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Waterslide Transfers

(Author: Stephen Heafield)

Refurbishing 0 & 00 Aero Models

The use of waterslide transfers in modelling is nothing new, and therefore no credit for this idea is claimed by the author. The availability of A4 sheets of white and clear paper was mentioned on Spanner in recent years, and after reading an article on Dinky restoration on the net i decided to produce a set for an Aero model.

Careful thought should always be given before taking a paint brush to original parts, with this model the paintwork was in very poor condition. There was also enough of the registration markings remaining to use in the production of some transfers.

1. High resolution pics were taken of the markings, these were then worked on with a suitable programme ( 'Paint' in this case).

 2. The position of the letters on the wing was noted along with the size.

3. This image was then opened up in 'Paint' and worked on in high resolution. The black lettering was repaired and the background colours removed, to leave just the Registration itself.

4. The image was then sized as required and a few drafts printed onto paper to determine the correct size before printing the decals.

 5. Once printed onto clear transfer paper the image must be sealed with one or two very  light coats of spray acrylic varnish, otherwise the ink will run as soon as the transfer gets wet. Keep these coats as thin as possible in order to stop the decal stiffening & cracking.

6. Once the varnish has dried the decals can be cut out. Preferably with a good blade and rule on a mat. Try and cut as close to the letter edges as possible (About  1mm ) This will make the finished appearance much neater. Do not cut the decals before varnishing as the backing paper won't come away. 

7. Application is straight forward, don't soak for too long. Then slide the decal into position from the paper, the decal will stick much better to a gloss finish. Soak up any excess water with tissue and carefully remove any air bubbles. I allowed mine to dry overnight before gently putting holes back in for the bolts. The ribs and bolt holes give a good reference point for positioning the decals.

8. I applied the fuselage panel as one decal, cutting away as much excess as possible. The top of the wings are all cut individually. The wing ribs can also be used to hide the edges of the decal.

9. Mine have been on over a year now and still look fine, I didn't apply any further varnish or sealant. But the choice is with the individual.

Please refer back to the Gallery for the images required to save and print, I have not reduced the pixel quality, print off at full size. Finally, don't worry about the slight 'step' in the pixels along the letter edges, the camera wasn't perfectly straight at the start of the process. It is not noticeable on the model. Original Meccano model registration letters are not transfers, but this method looks far neater than trying to brush paint or stencil. I'm not sure how successful transfers would be on the larger Aero models. If anyone does try, or has already done it, I'd love to see the results.



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