Re: Testors Decal Printing Results

John Hagen <sprinthag@...>



The Testors system works fine IF you need black lettering. Of course if the car you are lettering happens to be white, then anything works. So if you are doing certain tank cars or covered hoppers ………

As you noted you can use white decal paper and print things like signs, logos or anything that has straight edges that may be cut out easily. But that would make lettering an impossible chore.

The only affordable, home user type printer that works for decals is the Alps, now long out of production and working units are disappearing. There is a company in Japan that can repair them but the cost is prohibitive ($1500.00 + including shipping – a big part of the cost) and way too much for my pockets, especially with the ink supply dwindling as that is also out of production now.

I keep watching and hoping that something will turn up but the truth is no one is going to build a printer for the purpose of decal printing; the market is just too small. Such a printer must be able to print white both as a color and as a base layer under colors for opaqueness and be able to print multiple layers of color without losing registration. The Alps can do this. Finicky, touchy and a steep learning curve that required one to deal with challenge and everlasting frustration but they do the job.

Maybe in 2016 ……..

John Hagen



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.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

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