Creating your own custom transfers for your tabletop model army is something that is both fun and cost effective. It doesn't have to stop at transfers either and can extend to custom labels that make the perfect standards for your command squad. All you need is a good quality home printer, some decal paper, fixing spray, a hobby knife and a few good ideas. You'll be able to produce your exciting designs and customise your army to suit your own individual style, whether it's for a Second World War plane or a futuristic battle tank.
Creating the Design
Creating the design can be as simple or as complex as you like. You could just download an image or draw your own and scan it directly into your computer before printing. The better the printer your have, the better the quality of the image; and if you're working to a scale of 28mm, which is a common sizing for tabletop miniatures, you'll want as much detail as possible. This is where your choice of a laser or an inkjet printer comes in. Inkjets are more expensive per print and can produce a finer picture; however, they are slower. Laser printers, on the other hand, are faster and cheaper per print, yet the quality isn't quite as crisp. If you don't want to invest in a printer, you could always visit your local library and use theirs.
Print and Prep
Once you've picked your design and have it ready to print, you just need to select your decal paper. This comes in packs similar to regular paper but is tailored for either inkjet or laser printers. So make sure it's compatible; otherwise, it won't print properly. After they have printed, you will need to seal them with fixing spray. This will allow you to complete the transfer when you soak it in water during the next step. If you're creating flags instead, you can print them just as you would a custom label, using A4 paper. It can be stuck to the model with PVA glue and given a wash of water and PVA to help it set.
Applying the Transfer
Applying the transfer is easy. Just cut out the design with a hobby knife as close to the picture as possible. Then submerge it in water until you can see that it is saturated. Remove it with some tweezers or a paintbrush and slide the image off of the paper and on to the model. From here you'll have enough time to position the transfer before it dries. After this you should paint on some gloss varnish to help seal it in place.