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Aluminium engine bells?


Deputy Commander
Staff member
I've not looked in this section much before now, and I'm glad I have - there are lots of impressive paper and card models here!! :thumbup:

One thought has struck me (especially with the various Eagles) is that the only "clue" that some of these builds are not expensive models is that the aluminium bits aren't aluminium ... this is NOT a criticism of the builds, it's just a limitation of the materials, but I've had a thought about that ...

Here's my idea - again, taking Eagles as an example, print the engine bell parts E1 and E2 on to clear waterslide decal paper (this is the version for laser printers - there is another version for inkjets). I have used this on several builds, and it works really well.

Cut the parts out of the decal sheet and slide the transfer on to some silver mirror card.

One other thing that may be worth doing is to remove the decal material that is over the tabs (so you'll be sticking card to card), it might pull off when everything is stuck together.

The waterslide paper is clear, but has a matt finish, so the end result would hopefully look like aluminium. This might all seem a bit long-winded, but as far as I know it's not possible to print directly on to mirror card (certainly with standard laser/inkjet printers).

At the moment this is only a theory. I've got some waterslide paper on order as I'm going to be using it to make some decals for my ETF Scratchbuild competition entry, and I should be able to get some silver card easily enough, so I will have a go and do an experiment.
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Deputy Commander
Staff member
I have done a quick test using some gold card and a spare bit of waterslide transfer I had hanging about.

The first photo shows what the transfer paper looks like, also note how shiny the card (complete with Reflect-o-Git®) is.

Middle photo - decal paper applied to card and pressed with a bit of tissue to remove excess water and any air bubbles. It is reasonably shiny "as is".

Right photo - I've given the transfer a light coat of laquer. I only had gloss laquer to hand, so I sprayed it from a distance to try and get a more matt effect.

The next step is to see how it handles being curved once everything has set.


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peter taft

There is another way around this metal finish to the engine bells - A paper/card stock that can be printed directly on to called RED RIVER. I haven't had chance to look, but i think you can get this here in the U.K, if not, then it would have to be imported. There are other brands, but the Red River is by far the best - a tad expensive, but the final results can be stunning.


Deputy Commander
Staff member
Ah, you mean this? Unfortunately it's been discontinued, and it looks like it only worked on dye-based inkjet printers.