FAQ Page

Q.  Can you send me a catalog of your products?
A.  Sorry, we do not have a printed catalog. All the standard items we have available are shown on our web site. 
Q.  Are your decals fuel-proofed or do I need to clear coat them?
A.  Unless you have selected "electric" or "static" when designing your decals on our web site, all of our printed decals go through a proprietary four-step finishing process to protect them from U.V., abrasion and fuel resistance up to about 25% nitro. This finishing process is what makes Cal-Grafx decals stand apart from most of our competitors, in that our decals have a true painted finish rather than the "cheap shine" typical of commercially printed decals.
Q.  What if I want to clear coat over them, is that a problem?
A.  Clear-coating over our decals has never been a problem we've been made aware of, but we recommend you do a test coat on a sample decal before you coat the entire model. If you are using a material with a heavy solvent base, we recommend you start out with a few mist coats before wetter coats are applied. You can request a test sample decal when you place your order.
Q.  You say your "printed" decals have a finish applied to them.  Which decals are not printed and how will they stand up to fuel, engine exhaust, cleaning, etc.?
A.  Pre-cut or machine-cut decals are made from thin vinyl and the color goes all the way through. This process is also called "Vinyl Graphics" or "PCV" (pre-cut vinyl) and we only use this method for single-color decals such as letters and numbers, trim striping, etc.  We use a premium grade outdoor-rated vinyl that is highly resistant to U.V., abrasion and fuel. You can clear coat over vinyl graphics as well, but if you do, we recommend that you pre-treat them with spray-on plastic adhesion promoter available in stores that sell auto paint. More on Vinyl Graphics here.
Q.  So, for multi-colored decals like roundels and Stars & Bars, you don't use multiple layers of cut vinyl to create the decal?
A.  No, we do not use this multiple-layer process.  All multi-color decals are thermally printed on a premium grade 8 year outdoor-rated PSA vinyl.
Q.  I'm  from the old school and have used water-slide (water transfer) decals for years.  Are those still available?
A.  Yes but only on a limited basis. Water slide decals are costly to print on a one-off basis for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the ink is no longer commercially available in the U.S.  Eventually it may not be available anywhere. Water slides are therefore relatively expensive and we will run them only on a case-by-case basis. 
Q.  Do you make dry-transfer decals?
A.  No, we do not have that capability at this time.
Q.  I see from your home page and your "Pilot Projects" page that you provide complete graphic sets including insignias, letters and numbers, noseart and so forth.  What's the process if I want to get a complete set for my model? I don't see everything I would need in your Online Stores for my particular project.
A. Here is the process and the closer you follow it, the lower your overall cost will be. The more work we have to do, the more you will end up paying. In other words, doing your homework upfront will save you money:
  • Prepare and send us all the documentation you have on your project (photos, drawings, sketches, plans, web site addresses, etc.) that clearly shows the markings you want.  We prefer electronic files via email attachments.  If you want to mail your materials, we will return them unharmed with your order.  You may be charged return postage for returning your mailed materials if you are not a previous Cal-Grafx customer
  • If you don't have all the documentation you need for your model and you have access to the internet, try a Google search.  Go to Google and in the top menu bar select "images".  In the search window, type in words that apply to your particular model such as type of plane (e.g. Mustang), model (e.g. P-51D) squadron number, noseart, pilot's name, anything that can be tied to that particular aircraft.
  • Provide us a complete listing of the graphic items you want (insignias, letters, numbers, etc.) and the quantity that you want to order.  Be sure to include colors if they are not shown in a color photo.
  • We do not work to scale, so telling us "size my graphics for a 1/5 scale model" won't get you very far. You must provide us a single dimension, either length or width (height) for each decal. If we are working from photos or other visual documentation, DO NOT PROVIDE TWO DIMENSIONS or we will come back and ask for a single dimension that is most critical for fit.  When you receive your proof, both dimensions for all decals will be shown, at which time you can adjust one or the other.  More on proofs below.
  • After we review the materials you have provided as described above (allow 1 - 2 weeks) we will send you a firm quote via email.  If you accept the quote, we will send you a secure link to place your order. We accept all major credit cards including VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Personal checks are also accepted but it may delay processing your order by a week or more. Your credit card is processed on a secure server and your personal info is naver shared with anyone outside of the bank that process the transaction.  You can view our Privacy Policy here.
  • With very few exceptions, most projects that require a complete set of graphics will include an electronic proof which is included in the quote. You must place your order before we begin developing a proof. The proof will show all the graphics, size in both directions for each decal and quantity. You must approve the proof in writing before we move your project to print.  We allow up to 3 minor proof revisions at no additional cost.  If you make wholesale changes to the design, size and/or quantity of decals, additional costs may be incurred.
  • Some customers prefer a print proof at full size to test on their model before they approve the proof.  Print proofs are available on plain paper for an additional $18.50 including postage.  Print proofs are used for sizing only, the print quality and colors will not match the actual graphics.
Q.  What about graphics and graphic themes that you have already done for another customer?
A.  In many cases we can locate the proof we provided to that customer and send it to you.  You will still need to provide us the size of each graphic as described above. If you tell us your airplane is the same size or scale as the previous customer's, we'll take your word for it, but we cannot be responsible for graphics that do not fit when you receive your order.
Q.  I have or can buy a smaller scale decal sheet that has all the markings I want. Can you use that sheet to make decals for my larger scale model?
A.  Yes, we can upscale markings from small decal sheets. This may be the easiest way to provide us all the markings you need if you can find a small scale decal sheet that matches your project. Be sure to buy the largest scale sheet available for better accuracy and detail. Then, send or scan the decal sheet, tell us what the upscale factor is and we can take it from there.
Q. How about noseart, like pinup girls which can get pretty detailed in terms of the artwork.
A. Noseart is one of the more challenging parts of the business depending on the complexity of the graphic image, but it is also what sets us apart from most of our competitors since we can recreate almost any image with our illustration software if the original photo or illustration we are working with is of reasonably good quality. However, some images like pinup girls are too complex and it would be cost prohibitive to draw them from "scratch".  In those cases we will need a high-quality photograph or electronic file that we can use to create the decal print file.
Q.  What does your typical lead time run?
A.  It varies with workload and backlog but in general, plan on 1 - 2 weeks after you place your order to receive a proof.  Print proofs will take longer.  After you approve your proof, plan on 2 - 3 weeks for printing, finishing and shipping. We batch print and cannot turn custom orders in a few days.  If you have a hard deadline such as an upcoming contest, we will do our best to meet your date. The best plan is to plan ahead.
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