by: Mike Still [ ]
By all rights, the Custom Decal System should have been a no-brainer, sell-a-million idea for Testors, but the execution leaves something to be desired.
What You Get
On first glance, your $5.95 seems to get you a lot -- a CD-ROM with "Sure Thing" decal graphics and clip art software; one sheet each of clear and white inkjet printer-compatible decal paper (5 1/2" by 8 1/2"), and a can of Decal Bonder spray lacquer (repackaged Glosscote?).
The decal paper was rolled up and packaged with the can and disc, which left me a little concerned about the condition of the carrier film
The software is Windows 98/ME/2000/XP compatible -- I've run it on my HP Pavilion with XP with no problems.
What You Don't Get
The software provides a fair selection of clip art. Car modelers seem to be the big beneficiaries here: a variety of side stripes and panels, rudimentary racing numbers, some bitchin flames and four license plates with the same ABC-123 plate numbers for Arizona, California, Illinois and Michigan
There's basically nothing here for armor or ship modelers, while aircraft modelers get an odd selection: large and small US WW II star-bar insignia, a mirror-image pair of the bees from VA-113 "Stingers" Skyraiders in Vietnam, the skull and crossbones from Glenn Eagleston's P-47, mirror-image sharkmouths that look adaptable to P-40s and F-4E's and mirror-image and crossed American flags.
Text can be added, albeit only with some non-military fonts, and there is a limited drawing capability
What you DON'T get, however, is the capability to import custom art. For that, the program will helpfully tell you, you have to shell out another $9.95 for a software upgrade.
I was kind of put off by the bait-and-switch of this set -- there should have been at least the capability to import new art and fonts.
This would be a decent set to allow the beginning modeler to spread his or her wings. As for the more advanced modeler who's been around the block with making their own decals or with computer graphics, the Custom Decal System at best is a quick source of decal film in a pinch and not that much film at that.
If you've been building for a while and don't have PhotoShop or PaintShop, I'd recommend downloading OpenOffice (it's free, has a pretty neat drawing and graphics program, and is Microsoft Word and Office-compatible), buying your own decal paper and some Glosscote and enjoying what will be broader capabilities than you get from th eCustom Decal System.
Copyright ©2021 text by Mike Still [ ]. All rights reserved.