InQuarters brand decals are the finest quality commercially screen printed water slide decals that can be found. These decals are printed for the hobby industry to hobby industry standards. They are designed and are marketed for the hobbyist and recreational model kit builder or model kit basher. InQuarters decals are printed by the nations leading decal printer, Microscale. You can be assured of the highest quality, and each decal sheet is guaranteed. Our decals are printed for many different police agencies in 1:43 scale. Our line of fire decals is designed and produced for 1:64 scale, with extra emblems and graphics in other scales on the sheet if room permits.
I spend a lot of time researching accurate historical data on the agency I am going to produce, and I specialize in "Vector" based artwork. Vector based artwork takes the squares or pixels, and rounds them off. Vector based art also allows for layering, so that each color is on its own layer of artwork. This is required for screen printing. Vector based art is time consuming and expensive. However, every minute detail is captured. The art for most made at home decals is done with Photoshop or one of the retail type drawing programs and is not Vector based. Once my artwork is complete, it is sent to Microscale for printing.
There are many steps taken before the decals are printed. First, colors are matched against actual emergency vehicle lettering, using paint chips and 3M Scotchlite color samples. Then registration is matched against the actual colors being printed. The art has to be "trapped" or it will not print correctly. Trapping is taking the lighter and trapping it under the next darker color any place the two colors meet. This has to be done for each color, going from lightest to darkest. It is generally what consumes the greatest amount of time, as there are quite specific trapping requirements. The clear carrier has to be done correctly, and in the case of InQuarters decals, all of my decals that go on a dark background are undercoated in white, so bright colors will show when placed on a dark background. Home printers are not capable of undercoating as they print. When commercially screen printed, each color is printed separately, from light to dark. This insures there is no bleed through. Because each color is printed separately, you won’t see colors that run together, or a decal that appears to be the wrong color. Recently, I have begun to print decals as separate layers, which the modeler places on the model a layer at a time. I am doing this on dark colored models where light colored decals will be placed. This method allows me to print the white .001 to .0005 of an inch smaller, thus allowing for a complete white background. This method really allows colors to stand out. I am also using this same method for gold or yellow/gold lettering that uses black outlines or drop shadows. The results are well worth the extra step.
As for a top coat or a sealer, many opinions are offered on top coating decals. I have sold hundreds of custom made models without clear coating. I have never had a model returned for defective decals. If the item will not be handled, and the decals were applied correctly, there is no need to clear coat.
I get many requests for one of a kind decals based off of one of my sheets. I cannot offer one of a kind decals. There is a minimum number of sheets required for printing. Many times a customer will tell me that they have found someone else that is willing to do a small run at much cheaper prices. For the occasional builder, this is probably the route you should take. Usually, these are made at home on a computer with a home printer. Often times you will hear that the decals were printed on an ALPs printer. An ALPs printer allows printing to be done in white. Other than white, its about the same as your home printer. You cannot get commercially screen printed quality with "made at home" decals. No company currently makes a home printer that is capable of high quality printing like that found in commercial screen printing. Additionally, ALP's brand printers are no longer available in the US. There are many, many people offering ALP's or ink jet decals. I do not give recommendations, there is too much to keep up with.
I got started in the decal business by making custom police vehicles. I still build custom police models for customers but no longer advertise. Before it was popular, I was putting spotlights on cars, making my own custom wheels, and adding all sorts of interior details to 1/43 scale cars, mostly Road Champs. I produced seven styles of light bars in 1/43 scale, many of which were copied and still offered today from various after market dealers as resin cast pieces. I had police style wheels manufactured to my specifications and cast in metal, long before Road Champs did. I would add the small details which set my custom cars apart from any other builder. I included items such as shotguns and radar units in the interior. No one has ever been able to match the details I offered. I held the same standards when it came to graphics. I have never used a "made at home" decal and I never will. You can see the difference. I don't settle for cheap, especially on a model I have just taken many hours to build. Here at InQuarters, you can always be sure that the graphics are of the highest quality there is.
Custom model building is not cheap. It takes a long time to create a custom piece. There are many hours of work that go in to custom built models. I also offer models that have new graphics added from already available products as an alternative to a custom built model. Email me for a quote. Remember, there are no "made at home" decals at InQuarters. Only the finest screen printed decals are used. Well worth the cost and the wait. For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org