I finally got around to applying the decals I made using the Testors paper with my Epson Claria Photo 1400 printer. John's warning was absolutely right. The inks did not have enough opacity, and the lettering disappeared when I applied the decals to the car sides. Poop! These were done with colors approximating the orange-yellow used by the WP in the 1950s, and some in a light silver-gray, applied over boxcar red paint. I still have a sheet printed in black for the Detroit & Mackinac boxcar and for some Sacramento Belt Line RBLs with yellow sides, but I haven't built these cars yet. I suspect the black inks may work better. Maybe someone with a different brand of printer will get better results.
OTOH, the inks did not soften during the soaking process. I made sure the sheets had a double coating of the sealant, laid on and laid off. The decals soaked right off the paper and were easy to transfer to the car side. The product does work as advertised. The guy at the hobby store is also experimenting with the Testors decal sheets, and he claims any sprayed sealant will work.
I was using the sheets with a clear backing. Testors also offers sheets with a white background. This isn't going to work for freight car lettering, but certainly has applications for building signs.
More on this later.
Epson (or HP or Canon or any other inkjet), must have paper designed for inkjet printers. Dye or pigment based, inkjets papers have a coating that will allow the inks to soak in. Microscale paper is not for use in an inkjet so the inks just lay on the surface and may likely not dry in our lifetime. Using a better than normal mode for printing will increase the amount of ink deposited on the paper so even when using inkjet paper the ink will blur and stay liquid for a long time.
The problem with any printer that cannot print a layer of white ink as an undercoat is that the colors will not be opaque. If you are printing black decals or if the surface you are placing the decals on is white, they will be fine. If they are placed on a colored surface, the surface color will show thru and, depending on the surface color, cause a color shift or make the decal just about totally invisible.
Laser printers will print on Microscale paper but will have the same problem with opaqueness or the lack thereof..
BTW, I print decals. Have for over 10 years. I have had several HP’s and currently own 2 Epson’s and did have 1 Canon (hated it, but I do like their cameras). None of them were/are capable of printing decals, except black of course.
OBS-CALS – your source for Obscure DecalS
Posted by: "John Hagen"