Decal Backup and restore?

06-01-2012, 10:55 AM
Hi Folks,

I've recently acquired a number of older Starter, Marsh and other 1:43 kits. I've heard that the decals in these kits can be quite suspect because of their age. I've not made a start on any of them yet, but am a bit worried that I may have problems when I do.

Since these are racing cars, good decals are an absolute must to complete them properly, so I'm wondering what kind of steps I can take to ensure a good result.

To try to maximize the chances of effectively being able to apply them OOB, some have said that it's wise to airbrush them with a coat or two of clear or future prior to use. I can try that I suppose.

Another worthy strategy (it seems to me) is to try to copy the decals so they can be reproduced in the event that things go wrong. To that end, when inventorying each kit, I've been scanning the decals to a high-resolution .jpg and noting the physical dimensions and dpi that it's been scanned to as part of the filename.

Is that an appropriate procedure should I need to have another decal sheet printed to replace the original? Would any other data be needed? Does anyone have any sources for firms (or individuals) who could print out decal sheets based on a .jpg file with whom I could consult?

Any other advice or thoughts? Thanks very much,


06-01-2012, 03:29 PM
You can contact to Decallab, a spanish user of this forum. He can create the decals that you are backuping. I'am working with him with a custom decals and they are very good!!!

06-01-2012, 08:54 PM
I'd test them first using the part of the decals with the manufacturer/model info that does'nt get used. I've had success clearing first when that test fails. Making a copy is also a good idea. I recently decaled a model using BBR decals that are more than 20yrs old with no problems.

06-04-2012, 12:13 PM
Thanks for the advice guys! I was hoping to find someone in the US who might do this...

Anyone else want to chip in?


06-04-2012, 12:26 PM
I was hoping to find someone in the US who might do this...

Good luck- it's tough to find anyone at all who can reprint decals.

As for restoring the old decals to usable condition, you might try Microscale liquid decal film ( Before you try applying them, you brush it over the old decal images and let it dry. It then acts as a reinforcement for the film, so that the old decal doesn't shatter into tiny bits as soon as it gets wet. I've had good luck with it every time I've used it.

I've found that decals that I've used it on usually require clearcoating to make the brushstrokes from the film disappear. (But of course I usually do this anyway.)

06-04-2012, 12:49 PM
Thanks for the tip MPWR; I didn't even know that stuff existed!

Can it be airbrushed like the rest of the Microscale stuff? That might avoid the brush marks if so. I'll have to check to see if my LHS has\can get this stuff.

No sources for decal printing in the US though? I want to make sure I have what's necessary to actually print them if things go wrong once I've made a start...


06-04-2012, 03:34 PM
No sources for decal printing in the US though?

Can't say it doesn't exist. I can say that I gave up looking. I've never worked with Decallab, but I would consider it a good option.

Don't know if the decal film is airbrushable- I haven't tried. I can't really see why it wouldn't be, but I would definitely practice spraying it at things that are not irreplaceable decal sheets to become good and comfortable with it first. Brush painting it on seems like a simpler, easier (and lower risk) solution, and the brushstrokes disappear in exactly the same way that decal film edges do under sufficient clearcoat. I suppose if I was printing my own decals, I would be enthusiastic to try airbrushing it.

06-13-2012, 11:31 AM
I've done some further reading on this with an eye to possibly trying to print my own decals. Here are a couple of good articles.

An article on restoring\saving old decals and some basic info on printing your own:

An extremely comprehensive article detailing the difference between vector and bitmap graphics, lots of information on printing with ALPS printers, different methods of printing, and lists of outfits doing custom decal printing:

A less comprehensive article on using the ALPS printers to create decals from bitmap images only:

All good reads if you're interested and have the time,


06-14-2012, 02:13 AM
If you are in US you can go to

There are a lot of people who has an ALPS and maybe can make yourr decals, if you can't find no one I can make them for you without any problemo.

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