Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

Napoleonic decals, I wonder…

Posted by Martin on November 23, 2007

Has anybody read this TMP thread?

The idea of decals for some of those fiddly repetitive bits of painting is something that I’ve mused over several times in the past without ever actually doing anything about it. The sticking points, if I recall correctly, have been time, quality and getting white ones done. That’s all a bit awkward at home with a colour inkjet printer.

The fiddly bits I’ve always had in mind are crosses for landwehr cavalry shako covers and those white-outside-black roundels that were often painted on shako covers by Prussian infantry. Previously I’ve tried to paint these with varying degrees of success but always with a high degree of stress. Of course, there are plenty of other potential uses for decals: sabretaches, grenade and bugle insignia for cartridge box covers, regimental/battalion numbers that the French often painted on their shako covers – the list goes on.

Reading through the TMP thread I noticed some comments from Justin of Veni Vedi Vici and how they provide a custom decal service. Now I could happily open discussions with Justin about doing this for myself or pairing up with Peter F. to do some but I bet lots of you might be interested in clubbing together to do this. A larger group of people would make this a more worthwhile proposition and hopefully might reduce the unit cost.

At the moment I specifically thinking of Prussian decals but later I can see a potential need for Saxon ones (can’t imagine why!). So, who’d be interested?


15 Responses to “Napoleonic decals, I wonder…”

  1. Phil said

    The place where I could see them would be on sabretaches. I think I can manage the rest with my brush. The trouble with decals is that they are kind of fiddly themselves, especially very small ones. So the only place I personally might put up with the hassle is on a sabretache (if it’s elaborate).

  2. We have often spoken about the possibility of decals over a cup of coffee in a cafe during one of our lunch time meetings. I sometimes wonder what the occupants of surrounding tables think of our strange converstaions! … anyway …

    Decals could perhaps be a godsend for things like cyphers (do you know how many of these convoluted things there can be on a Prussian SYW Kuirassiere!), complicated sabretaches, regimental numbers, saddle cloth edgings for some of the more complex varieties (again some SYW in particular spring to mind) etc etc.

    I wonder how well they will sit on non flat surfaces, eg. those white-outside-black roundels that were often painted on shako covers by Prussian infantry.

    Obviously if VVV offer a custom design service then this alot easier. Any idea how VVV stack up against Little Big Man (LBM)?

    Doh, got to rush away … but I’ll be back.

    von Peter himself

  3. Martin said

    Well, I don’t know the answer for uneven surfaces – it was something I thought I might experiment with if the cost of getting a sample sheet done wasn’t too bad. As for VVV vs. LBM: I suppose that would call for a bit of research and maybe a like-for-like comparison/experiment. I’ll check out the LBM site too.

  4. I’m interested. Applying decals on non-flat surfaces is still easier than trying to use a small brush to paint 24 Landwehr crosses (and then suffering from PTSD for a couple of hours afterwards).

    For most kind of decals, most hobby shops specializing in plastic models will sell decal softening solution such as these:

    I’ve used it with excellent results when applying homemade decals on French Shako covers.

    It helps if the area that the decals are to be applied is gloss-varnished first.

  5. Theo Raykoske said


    A great idea! I would love them for other eras, too, such as British mitre caps for the SYW.


  6. Phil said

    Greens. Greens. Greens. Greens. Greens.

  7. Ken Pearce said

    You can add me to the list



  8. Martin said

    @Phil: Is that a comment on my diet? or are you pleading for photos of greens? Not sure how you get greens of decals 🙂

  9. Phil said

    Greens of Saxons, man. That’s what’s next, right?

  10. Martin said

    @Phil: thought as much – only teasing. I’ll have some photos of the Saxons before Christmas.

    @Everybody: had some correspondence with Justin at VVV which doesn’t aound too promising. They use screen printing approach to produce their decals which only becomes economic at volumes of around 1,200 sheets. He suggested I contact Dom’s Decals – anybody heard of them?

  11. Svennn the DH nut said

    Dominic Skelton – great service and product, I use his 1/300th aircraft decals.Based in Sheffield

    email web (oddly enough)

  12. Phil said

    You know, someone should ask Roly about this, and send a note to Graham at GMB also. I think Roly produced some of his own for hussar sabretaches a few years ago. And I seem to remember that Grahame mentioned something about trying this.

    Greens. Greens. Greens. Greens.

  13. Ken Pearce said

    Svennn is right, excellent product, used his stuff on my FOW toys



  14. Harry the Elder said

    Greetings from the coast of Oregon! I recently directed to this site from the Calpe web page. Then I discovered this rather olde thread regarding decals. Perhaps this will be too much, too late, but…
    I have been doing custom decals for local wargamers and model railroad friends for many years now using an ALPS MD-1300 printer. This printer can still be found on eBay and cartridges are still available from on-line dealers. Compatible products are available under the brand name OKI – more common in Europe, I believe.
    These printers make great decals with white and silver and gold capabilities. I’ve done decals for 15 mm canteens and shako badges. The detail is tremendous if you’ve got the eyes for it.
    I use Micro-Set to apply the decal and wait several hours for the decal to “set” in place. Make sure there are no air pockets beneath the decal that show as little “silvery” specks. Then apply a solvent which softens the decal base onto the dimensional details of the figure and snuggles it in. I use Floquil’s Solvaset not Micro-sol as it is much more potent.
    I can recommend an excellent tutorial website for more information.

    If anyone has more questions regarding this matter, please, feel free to contact me.
    Harry B Houchins
    Eugene, Oregon

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