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Cheap scale signage (How-To)

Cheap signage modelling diorama how to

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#1 ZombieHunter26

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 08:41 PM

So, I was fiddling with my detail work in my diorama today and realized that I have a unique way of making my own signage for my builds.

Whether it's for caution signs, propaganda posters, or just random detail work, this is how I do it.

First things first, I think of -what- it is I wanted to make, and then open up a photo/paint program (for this tut, I will just say MSpaint, but you can get better results and detail with photoshop or gimp 2.6- the freeware version of photoshop).

I then open up google images, and then type in what it is I am looking for. For example, I wanted some propoganda posters, industrial safety signs, and some spreadsheet looking images for my dio.
Once you find something you want to use, right click the -thumbnail- of the picture you want. this will provide you with a good start for your scale picture. Click "copy image" and then open up your paint window and press ctrl+v.
Voila, you have just started a page of "decals" for your model. Resize the "floated" image to your liking (i usually pop it down about 50-75% myself) before left clicking the open space to complete the pasting, and repeat for however many images you need.

I usually fill my sheet before printing it out, so as not to waste paper- and I always make at least two copies just in case i make a cutting or detailing mistake.

Once you've got your printed images, cut them out as neatly as possible. I use my #11 blade and a straight edge for this, however you can use whatever you feel comfortable with.

Take your cut-outs and line the back side with a light spread of superglue (I use superglue because it gives a good rigidness for one of my later steps) and lay it evenly on another sheet of computer paper. Flatten it with a paper towel in a swift motion to get rid of air bubbles, and let cure for ten minutes. Do this with each one, making sure to keep them even and straight.

From this step you have a multitude of options. You can coat them with a light brushover of clearcoat (flat or gloss, depending on what you want) to give it a nice, clean look-
Or you can "age" them like I did with mine.

To age your signage, take the appropriate color for the material your signage is representing (for mine, I used Citadel Colors' Yellow Ink, since my signage is representing paper-based materials) and set it to the side.

Take your #11 blade and flat-edge it against your glued cutouts. Give them a good light scrape around the edges, and a few lighter scrapes evenly down the middle. Done correctly, this should make for a good faded look (and the rigidness of the superglue bond helps tremendously with this) to start with.

You then take a small flat-edged brush (one with medium bristles) and "wash" your cutouts in their appropriate ink lightly. remember to dab them off as you go with a dry paper towel, and then let them dry out.

Once they've dried, use the same method you used earlier to make your cutouts to remove the signage from the sheet, making sure to keep your cuts even and straight.

Your are now ready to glue your home-made signage to your diorama or model (for which I also recommend superglue)!
After gluing, feel free to fine-detail your signage with paint or inks to your specific liking.

I hope this tutorial comes in handy for you guys!

#2 whale392

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:10 PM

Thanks for that tutorial. It will come in VERY handy for a bunch of us.


On a side note, if any of you work in industrial areas/for industrial companies, their safety department should get a catalog twice a year from a company that sells signs/tape/gear. We get them at the hangar. They are full of signs (being as they have a visual reference with a part number and price below them. They, for the most part, are roughly 1/24th-1/25th scale already! I cut what I need out and glue them to a sheet of .005" aluminum or .010" styrene and age as you describe. Whenever my company is done with theses catalogs, I grab them!

#3 Harry P.

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 05:37 AM

How about a photo or two? Especially the "aged" signs.

#4 ZombieHunter26

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 09:51 AM

i will be uploading some new pics in my diorama post, and i will take the related pictures from that and post them in a reply over here :)

#5 ZombieHunter26

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:28 AM

Here's some before and afters for reference-


BEFORE
printed sheet-
Posted Image

sheet after cutouts-
Posted Image

#6 ZombieHunter26

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:31 AM

AFTER
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

more after the break...

#7 ZombieHunter26

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 10:33 AM

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

ENJOY!

'til next time!

#8 Harry P.

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:18 PM

Nice!

#9 ZombieHunter26

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:21 PM

thanks harry!

#10 crazyjim

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:43 PM

Very nice. One of these days I'm going to try making a real diorama.

#11 wilderness1989

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 08:03 AM

Very nice. One of these days I'm going to try making a real diorama.

DITTO. 

Thanks for the tuitorial!!