72nd scale models
types of models & decals, methods of manufacture.
Refers to a model, usually a vehicle or figure, that has been cast in white metal or an equivalent 'soft' metal using a mold milled from tool steel similar to those used for injection molded plastic kits. The model is pre-assembled at the factory to be sold as a finished and painted unit.
Injection-Molded Polystryrene, Mass Produced
The tooling and start-up costs are huge, but the size of the run justifies the cost. Several companies have computerised their mold-making process, which facilitates finer precision in the engineering of part fit, and allows for greater accuracy of the overall shape; although some companies have yet to fully appreciate and exploit the latter!
Injection-Molded Polystyrene, Short Run
The colours generated by a laser printer are a dithered combination of translacent CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black) inks and are laid down in a series of fine lines, resulting in a 'grid-like' effect as opposed to the solid colours laid down by screen printing. Lasers are unable to print opaque, metallic, white, or solid pastel colours. The only advantage of laser printed decals is that they offer a cheaper printing cost to the producer, thereby facilitating the production of unusual subjects in small runs which otherwise may go unseen. With this form of printing, the clear varnish covers the entire sheet, so care has to be exercised when cutting out the images not to create too much of a ridge. Most laser toner inks are not light fast, and if you intend to purchase decals printed in this manner, check thoroughly with the producer first before committing yourself.
The stochastic version of this process produces dots even finer again. Lithography has a very high cost due the high tech machinery involved, but because of the very fine dot pitch and the ability to print spot colours if required, it produces the highest quality result of all the processes. When spot colours are printed, there are no dots whatsoever, as with screen printing. Metallic colours print with a much finer patina than screen-printed metallic colours; much closer to scale. Squadron badges can be produced with great clarity and precision. The only problem for the modeller is that in most cases where the process has been employed to make decals, incorrect colours were chosen, as in the case of the overwhelming majority of Japanese kit producers who have the infuriating tendency to substitute cream for what should be pure white.
The only real advantage of CMYK printing techniques (as opposed to spot colour printing) is that a design with a gradual gradation of colour, now often seen in airline liveries for example, can be reproduced. It is impossible to reproduce such an effect accurately with screen printing, due to the pitch of the holes in the silk screen, and the fact that individually-mixed spot colours are used. The decal sheet produced by Revell for their 1/144 scale A321 Airbus with the Austrian Airlines Millenium scheme has the mural artwork done using CMYK lithography, and is one of the finest examples of decal production you will ever see.
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