Contact the


This website and all contents are Copyright 2009 Milton Keynes Scale Model Club unless otherwise stated

Knit net derived camo pattern decal

This tip was sent in by Hibbard Cox, Snuff Ridge, Liberty County, Texas

Editors note: I have Anglicised it slightly and removed references to the specific printer used in the original email. Let me know if you find it useful and I will pass comments back to the author.

I had been looking for info and found your modelling site. Thought perhaps your folks could use some techniques I have developing that no one seems to know about. I can make plywood and "cloth" for WW1 planes now on the household printer without special materials, just trim film, airbrush and decal saver liquid. SuperScale and other people that know about home made decals don't seem to realize that you don't have to use the methods everyone seems to accept as THE WAY it must be done.

The procedure is being worked up (still being perfected). One revision to the attached...It doesn't seem to be needed that matt coat be misted on to the trim film. Why not air brush on a mist coat of "decal saver" instead as the starting step in the process? Hope you and yours find a use for it and have fun. Please let me know of results

Brown trim film decal sheet (super scale no. Tf-013) was used as the base for a decal printed with the “contrasted cropped olive” image on the colour printer.

The overlay image for printing was created by scanning knitted mesh/net as a photo. The image was processed in colour, contrast and intensity to create an irregular mesh pattern with minimal coloration within the individual cells that are mostly traced out in dark green. The plan to the method try-out was to utilize the overlay pattern of dark green on top of the grey-brown of the trim film to make a 1/72 model decal sheet for the cloth covering on WWI aircraft that would be in-scale to patterns printed on the cloth used for covering the aircraft frames. The cells were wanted to be left open that the decal restorer that would be airbrushed on after printing would have ample fixative area to bind to and that the decal sheet colour would be a prominent component.

The cells in the printed image did not turn out to have clear and cleanly non-tinted interiors. This is apparently caused by the shadows cast by the light in the scanner shining on the mesh knit.

The image definition of this process is able to produce finely detailed reduced scale images.

Physical processing of the decal sheet:

(1) Light misting of no.1260 matt coat was applied to the decal sheet. This was as per the instructions received with the clear and white decal films from Microscale.

(2) The decal sheet position on the 8 1/2 “ x 11” paper was determined by printing the design on plain paper. The decal sheet was taped over the printed pattern on the plain paper. And, the plain paper used as a carrier to take the decal sheet through the printer. The position of the printed design on the paper was created by the photo printer setting used, in this case the 4” x 6” picture fitting two photo images on the one 8 ½” x 11” paper but with the printer instructions set to print only one image.

(3) The printed decal was allowed to dry for two days because the printed image could be smeared by touch. After two days it was figured out that the printed image was not “wet” but just able to be smeared because the surface of the decal is not like paper.

(4) The decal was sprayed by airbrush with Microscale decal saver liquid. First coat was a mist coat and subsequent applications heavier. Some parts of the dried surface have matt and some gloss appearing areas. A heavier (wetter) application after the initial mist coat could perhaps have been best. There may end up being frosty areas after decaling the model. Heavy applications of decal setting solution will probably be needed to make the decal form to surfaces and this may solidify any overspray effect produced by the airbrush technique.

wing small Example wing done with this method

Click on image to view larger version



Facebook Logo



Back to the top    Back to last page

July 2009, Milton Keynes Scale Model Club