Artwork [DIY Tau Decals]

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Artwork [DIY Tau Decals]

Post#1 » Apr 25 2007 06:46

How to Make The Tau Lesser Sept Decals and use them
Compiled by Shas'El Tael.

Hi All,

Finished a large personal project which required some art for various Tau septs and castes (spurred on by similar idea posts on other forums). Here's some decal artwork for your use in making Cadres for the Lesser Septs in the Tau Empire. I have refrained from any of the current Sept icons we have on the Tau Decal Sheet by GW, concentrating on creating the icons for all the Tau septs we know of that have logos, but no decals. Also, no unit marking lines, words or similar, plenty of those on the GW Tau Decal Sheet. I think you get the drift about IP and GW.

However, something they do not supply, Earth, Water, Air and Aun Caste decals. So I have supplied the art for these to be used on buildings, large objects, troops and even smaller areas.

Overall, the icons are the same size as the Tau Decal Sheet by GW, possibly .05mm bigger or smaller. I have maintained an exact line weight throughout the collection, so the icons will happily sit side by side.

Sample of the Decal Sheet : Downloads below. ( you can fit two comfortably on an A4 Page)

Believe it or not, you can use Transfer paper through a standard printer (both laser and ink-jet transfer papers are available) and ensuring you set your printer to glossy/photo paper mode before printing.

Best transfer paper for these sheets is clear decal paper with the scaling set at 100% in your chosen image program. I have supplied an EPS, TiFF, Gif and PS file (Postscript Ready To Print 300Dpi A4) for printing through the image program that you have access to.

I recommend Photoshop, Freehand, Illustrator, Coreldraw or Paintshop Pro for best results, but really, a good image editing program should have little difficulty in printing these accurately. (particularly the EPS file)

Things to note for printing :

Whites and soft tones will not print through a standard printer, though if you have access to an Alps Printer (such as an ALPS MD 1000 colour Printer) you will be very well set for printing any decals. A professional printing house should have the facility to print soft tone decals. (all this trouble is why I have produced these in bold, strong colours or Black and White anyhow)

You could purchase some White Decal Paper from Bel Inc for example, but ultimately, you could paint the appropriate decal spot with white, then apply the decal overtop.

Ink-Jet Printer Tips

Once the decals are printed, it is best you lightly spray a clear varnish on the sheet to seal the ink. General consensus is to use a clear high gloss acrylic spray. (try Krylon, Testors or Humbrol,)

Spray a couple of light coats, but do not saturate, then leave to dry for awhile (45mins to an hour). Busy yourself preparing the miniatures you wish to place the decals on perhaps ?

Laser Printer Tips

Laser printed decal paper seals well, so besides allowing it to dry for a short while, you are ready to go.

Decal Artwork Downloads :

Image Image Image Image Image
D'Yanoi Sept : Bork'An Sept : Fal'Shia Sept : Tau'N Sept : Tash'Var. 1Mb ZIP Download.
Each Zip file contains : EPS, PS, GIF (Hi-Res) and TiFF files for best compatibility. (Zipfile has increased to 1Mb)

Serious Legal Bit :
These are not to be sold, these are produced as Free Files and Not for Profit Artwork under GW's good graces as hobbyist community support. If you wish to mirror these files, please place an appropriate acknowledgement.

Disclaimer : D'Yanoi, Bork'An, Fal'Shia and Tau'N Sept Transfer Sheets. Artwork by Sebastian Stuart inspired by imagery in Games Workshop's Tau Codex rulebook. Not for profit artwork. This Decal sheet is completely unofficial and in no way endorsed by Games Workshop Limited. 40k, Tau, the Tau caste designations © Copyright Games Workshop Ltd 2000-2005. Used without permission. No challenge to their status intended. All Rights Reserved to their respective owners.

Once Printed :

These decals are all printed onto the same transfer film, so take care and cut with a sharp hobby knife as close as you can without damaging the printed image. The following is a brief tutorial, more are available at most decal paper websites.

I recommend an application kit of the following;

- Hobby Knife/Sewing scissors (small sharp pair)
- Sculpting Tool with blade edge (or use the back edge of your hobby knife)
- Tweezers
- Warm water in a flat tray
- Cotton Bud (for daubing the application surface and excess water/setting solution)
- A good Decal sealer and softener

Applying Decals (resources available at end of article)

Decals work best on a flat, glossy surface. To get them to conform to the contours of a model the use of decal-setting solution, which softens the decal and draws it down onto the surface of the model, should solve the problem of silvering.

Silvering occurs when you put a decal on a matt painted surface and it is unable to conform to the paint and tiny air bubbles are trapped under the film producing a frosted look. The solution is to apply gloss varnish before applying the decals. You can then apply a matt varnish (brush or spray) after the decals have been applied if you want a matt finish to the model.

Fio Notes :
I 'spot varnish' when preparing a model for decals. Chose my decal places then brush on some gloss varnish on those spots. Then this dries whilst I am preparing other models or getting the decals cut and ready for application.

Remove the decal from the sheet and then trim it, with sharp scissors as this minimises the possibility of bending the decal and cracking the inks, particularly if you are using Ink-Jet produced decals. After you have completed preparing all the decals, daub your chosen spots on the model with a decal setting solution or some warm water.

Fio Notes :
Personally, I use laser decals, I have no complaints and they can suffer some accidental abuse when preparing. I tend to daub a spot then dip the decal and apply in about 30 seconds (luke warm water)

Hold the decal in lukewarm water with tweezers for a few seconds, it may curl but will flatten out quickly. Withdraw when you think it is ready. Use tweezers to hold the decal, still on the backing paper, over the position where it is to be applied and use a moist paintbrush to ease it into place as you slide the backing paper away.

Adjust the position of the decal using the wet brush, some solution/water helps in moving the decal easily, as this dries away you should have enough time to place properly. Note that a setting solution softens decals, so too much shifting about could eventually tear the decal.

Once in place, use a dry cotton bud at the edge of the decal to remove any excess setting solution and leave it to dry.

Fio Notes :
I also like to roll the bud-head across the decal, rolling pin style, to push out any solution under the decal (air included). This allows it to dry quicker and be more integrated onto the painted surface. Also, whilst positioning over a groove in Tau tank and battlesuit armour, I push the decal down into the groove with the edge of the sculpting tool or back of my hobby knife blade. You could even cut the decal there and work with two separate pieces.

If something does go wrong it is best to remove the decal while it is still wet, however, if the decal has dried before a significant problem is spotted, removing it without damaging the paintwork may be difficult. Applying the setting solution again, then attacking the decal with a brush may work, though in the experience of this modeler, you are more destined to have to scrub, repaint and re-apply.

Resources :

Decal/Transfer Paper
(The paper is expensive, but for best results, quality counts)

Stanbridges Hobby Shop (Perth) -

United Kindom
Craft Computer Paper -
DecalPaper -
Hannants -

USA & Canada
Decal Paper -
Decal Factory -
Papillo Papers -
Bel Laser Paper -
Bel Ink-Jet Paper -
Decal Creation Kits for Ink-Jet -
The Model Catalogue - ... Paper.html

Decal Setting Solutions :

Vinegar (Clear) - I kid you not, the acid in Vinegar does exactly the same as most Decal solution brands
Future (Floor Wash) - An acrylic sealer, mixed results though.
Microset by Microscale (whole family of decal solution products)
Testors Model Master II 2145
Testors Decal Set 8804
Testors Decal Set Kit and DIY Decal Paper is also available

ALPS Printer resources

Creating Decals and using an Alps Printer by Chris Aungst : ... Decals.htm

Yahoo-group about Alps Printers :

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