The Bluenose had nameplates on both the bow and stern. The bow nameplates had the name of the ship along with some decorative art painted on the outside of the bulwarks up near the hawse pipes.
The stern nameplate was on the transom. At different points in the ship’s life, it was painted differently. At some point, it was painted quite largely on the stern, while at another point it was painted on the monkey board.
The Model Shipways Bluenose kit provides drawings for these in the plans, but does not provide tools/parts/materials to actually make them. Some modelers paint these on by hand. I don’t have that much skill with a paintbrush. Instead, I decided to use decals.
I purchased some ‘white on white’ inject printable decal paper from Micro Mark. This specialty paper lets you print any design on the paper, then apply it as a normal ‘water slide’ decal.
A water slide decal requires that you soak the decal in water for about a minute, at which point the decal separates from the backing. You then lift the decal out (carefully) and place it on your model. When the decal dries, it sticks to the surface.
This specialty paper lets me print my own decals using my computer and inkjet printer.
To create the art, I started with scanned copies of the plans. I found a font that looked good, and created an art file in PhotoShop that had the wording along with the decorative elements.
I printed out a sample on normal paper to make sure I had the size right.
Once I had these printed on the decal paper, I gave them a quick coat of clear spray lacquer. This coats the paper and protects the ink (otherwise the water would ruin the ink).
Once the lacquer dried, I cut the individual pieces out.
One by one, they were soaked in a bowl of water, separated from the backing, and placed on the ship.
Excess water was blotted off with a rag, then I brushed on some decal solvent (also from Micro Mark). The solvent softens the decal so it conforms to the shape of the hull a little better.
After they all dried, I did some touch-ups along the edges with a fine tip brush and some black paint. Since I was using white on white paper, the edges showed the white of the paper. The paint helped to blend the decal into the hull even further.
Now I’ve got decent nameplates on both sides of the bow and along the stern. The only remaining decorative element on the hull is the scroll work, which is a whole different problem.