Jump to content


Archer Fine Transfers louvers


  • You cannot reply to this topic
15 replies to this topic

#1 Bernard Kron

Bernard Kron

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,708 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Full Name:Bernard Kron

Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:31 PM

DSCF1242-web.jpg
Archer Fine Transfers 6" O-scale (1/48) louvers
(more pics below)

Archer Fine Transfers (http://www.archertransfers.com/) is a company that makes decals catering mainly to railroad and military modelers. However they offer a unique product, resin surface details that are mounted to a decal substrate ( http://www.archertra...aceDetails.html ). Up to now they have made various patterns and sizes of rivets and welds. I have considered using their rivets but haven't had a project that needed them,. A couple of months ago they added louvers to their lineup, something I had always wanted.

I'm currently building a a Lobeck style street Revell Deuce Roadster with dirt track rear tires and 80's-90's details. I wanted to add louvers to the hood and use the smooth hood sides from the coupes with just a small louver detail near the lower rear corner to vent heat from the exhaust manifolds. A perfect project for these louvers if they worked.

Archer doesn't make a 1/24-1/25 scale product but they do make a series of 1/48 O scale products. They offer two sets of louvers in 1/48, 6" and 14", equivalent to just over 3" and 7" in 1/25. Because of the reduced scale the spacing between the louvers is somewhat compressed. Compared to the louvers on the hood sides that come with the Revell Deuce roadster and 5-window one inch of Archer louvers has about 22 louvers in the 1/48 6" pattern compared to about 19 louvers on the Revell hood sides. This is partially because of the spacing but also because the Revell louvers are much more coarse and thick than the Archer louvers.

The Archer louvers also don't sit as high off the surface as the Revell louvers although they aren't that different than the molded in louvers on the recent '49 Merc kit from Revell.

The louvers come molded in black which makes them easier to place against a light surface than a dark surface. Also, if you plan to use a light color you will have to be concerned about the black color showing through the paint if it flows away from the edges of the louver. In my case the final color is a very bright red.

You apply the louvers to the base surface and then paint over them. Archer recommends using a decal setting solution such as Micro Set or Solvaset, applying it to the surface and then applying the surface detail decal. The Archer decal material responded extremely well to the Micro Set I used and I found no need to apply more Micro Set after I placed them. The decal material itself is continuous on the sheet and they recommend cutting them out as close to the edges of the surface detail as possible. I did that and I must say that the decal substrate is totally invisible once you paint over it.

The decals themselves are quite fragile. They really can't be handled once they are separated from the paper underneath. So you absolutely must slide the paper out from underneath the decal only after you have placed the decal on the surface you're applying it to. If you don't the decal will immediately start to fall apart into little bits of louvers (or rivets or welds) that are nearly impossible to handle.

The other thing you will discover is that any misalignment of the decal is very obvious, either in terms of how straight the row of louvers is or how parallel to another row or to reference details such as the edge of a body panel. I did one hood freehand and while it looked ok as I was doing it there were waves in the rows of louvers and they didn't start in exactly the same place, all of which was quite obvious once I was done. So on the second try I laid down some masking tape for reference.

The pictures below show the packaging, the louvers laid down in place and the final result with 3 coats of Duplicolor Torch Red and 3 coats of Krylon Crystal Clear over them, unpolished. As you can see they held up quite well to a fairly thick coat of paint. If you plan on polishing the paint I definitely recommend clear coating the final color to avoid rubbing through to the black louver color.

Overall I think they look finer and more realistic than most louvers that come on models. I wish the decal material wasn't quite so fragile but with practice it's something that you learn to deal with. Finally, I plan on dropping a line to Archer asking for 1/24th scale louvers that are slightly more widely spaced and which stand a bit taller from the surface. Train and military modelers tend to work in flats and while the louvers are extremely visible under flat paint, under gloss they would be a bit more dramatic if they were taller.

I recommend them. They aren't cheap but they are a huge labor saving resource and permit you to apply louvers in situations that would be impossible otherwise.

DSCF1246-web.jpg

DSCF1248-web.jpg


Edited by Bernard Kron, 04 September 2013 - 01:09 PM.


#2 Ddms

Ddms

    MCM Friend

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 206 posts
  • Location:Pasadena, CA
  • Full Name:Tom Kelly

Posted 14 May 2010 - 06:41 PM

They look pretty good, but it's hard to tell what they'll look like when you polish the surface. It will be interesting to see the finished product.

I'm building a Monogram '40 Ford convertible, and I'm planning to louver the hood. I was thinking of gluing evenly spaced sections of quarter-round styrene strip to styrene pieces, flattening the tops and angling the sides of the louvers, and then setting the rectangles into the hood. I'll be using styrene strip to space the quarter-round sections.

But I'm worried about filling the seams, which would need to be, yep, seamless. Glue and putty could also cause problems if stuff gets between the louvers. It's a job that will take very careful work, I think.

I'm also concerned about clearcoating, and how I'll sand and polish it without burning though the top edges of the louvers. So I'm open to a better solution to the louver problem. Please let us know how the Archer decals come out after you've sanded and polished the clear coat.

Thanks!

#3 curt raitz

curt raitz

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,252 posts
  • Location:Hollister, CA

Posted 15 May 2010 - 04:45 AM

thanx Bernard
lookin better than what the kit has to offer
I may have to get sum of these for my next hot rod project
so they be a lil fragile, heh!

#4 Bernard Kron

Bernard Kron

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,708 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Full Name:Bernard Kron

Posted 15 May 2010 - 05:18 AM

They look pretty good, but it's hard to tell what they'll look like when you polish the surface. It will be interesting to see the finished product.

I'm building a Monogram '40 Ford convertible, and I'm planning to louver the hood. I was thinking of gluing evenly spaced sections of quarter-round styrene strip to styrene pieces, flattening the tops and angling the sides of the louvers, and then setting the rectangles into the hood. I'll be using styrene strip to space the quarter-round sections.

But I'm worried about filling the seams, which would need to be, yep, seamless. Glue and putty could also cause problems if stuff gets between the louvers. It's a job that will take very careful work, I think.

I'm also concerned about clearcoating, and how I'll sand and polish it without burning though the top edges of the louvers. So I'm open to a better solution to the louver problem. Please let us know how the Archer decals come out after you've sanded and polished the clear coat.

Thanks!


Excellent summary of the issues invlved in making your own louvers. And they are pretty daunting as well as extremely labor intensive.

Here's the fully polished piece. The Archer louvers have survived some pretty agressibe polishing on my part, starting all the way down to 3200 grit (I usually try to avoid anything more coarse than 4000). With three coats of clear and as many of color to protect them getting down to the raw louvers was not a problem. Here are some pics. There's more orange peel than I'd like but that's primarily an artifiact of the ultra-closeup picture. They look pretty smooth and shiny at any distance at all (like 1 ft.+). Overall the louvers remain finer and more realistic than most but could benefit from some more depth to stand out in relief more dramatically. As I said before, in an application with flat or semi-gloss paint this would not be an issue.

Posted Image
Posted Image

Edited by gbk1, 15 May 2010 - 05:21 AM.


#5 torinobradley

torinobradley

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 603 posts
  • Location:San Antonio, TX
  • Full Name:Andrew Bradley

Posted 17 May 2010 - 07:50 AM

Just last week I sent an e-mail to Archer about making 1/24/25th scale louvers and the response I got was they can't make tapered objects. But these look pretty good considering! I was going to try them out and now, seeing what you've done, will most likely spring for a set. They make a variaty of goodies adaptable to us car guys. They make rivets, welds, louvers as well as casting letters and numbers, stenciled decals, tatoos, flags, templates and lots of other stuff. I would advise you super-detailers to check them out. I have several of their products in my stash and plan on getting more!

#6 Bernard Kron

Bernard Kron

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,708 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Full Name:Bernard Kron

Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:02 AM

Just last week I sent an e-mail to Archer about making 1/24/25th scale louvers and the response I got was they can't make tapered objects. But these look pretty good considering! I was going to try them out and now, seeing what you've done, will most likely spring for a set. They make a variaty of goodies adaptable to us car guys. They make rivets, welds, louvers as well as casting letters and numbers, stenciled decals, tatoos, flags, templates and lots of other stuff. I would advise you super-detailers to check them out. I have several of their products in my stash and plan on getting more!


The little curves on the ends are a decent substitute for tapered ends, they certainly scan well to the eye. I should provide a picture og them under flat paint, they look much more agressive that way. Gloss paint tends to bury them. I think they're missing a bet not developing products for the 1/24-1/24 car and truck market. I've sent them an e-mail with my thoughts regarding all this.

#7 Deckerz

Deckerz

    MCM Avid Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 360 posts
  • Location:UK
  • Full Name:Declan Horton

Posted 25 May 2010 - 03:47 PM

They look good, i will need to get a set soon but first i need money.

#8 Ddms

Ddms

    MCM Friend

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 206 posts
  • Location:Pasadena, CA
  • Full Name:Tom Kelly

Posted 26 May 2010 - 04:16 AM

After applying the final coat (usually clear), I wet-sand with 1500 or 2000 grit in order to remove all paint texture. When the surface is perfectly flat and free of all texture and orange peel, I polish, first with a coarse compound (Tamiya Coarse) and then with Tamiya Fine.

Because their edges stick up from the surface, it seems like that would put the transfer-type louvers "at risk." Will they stand up to that kind of treatment?

Edited by Ddms, 01 June 2010 - 04:54 AM.


#9 Ben

Ben

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,935 posts
  • Location:San Antonio, Tx.
  • Full Name:Ben Wicker

Posted 31 May 2010 - 06:54 PM

I have done a little research myself on Archer Transfers and decided to order the large surface detail screws and rivets and the sheet of the biggest rivets they offer.
The sheets I ordered say that they are of the dry transfer type though, not a wet slide decal type?
I won't know for sure until I get them but if they work well for replacing rivets that get sanded off during body work, i'll be ordering more for sure!!!!

#10 sjordan2

sjordan2

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,811 posts
  • Location:Knoxville, TN
  • Full Name:Skip Jordan

Posted 01 June 2010 - 03:42 AM

I have done a little research myself on Archer Transfers and decided to order the large surface detail screws and rivets and the sheet of the biggest rivets they offer.
The sheets I ordered say that they are of the dry transfer type though, not a wet slide decal type?
I won't know for sure until I get them but if they work well for replacing rivets that get sanded off during body work, i'll be ordering more for sure!!!!


Keep us posted. I'd like to know the results, since I could use the dry transfer type.

#11 Ddms

Ddms

    MCM Friend

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 206 posts
  • Location:Pasadena, CA
  • Full Name:Tom Kelly

Posted 05 June 2010 - 08:15 PM

I'm going ahead with the 3-D styrene "hot rod" louvers. You're right, they are labor intensive. Getting all of them straight and uniform is not easy. You just can't measure and cut; each louver has to be cut, trimmed and filed individually, by eye, so I have to wear an Opti-Visor plus close-up reading glasses.

From all the cutting and filing, there are a lot of scars on the base. I'm just about ready to putty the biggest nicks. Then I'll prime the sheet and clean up any problems that are still visible. Exacting work!

Since making louvers one-by-one involves so much fine work, I've decided to try my hand at resin-casting a batch. If they look clean and realistic, I'll "go public" and make resin louver sets available to other modelers.

Edited by Ddms, 05 June 2010 - 08:16 PM.


#12 Bernard Kron

Bernard Kron

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,708 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Full Name:Bernard Kron

Posted 06 June 2010 - 07:36 AM

After applying the final coat (usually clear), I wet-sand with 1500 or 2000 grit in order to remove all paint texture. When the surface is perfectly flat and free of all texture and orange peel, I polish, first with a coarse compound (Tamiya Coarse) and then with Tamiya Fine.

Because their edges stick up from the surface, it seems like that would put the transfer-type louvers "at risk." Will they stand up to that kind of treatment?


Tom,

Your routine is essentially the same I use, except my final polish is with polishing cloths. If the surface is especially orange peeled I'll start with 3200 going out to 12000, but usually I'll start with 4000 since the 3200 and 3600 cloths risk going through the color coat. I usually color sand at 2000 wet although, again for rough stuff, I'll go down to 1500. With this project the decal louvers went on over the primer coat before color layers. They stood up fine to all the sanding and did not seem to lose any height. They seem to be pretty tough. The color coats did rub off the tops of the louvers, though, revealing a bit of the black color iof the louver edges. From a modeling point of view, however, this proved beneficial since it made the louvers show up better against the gloss paint. In the future I might try applying the louvers just prior to the final color coat and clear coats to minimize any fill from the paint. This build only had three color coats and two clear coats, all lacquer, so the advantage in terms of crispness may be minimal.

B.

Edited by gbk1, 06 June 2010 - 11:40 PM.


#13 Ddms

Ddms

    MCM Friend

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 206 posts
  • Location:Pasadena, CA
  • Full Name:Tom Kelly

Posted 06 June 2010 - 11:03 AM

Well, since I've gotten this far with the styrene louvers, I'm going to finish them up. They'll have the shape of real louvers, or pretty close, so they ought to look good. But I'm not counting my chickens yet; there may be potholes that I don't expect. (Mixed metaphor, I know.)

If they come out okay, I'll start another thread and post photos.

Somebody mentioned rivets. There's a company called "Tichy Trains" http://www.tichytraingroup.com/ that makes individual styrene rivets and bolts. They're really cheap - $2.50 for 200 pieces! They have fairly long shafts, so you can insert them in drilled holes one by one. Tedious, but they look great.

#14 Ben

Ben

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,935 posts
  • Location:San Antonio, Tx.
  • Full Name:Ben Wicker

Posted 06 June 2010 - 05:47 PM

I know of the companies selling the tiny brass and stainless rivets and was considering using them but now with these 3D rivet transfers, theres no drilling, no cutting the stems off the rivets and no placing one by one. All you have to do is draw a straight line and place the pre spaced rivets "decal" over your line and your done! My rivets should be here tomorrow (6/7) and i'll be posting pics as soom as I install them.

#15 hooknladderno1

hooknladderno1

    MCM Avid Poster

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 398 posts
  • Location:Sunny Florida
  • Full Name:David Gusky

Posted 03 September 2013 - 05:33 PM

So, it's been over three years since the last post.  Any updates?  For those who have purchased the 1/48 scale louvers, can anyone tell me what the width of the louvers is in millimeters?  I have the project featured in my avatar which features louvers on the generators compartment.  It will be 1/25 scale.  Thanks!

 

 

David



#16 Bernard Kron

Bernard Kron

    MCM Ohana

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,708 posts
  • Location:Seattle, WA
  • Full Name:Bernard Kron

Posted 04 September 2013 - 07:25 AM

The original post was the first time I hade used them. I continue to use them and have refined my technique quite a bit. I've also been in touch with Archer from time to time pitching them on true 1/24th scale louvers that would stand higher above the surface and perhaps be available in white or light gray to contrast with darker colors. Archer say they are aware  of the 1/24th & 1/25th scale vehicle market but that the printing technology limits them to black and the current height of their details. To date, while they have released other 3-D details they haven't done any more louvers.

 

I measured the width of the 1/48th scale louvers that I use and, after application, they are about 3.5 mm in width. For the metrically challenged (like myself) this corresponds to 3.31" wide louvers at 1/24th and 3.44" wide louvers at 1/25th.

 

The next time I used them I got far better results. Applied to bare polished white resin and then covered directly with a bright metallic (in this case Testors Aluminum Plate Metalizer) they really pop and show through with no problem. This is the case with almost any metalizer type paint and with most light to medium matte finishes.

 

DSCF3531-web.jpg

 

On the same car, here they are with a light dusting of color coat over them but with no clear. They show through pretty well, I think, and to good effect.

 

DSCF3511-web.jpg

 

The last two times I used them was the first time I appplied them to relatively dark metallic colors. In these instances I applied my clear coats prior to doing the louver decals, did most of my final polishing and only applied a light sealer coat of clear over the decals, avoiding them for my last polish. They are in their raw black state. Here they are over a dark gray metaalic and a deep red metallic. In both cases I think they look pretty convincing.

 

DSCF1202-web.jpg

 

Louver-detail-web.jpg

 

This fall I plan to experiment with black surfaces, both matte and gloss, to see what techniques I can develop to use them. I have considered a medium gray under coat applied after putting down the louvers but before applying the black, then clearing and polishing, allowing the gray to show through the black. I have no idea how much control I will have and what the final effect will be but it's definitely worth a try. 

 

Also very important is how you apply them. Archer has a video on their recommended technique and I highly encourage anyone using the louver decals to follow it scrupulously, It pretty much eliminates most problems with the louvers breaking up on the surface and gives you a very high success rate putting them down. Here's the link: http://youtu.be/aptnvFeEqio


Edited by Bernard Kron, 04 September 2013 - 07:39 AM.