Chosen Scale eTch ceTera Logo

Custom Decals (Waterslide Decals)

Let us turn an ordinary kit model into Your Dream Model with a Custom Decal.

From This

To This

Front 3/4 View

Photos and Model courtesy of Mike Pringle

Mike Pringle's Father raced a Dirt Track Stock Car when Mike and his sisters were young. For Mike's sister's 50th birthday, Mike wanted to give something "from the heart" -  a model of their father's beloved car, in his memory.

We were delighted to help and Mike tells us that his sister was absolutely speechless with emotion when he pulled back the cloth on the display cabinet. 

Whether we agree with the power of advertising or not, few can argue that some of the strongest images that we carry with us are the brand names that we see in everyday life. Seeing a forgotten brand name from one's youth instantly takes you back to those happy days.

So if you want to finish off that once-off craftsman model, or make a '2 foot model' look the part, there is no better way than to match the logos from the prototype with scale size decals.

Until recently, Waterslide Decals were the preserve of the screen printer, which by necessity mean large volumes, which in turn meant that only the most popular scales, roadnames and brands were produced.

Now, with the availability of desktop graphics software and suitable printers, it is practical to make one-off decals to suit any model.

To produce decals of logos, we need to find a good, square-on (or as close as possible) photo of the logo. Better still if you can provide a vector-based computer image then it is usually easy to turn this into a decal. Also we need to know the actual (life) size of the logo, or another feature in the photo so we can scale to get the right final decal size. For some of the NZR logos there are advertising materials available which often give the shape if not the right colour and size.

The equipment we use does a great job of Black and White, but matching specific colours can sometimes be a problem. Generally with smaller decals this does not show up too badly, but if for example you wanted a full side of a delivery truck in 3/16Ē scale you might notice the dithering effect on a large plain area of single colour.

Generally we prefer not to do decals of large colour panels etc. Stripes are fine (e.g. the Da nose stripes) but decals are not really designed to replace masking and painting. We can go down to lettering in 3pt size (about 2mm high) and still maintain good legibility.

Our pricing policy is as follows:

-         If the final decal is of general interest (as would any NZR logo, high visibility historic brandname etc) and you are happy for us to include it in decals for other people, then we donít charge for the artwork preparation.

-    The Best Approach is for you to provide the Artwork in Vector format. Coreldraw and Adobe Illustrator, or EPS, are the best formats for us. If you can separate the WHITE parts from everything else, by using a separate layer, then this will save time, but is not critical. You can find older versions of Coreldraw (even version 3 is more than enough for decal work) on the internet for as little as $25.

    Look at for a good primer on what needs to be done.

-         If the decal is a one-off and not of general interest (e.g. a family logo, a specific trucking company etc) then we might charge you for some time to prepare the artwork. The time depends on how complicated the logo is, and how large the final result (the larger the decal the fussier we need to be on the artwork to get a good result). This charge would typically be in the order of $20 per job, but we will certainly let you know before we start if it would be more.

-         If you canít supply us with good photos (or a reference to a common book or magazine) and we have to find the photos ourselves then again we might charge for the time and cost involved. Information on the required final colour (ideally using a PMS colour match or a physical sample) will save time. Any supplied photos will be returned.

-         The actual decals are charged between $15 and $25 per A5 sheet, depending on the range of colours, the coverage, and the extent of white required (white is the most expensive colour consumable). There is no minimum quantity required.

-         We don't do copies of commercial available decals - if they are still available then there is someone else out there trying to make a living producing them.

-         We need to be careful on copying material that is considered as copyrighted. Logos from historical entities (e.g. old defunct railroads) are usually fine. Logos, trademarks from current entities can be a problem, particularly if they license these logos to manufacturers of model kits etc. As a general rule of thumb, if the logo you need is not available commercially (either on its own or as part of a kit) then we'll look at it. Also, we won't do reproductions of logos for agencies, government departments, etc. We're not going to help you make fake I.D.s or similar.

-         Turnaround can be a few weeks Ė this is not a full time job for me so it fits in around my paid employment!

Supported Packages and considerations when preparing your own Artwork

We use CorelDraw 8. If you can sent us completed artwork, in Coreldraw 8 format (or an earlier version), then that usually makes the job quick and easy (and cheaper). CorelDraw 8 is available on the internet for about $US18, which is a fantastic price considering the power of the software. For this you get Coreldraw for Vector Graphics and Corel Photopaint for Bitmap (Raster) Manipulation.

Bitmaps are problematic in that the colours do not always reproduce accurately. Also your idea of a good scan resolution might not match ours.

For any logo that has elliptical elements we usually redraw using a vector. Similarly with text, it will almost always look better if we substitute the closest looking font (and we have hundreds on file) for the bitmapped lettering.

For further information, email me at
or write to me at
P O Box 26-179
Auckland 1344
New Zealand


We use only TangoPapa Decal Paper


If you came to this site direct, you can get to the NZ120 sites on this link.