Plastic Models have always been popular. They may have their origins in the handicrafts of our distant ancestors, combined with a little engineering skill of latter society. There is a certain satisfaction in building a scale model of an item, whether it is a child’s toy or an exact replica of an historical item. Until recently the options for building such scale models was limited to pre-packaged kits or the engineering skills of the individual creator. This has changed since the advent of 3D printers.
3D printers have been coming into the public’s hands for the past few years, a quiet revolution that started in high end hobby and electronic stores and spread into High School level science projects. As with all technology the equipment was initially expensive, but the printers soon became another moderate priced computer peripheral. As most households already had a computer some interested parties simply added a 3D printer, along with a regular printer and the net connection.
3D printing makes almost any plastic model project conceivable, though size and moving parts might be a limitation. But even then it is possible to print smaller items that combine into larger ones. A certain amount of pre-planning is required for this.
3D printing produces the right shaped object, right down to the fine detail. But the colour and surface patterns must then be added. This is where paint and decals come in.
Designing your own model decals is not too difficult, and probably much easier than the 3D printing process. Anybody who can make a design can have is converted into waterslide decals. Or that can buy waterslide decal paper and print their own scale model decals.
With 3D printing and printed decals there is no limit to the types of scale models produced. Model train enthusiasts can use it to create any historical variation upon a general train design, with any decal markings. At the other end of the creative spectrum people can design any Sci-Fi vehicle or demonstrate architectural designs. Decals add the final touch.