At 04:20 PM 5/2/2012 +0000, you wrote:
What do y'all do when Martin's kit decals are not accurate?The same thing I do when I encounter any incomplete or inaccurate decals... improvise. One thing I'm running into is rebuildings which change capacities and I'm finding NO decals with the correct labeling. I can start cutting up the 2mm high numbers and poking and prodding them into place - assuming they're even the correct font and size - or just pick something close and maybe not do such a good job photographing it just in case Tim O'Connor wants to read my reweigh and capy data.
Really though the topic this always leads to is how to make our own decals. I have made a few myself on my old HP laser printer when I could use black printing on a clear background, but most often freight car lettering - especially steam era - is white. How long has it been since you could buy a new ALPS printer, 15 years? There is no viable replacement that is affordable for the average consumer. And apparently there is no demand for a printer that will shoot white ink on the average market, since it's not necessary for photo printing.
That's why guys like Mark Vaughn and Dan Kohlberg can ask and get 10 bucks for a decal sheet... it's worth it due to the time and effort to do the art work as well as either maintain an obsolete piece of hardware or jobbing out to a commercial printer. And how many commercial printers are there making model RR decals right now, under their own name or for third parties? Microscale, Rail Graphics... besides those two, most other decal brands are either using those two as suppliers or home printing on an aging ALPS.
I really hoped that by now there would be another option. If I could invest a few hundred bucks in a white-capable printer, I'd probably be laying out the fine print stuff for all my freight cars every time, down to the individual car numbers. I could precisely match a prototype photo, or in the case of chalk marks or hastily applied patch jobs, even use the prototype photo as the art base. The modern guys do this with graffiti, thankfully something I have no need for - but if I could take a scanned photo and normalize reporting marks and cap data, and then print a decal, I'd do that in a heartbeat over snipping and clipping from 5 different decal sheets from 3 different manufacturers to get only an approximation.