. I've always liked the sense of scale those panels convey.
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djdood
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2925
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've toyed with possibly doing aztec decals too.


I'm leaning towards not. These minis are still fairly small and I've not been able to get really, really light grays to work consistently (they either drop to white and don't print, or print too dark and would make the saucer look like a checkerboard). I've seen them work well at 1/1000 scale, but that's a lot bigger (the Polar Lights 1701 kit).

I'd say "go for it" on creating your own decal sheet. The one I just did fits decals for four cruiser-type ships (CA/CC/CB/GCS/CVS/BC) with duplicates for all, on a half-sheet.

I'll take that and modify it later to do all the ships in a Squadron box, so I've got some modifying ahead, for the FF, etc. I'll wait until I have the minis in-hand, so I can use the 'ole calipers on them.
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phdillman
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 09 Jun 2008
Posts: 141

PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you check Starfighter Decals, Mark says he'll be fazeing his decals for FC out by the end of the year. No mention if he's going to support the new 2500 series.
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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I was painting the Mongoose CA, my first thought was; "Ooh! It's big enough to aztec!!"
Then I realized I didn't have the time.
My current line of thinking is to continue with the CA as this one was done.
Then when the CC comes out, aztec that one...
[before Jean goes into apoplexy over the use of aztec as a verb; that is the proper terminolgy for the process we are discussing.]
... although instead of decals - I will probably photoetch a set of brass templates and then airbrush the light grey pattern on.
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Last edited by Scoutdad on Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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djdood
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you'd have a better chance of success with that. Getting the contrast just right will be easier with paint (which you can control) than with a printer (that has a mind of its own).
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Already downloaded a good set of 1:1000 aztec decals and resized them.

When it's time, I'll either transer them to a lo-tac frisket film and make multiples or attempt the photo-etching mehod. Never done that before, but hey - what's life w/o adventure? Cool
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djdood
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's always a first time to explain a chemical burn to the ER doctor.
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Jean
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Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Posts: 1296

PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

<Mutter, mutter> Sounds like a perfectly good noun being abused until it is a verb. <Mutter, mutter> NOUN ABUSER! Shocked

Going back to lurking ... Very Happy

Jean
(Who is giggling out of hearing down the unused corridors of the Forum ...)
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