I asked to review these sheets listed as decals on IPMS, listing thinking they were water transfer decals. To my surprise, they are actually dry transfers. Back in the 1970’s, between my aircraft engineering jobs, I had a Civil Service position as a Cartographer, making various maps for my County. I was introduced to dry transfers on the job, using a burnishing stick to place letters and numbers onto Mylar maps. It was nice but you had to line up each character precisely. Fear not, this isn’t the case with these Archer transfers as the signage is already spelled out, properly spaced, and a number next to each signage to be used for a building address. But before you rush out to purchase these, read on carefully, for there are issues.
The two numbers listed above are the same but ending in a ‘W’ for white transfers and ‘B’ for black transfers. They are small sheets measuring three by four inches, containing six different storefront titles. These are really nice and sharp! There is a general information sheet included, suggesting what colors you should use for the background walls, or just to use on door or store windows. If you wish to use these transfers with a bordered sign on a building, you will have to custom-make it to mount the transfers.
There are other European sets made in this series of transfers. What’s nice about these signs is that they can be used from prior to World War I through the present day. Each sign sports a different font and is really nice if you do a multiple storefront diorama.
Here is my experience on transfers. Before you do this, buy a proper burnishing stick that has the proper shapes and curves at your local inexpensive art store. Do not use the back of your paint brushes. They are too pointed and have a tendency to distort the plastic rubbing surface that can produce fine splits and/or distortion when transferring the letters. Make sure you cut out the desired transfer and firmly hold it down into position. Rub the burnishing stick back and forth with a little pressure and apply increasing pressure a little at a time, if necessary. You will clearly see a separation of the letters from the plastic it was attached to.
Now, for these dry transfers I received. I took each sheet out to scan. Each sheet has a protective paper backing. Look closely at the scan I did for this black sheet. You will see pieces of letters missing on various letters. Three out of the six sheets received stuck to the paper backing. One separated without damage, but the other two did not. The protective paper should have been a good piece of wax paper. Once the dry transfers stick to the paper backing, there is no repair. Transfers are starting to dry out when you try to burnish them down, and bits of the letters do not stick no matter how much pressure you use. Transfers are really dried out when pieces of the letters flake off the sheet freely.
Rules for dry transfers: they need to have a good wax paper backing to avoid sticking. If you keep them for a long period of time, keep them in a plastic bag to prevent the air from drying them out. Do not store them under pressure. Humidity is not the enemy for these, and they do have a variable shelf life.
Dry transfers are free of decal flashing and look really nice if and when they are applied correctly. Applying dry transfers takes some practice to avoid any errors, but unless you have extra transfers, practice is not an option. Due to the protective paper backing that stuck to some of these letters, I recommend you check your order upon receiving them, then store them carefully. Printed on the back of the stapled flap is Satisfaction Guarantee, including the address.
Thank you, IPMS and Archer Fine Transfers, for permitting me to review this product.