Tuesday 21 June 2011

Clear Plastic Address Labels and the Less-then-Confident Painter

A couple of years ago I purchased a pack of Clear Ink jet Labels containing 10 sheets each of 14 labels. The clue was in the title - CLEAR. I don't know why but I assumed they were white and put them back in my stationary box where they have sat ever since. I should explain that I have used a lot of white labels over the years - primarily as a source of ship name strips that I add to models bases. All of my fleets have had this as they stand out and look very neat and tidy (you can what I mean with the current batch of ACW models).

You may recall that I used coloured strips of cut white labels for the funnel bands on the city class ironclads - mainly because I 'chickened' out of painting them! the end result looked pretty effective and it got me thinking about other applications the technique could be used for.

Some time ago (the back end of last year as I recall) I came up with the idea of making my own water slide transfers (you can buy blank sheets for doing this) of all those things I am not confident about painting. These included warship gun port Nelson chequer, the 'fan' effect on side wheel paddle boxes, doors and windows for ships and buildings in fact pretty much anything small and intricate that requires a steady hand. It was then that I remembered the clear plastic address labels. I can print designs straight on to these and cut them out accordingly. I have experimented with some very simple black squares for windows and the results are, to say the least, pretty impressive.

For the current batch of models I can use these technique on the four 'walking beam' side wheelers paddle boxes as well as for doors and windows along the models sides. As these are currently completely flat and devoid of any features this is a real bonus. The labels are completely Matt so the base paint colour used will show through with no degradation of the colour.

I can also use this idea for simple buildings and, I have been able to 'draw' a simple timber frame effect for some older building types.

The current batch of 16 models for the ACW collection will feature this technique so when they are ready I will be sure to post some pictures.

From the perspective of my naval pursuits the applications for this technique are many and varied. Aside from the aforementioned Nelson chequer (or indeed any chequer) there is also those zig-zag effects seen on many Armada era warships - even the deck markings for aircraft carriers should I wish.

Methinks my new printer is going get some serious work over the coming months!


Peter Douglas said...


Good idea. I'm interested in seeing the results.


David Crook said...

Hi Peter,

The first 'road test' will be next week, possibly the weekend depending on how well the painting on the next 16 ACW models goes!

All the best,