# Decal question

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#### 013Rocketry

##### Well-Known Member
Greetings! I have some older rockets from years back that have been beat up and have faded paint. I would like to refinish them.
I have seen many fabulous rockets with amazing decals on this forum. I have no decal making experience but would like to duplicate my decals on my Estes Sidewinder. Does anyone have any tips or suggestions? Thanks.

#### sj_h1

##### Well-Known Member
Try sandman on this forum. He seems to be able to all decals even custom.

#### Trident

##### Retired, plenty of kits
Try sandman on this forum. He seems to be able to all decals even custom.
Just Google Excelsior Rocketry. And if you want to really do your own, and assuming you have a color inkjet or color laser printer, you can buy the papers from many sources.

#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
Understand that even with a good scan, complicated decal sets like the sidewinder take a whole lot of time to recreate.

If I'm not going to get many sales of this particular decal set I have to charge for the artwork.

Even if I charge the return on my investment in time is oh...about $0.30 an hour...yea, yea...I know I'm worth twice that! I'm working on the Colonial Viper right now and honestly it's a PIA!:bang: #### rrobe99999 ##### Well-Known Member Sidewinder would be easy, since it is just text, blocks and circles. The Colonial Viper is a tough set with all the turbo details. (How do turbos work in a vacuum anyway?) Keep up the hard work, Sandman. I will order a set from you, instead of trying to do those myself. I once drew a set for Silver Comet, which was very tough, since I could not use a font. I had to sculpt all of the lettering from curves. #### sandman ##### Well-Known Member Sidewinder would be easy, since it is just text, blocks and circles. The Colonial Viper is a tough set with all the turbo details. (How do turbos work in a vacuum anyway?) Keep up the hard work, Sandman. I will order a set from you, instead of trying to do those myself. I once drew a set for Silver Comet, which was very tough, since I could not use a font. I had to sculpt all of the lettering from curves. Been there done that! The SCUD B drove me crazy since out of the 400 odd fonts on my computer I couldn't find a cryillic stencil font so I basically drew most of them. BTW I do have a boxed Sidewinder kit I can open to get the decal info. I even have a built one...that might be better. #### FatBoy ##### Random Part-time Hobbyist If it were me trying to recreate old decals I would try to find someone who had the original decals still on the sheet and scan them. From the scan, I would recreate the artwork using Adobe Illustrator by "tracing" over the scan. If I didn't have a scan I would measure the decals on the rocket and try to recreate them from scratch in Illustrator. There are tons of other graphics programs that can do this too. It can even be done in Microsoft PowerPoint with a little practice. #### 013Rocketry ##### Well-Known Member Thanks for all of the advice everyone. It was a huge help. I think I know how I'm going to proceed now. Thanks for the offer on making the decals for me sandman. I might take you up on it later. I think I'm going to try to make them myself first. I would like to try to improve on my finishing skills. I just need to find where to order the blank decal sheets. Thanks again! #### Marlin523 ##### Well-Known Member I recently purchased and built this rocket kit. I scanned the decal sheet to a .pdf file. I can send you the file if you'd like. From there you just need to order some decal paper, print the file in color of course, and then spray it with clear lacquer. The lacquer keeps the ink from washing off when you soak the paper for application. If you'd like the .pdf file, please email me. #### MarkII ##### Well-Known Member To go along with what FatBoy said, simply scanning and reprinting the decals doesn't seem to work out very well. Apparently you need to redraw them in a vector-drawing program. The scan of a decal provides a reference to help you to get all of the elements of your reproduced decal correct, including the colors, but you will still need to actually redraw it. This is what Gordon does (and Phred did) at Excelsior, what Tom does at Tango Papa, what Kurt Shachner does for his free downloadable decals, etc. Phred and Gordon use CorelDraw, Kurt uses Adobe Illustrator, and I don't know what Tom uses. Tom Prestia used to have a page at the Tango Papa site where he described a little bit of the process that he uses to to redraw decals, but it isn't there anymore. If you are skilled with any of these programs, then it is merely a very tedious process. If you are not, then I cannot imagine the level of frustration that you would have to put up with. This is why I always prefer to let the professionals do it, and buy my decals from them. (Exclusively Excelsior so far, and I have never been disappointed with the quality. For all of that quality, I almost feel guilty for paying what Gordon, and Phred before him, charges. Almost. ) MarkII Last edited: #### BobH48 ##### Well-Known Member You can even redraw them with MS Paint if you're into self punishment. I scanned and redrew the Space Ship One stickers in MS Paint and made waterslides out of them. #### 013Rocketry ##### Well-Known Member Wow! I thought that it would be long tedious work.:y: Call me a glutton for punishment, but I think I'm still going to give it a try. I thought it would be nice to try to make my own decals anyhow. Thank you everyone for all of your advice and insights it was very helpful. I appreciate it. #### Bob Thomas ##### Member Even with MS Paint, I have been able to recreate most of my clone fleet decals, or touch up what us available online. I do use paint.net (free) for some advanced curves and dithering, stretching and rotations after MS Paint cleanups. #### r0ger ##### New Member In my opinion the absolute best value (power/$) vector graphics program is called InkScape. It's open source and comparable to Adobe Illustrator in features and capabilities.

It might offer a learning curve, but it's well worth the effort to master- and the price is right- \$0.

http://www.inkscape.org/

#### Stymye

##### Well-Known Member
If inkscape would work with Illustrator files It would be great !
however it uses it's own thing,,still ,yes a good vector program for decals.

I'm stuck with illustrator because I need it for my vinyl cutter.

Illustrator is pretty much the top dog , but not necessary for the occasional decal.

an older version of coreldraw can be picked up dirt cheap,, that would be my second choice..and it works with illustrator files

#### stickershock23

##### Never Fly Naked
I use a program called Signgo, It is mostly for driving Cutters, but it has all the features of corel draw, and Photoshop. PLUS it has a great tracing feature.
I can trace colors (or change them into vectors) that are editable shapes.
I can also decide how many layers (or colors) I want to trace, up into the hundreds.

What this does, is takes a crappy Jpeg etc and instantly changes it into a vector that can be edited. I can also add text/ shapes/ etc to any set of "nodes" Once its vectored. you can scale it up or down almost instantly. That is how I make all my decals.

Here is a picture of a "trace" of a set of sidewinder decals. this is just the outline. but with one keystroke I can change it to full color.

I can also import and export into almost any format.

One thing about signgo, it aint cheap...:y:

#### 013Rocketry

##### Well-Known Member
Those programs sound great! Everyone has been so helpful, so many options to choose from. Vinyl decals would be nice, but I think I'm going to start out simple with some waterslides. If all goes well after that I'll upgrade to something more elaborate with vinyl decals. Thanks.

#### rrobe99999

##### Well-Known Member
I'm working on the Colonial Viper right now and honestly it's a PIA!:bang:
How are the viper decals coming along? I am ready to order.

#### BryanHedstrom

##### Member
You can even redraw them with MS Paint if you're into self punishment.

I scanned and redrew the Space Ship One stickers in MS Paint and made waterslides out of them.
Hey Bob, what would it take to get you to share that file? i'm building a 2x upscale of the estes ss1 for a 29mm motor and I need the decals.

#### BobH48

##### Well-Known Member
Hey Bob, what would it take to get you to share that file? i'm building a 2x upscale of the estes ss1 for a 29mm motor and I need the decals.
I can give you the decal file (it's in TIF format) but it's not a vector file so it's not going to scale up very well.

#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
I can give you the decal file (it's in TIF format) but it's not a vector file so it's not going to scale up very well.
Corel Draw can convert the file if you want to send it to me I can do that.

It does require some cleanup after conversion.

#### BobH48

##### Well-Known Member
Corel Draw can convert the file if you want to send it to me I can do that.

It does require some cleanup after conversion.
I have to go find it. I ran out of space on my hard drive a while back so it's on a backup.

#### foose4string

##### Well-Known Member
I have to go find it. I ran out of space on my hard drive a while back so it's on a backup.

I may still have it Bob. I think I have two versions, your's and the one from Roguepink(the the former Estes designer) when he was active on TRF. I'm not sure which is which now, and have only been able to locate one of them on my hard drive at the moment. Let me know if you need it or want me to pass it on.

#### BobH48

##### Well-Known Member
I may still have it Bob. I think I have two versions, your's and the one from Roguepink(the the former Estes designer) when he was active on TRF. I'm not sure which is which now, and have only been able to locate one of them on my hard drive at the moment. Let me know if you need it or want me to pass it on.
I'm sure I have it. I just need the time to go find it. If you have it, you can pass it along. I'm probably not going to be building another one anytime soon.

I have 15 flights on the one in the picture and it's still in really good shape.

#### 013Rocketry

##### Well-Known Member
Thank you everyone for all of your input and advice. I finished my Sidewinder and was pleased with the result. The decals worked nice. Here are the before and after pictures. It looks a lot better without the old faded paint and visible glue from the fin repair.