For the last few weeks, I have been trying to get some custom decals done. There really are very few suppliers left as I have found out. Yes, Microscale will custom print but with a large minimum buy and a setup charge. Rail Graphics will print decals but to his stock colors. San Juan Decals will do the work but can’t lay down a layer of white before printing the yellow color. Modern inks are not very opaque so you either double print the color or put down a layer of white. Of course there is the venerable ALPS machine. Rick Leach has done some superb decals with ALPS but he is limited to the few colors that were available.
It has caused me to think about doing a different prototype. The diesel that I wanted to do may not get done. The picture shown below was my planned loco. The yellow stripe and lettering is very close to PMS-120. This is more of a cream color than yellow.
Failing that plan, I probably will use the wonderful NP diesel decals to decorate a GP-9 rather than the planned GP-7.
Will have to see what can be worked out with San Juan for printing decals to stay opaque on a black or maroon carbody.
The O scale hobby is experiencing a continued loss of detail parts suppliers. There are very few suppliers left which is the result in changes in modeler buying habits. Fewer modelers build and detail rolling stock and buildings. I have seen several editorials about how Rapid Prototyping and 3D CAD will fill the gap of parts suppliers. Well, that might happen if someone is willing to master the art of 3D design. The reality hits the road when you see what the “low cost” RP shops do. It comes down to what you are willing to pay for the rendered part. You can print multiple parts or model the masters in RTV and use resin to generate copies. Each step takes time and cost money. Will these barriers kill off model building or cause to reach to new heights?
Time will tell………