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Henchmen4Hire

Saber Scorpion's Decals Review

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In my ongoing quest for providing decent pictures and slightly more info on things I think others would like to buy, I present this topic where I'll spotlight Saber Scorpion's Minifigure Decals.

*Just a heads up that this will be an on-going review. I ordered a little pile of decals and gear but haven't gotten all the body parts for them yet, so I'll post updates as things get done.

Here's the TL;DR version for everyone who just wants to look at pictures and are happy just browsing SS's Flickr:

Are the decals good? Yes!

Should you buy?: Yes!

In this order I got:

1 x Alien Invasion Colony Marine

1 x Brickarms M41A Pulse Rifle

1 x Brickarms Space Magnum Pistol (Black)

1 x Brickarms XRG Railgun (Gunmetal)

1 x BrickWarriors Android Armor (Steel)

1 x BrickWarriors Desert Vulture (Charcoal)

1 x BrickWarriors Galaxy Enforcer HELMET (Red)

1 x Decals AI NM Police Officers

1 x Decals AI Zero Grav Suit (Orange)

1 x Decals AI-S4 Heavy (Female)

1 x Decals AI-S41 Female AI

1 x Decals AI-S41 Officers

1 x Decals SE-S1 Female Medium Armor (DarkBlue)

1 x Decals SE-S3 Human Female (DarkRed)

1 x Decals SE-S3 Main Character (Commander Female)

1 x Decals SE-S3 Main Character (Engineer)

So if you want pictures of any of that stuff just let me know.

=========================================

Alrighty, first up is a Police dude from the Alien Invasion Series 4 section:

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Riot Police Dude by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

TIP #1: Face decals may make it difficult to use helmets without ruining the decal!

After applying the decal, the helmet wouldn't go on without completely scraping it off. You may have to grind away a little plastic from the inside of the helmet to get it to fit safely.

Not being too experienced with applying decals to minifigures, I started off with the Police decals because there are 4 of them on a strip so it's not a total loss if I screwed it up. They're also pretty cheap costing roughly less than a dollar per chest/face/shoulders set. I love those shades. B-)

Is it obvious that the figure has a decal?

Believe it or not, this depends mostly on the lighting and viewing angle. The decals are printed on glossy sticker paper, there are angles at which the custom minifig looks official. You can usually tell there's a decal there when the decal isn't reflecting, it simply looks like a crisp paper decal.

Hold the figure an inch from your face and you can tell there's a decal there, put it on your shelf a foot away and you'll never be able to tell.

How durable are these decals?

They're as durable as a regular paper sticker. I wouldn't recommend you give a decal'd figure to kids or throw them in a parts bin, anything with a hard edge that bumps into the decal will leave a permanent dent.

How easy are they to apply?

As simple as peel and stick, BUT, you have to be careful!

I ran into a few speed bumps while practicing on the Police guy, but felt confident enough to work on the female Commander from the Star Explorers Series (pictured below right). The red decals are "Human Female" in Dark Red from the same series. Yes, for the most part you can choose what colors you want the decals to be!

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Human Female (Dark Red) & Female Commander by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

These are some snazzy designs, I already cut out the Commander's arm, legs, and face at this point.

You only need an X-acto blade or a small pair of really, really sharp scissors to get things moving. If you think your scissors are sharp enough, you're wrong, sharpen them more! Dull scissors will cause snags and kinks in the decals as you cut them out.

Cutting them out neatly is the hardest part, not much advice I can give, just keep your hands steady and have good lighting so you can see the edges. Once you've neatly cut them out it's time to move on!

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Coloring Edges by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

TIP #2: Paint the edges with whatever the appropriate color is.

The edges of the decals will be white because they're printed on white paper, these white edges will be noticeable even after applied to the figure. To get rid of them, simply run a marker along the edge of the decal (while the backing is still on, for rigidity). Use a marker that releases a little bit of ink at a time, you just want to color the edge, not let it seep deep into the decal itself. I'm using an old inking pen you can find at any art store.

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Detaching Backing by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

TIP #3: Use a dull knife to separate the decal from the backing, DON'T USE YOUR FINGERS!

If you use your fat fingers to try to peel off the backing you're just going to accidentally dent or warp the decal. Instead, use a thin dull knife to wedge between the backing and decal, this has worked flawlessly for me so far. If you use a sharp knife you risk shredding the decal!

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Female Commander Arm Decals by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

TIP #4: Use something round to press over the edges and get rid of creases.

Sometimes you'll get little creases along the edge of shoulder decals because of the rounded shape, use something round to roll over the creases and flatten them. Also roll over the edges of the decal to firmly stick them down. Remember to ROLL, not RUB. Rubbing may rub off the printing.

The decals look very good, take your time when cutting them to get clean sharp edges.

Here's how our fearless leader is looking so far:

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Female Commander WIP by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

TIP #5: Cut a little bit extra off the top and bottom of the face decals.

You don't HAVE to, but cutting off an extra 1 mm seemed to reduce the chance that a helmet would scrape the face off. I guess it has less of a chance of snagging on the decal's edge this way.

I have to paint the helmet (only red/blue available from Saber Scorpion's shop) and switch the torso, annoyingly this torso decided to crack while taking pictures. On the up side, the Galaxy Enforcer Helmet fit neatly over the face decal with no modding needed. Much praise to the designers if the inside was slightly enlarged specifically to fit over decals, if not, good on ya anyway. :tongue:

I'll use the remaining helmet decal for something else most likely.

By the way, I totally applied the knee pieces upside-down the first time, I carefully peeled them off and fixed them with very little trouble and no damage!

TIP #6: Don't pick your nose while working with decals!

Don't let the decals get wet or greasy, they'll be ruined.

Now I'm off to make some more curved torsos, will post updates.

Edited by Henchmen4Hire

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Aaaallllrighty, then!

...no Ace Ventura fans out there? :tongue:

Finished dremeling the Commander's torso, it was just as scary as the first one lol. Turned out okay.

There wasn't too much trouble applying the decal to the new curvy torso, all I did was clip out the printed empty space at the waist, replaced by actual empty space lol. I would love for someone to make a neat version of the torso so I can make designs specifically suited for it, all this micro-adjusting on a case-by-case basis is annoying.

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Posing Pretty by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

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Lost Her Wig by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

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Commander Backprint by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

So, about that helmet and those guns...

The helmet had minimal flash, easily scraped away with a knife. The mold line running down the center was pronounced enough to be annoying so I scraped most of that away too. It has parts that are very thin, but it still feels solid.

The guns are super keen, no flash and negligible mold lines. The Railgun is fantastic, the butt fits in the crook of the figure's arm so she can aim it straight ahead.

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Custom Line-Up by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

TIP #147: Go ahead and round off the top corners of the torso decals if you want, I did it for the Commander.

Edited by Henchmen4Hire

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Here we go with more picssssss

Added curves to a few more femmes and here's the result.

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Space Babes & Colonial Marine by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

Notes

-Even though Saber Scorpion's store shows the Colonial Marine with Dark Tan coloring under the kneepads and little bits at the belt, the decals I got had Sand Green. Kind of annoying because I wanted the Dark Tan, but there is an easy solution to use whatever pants you want. Simply cut the colored part out of the kneepads and belt! The decals look much better without the colored background anyway. (And no, I didn't whine about the color to SS get another free decal lol)

-The Dark Blue chick has a cool grid pattern on the black parts.

The decal quality is consistent, they aren't grainy, they stick well, etc. I actually removed and reapplied the visor decal 4 times before I was happy with how it sat, there was no damage to the decal!

These are WIPs I need to add curves to, note that I didn't paint black along the edges of Cortana's decals so the white is visible.

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Moar WIPs by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

Here's something you should never do in a fire fight; hide behind a giant red gas tank lol

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Human vs. Hard Suit by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

And a quick look at Samus so far:

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Samus Aran WIP by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

Edited by Henchmen4Hire

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Got around to finishing this character (mostly, I need to paint the helmet, or maybe get a brown one). Shaved less off the torso since she has bulkier gear.

8985118552_3285e5e01e_o.png

Heavy Soldier Female by Henchmen4Hire, on Flickr

I had to shave away material from inside the helmet because it was too tight to slip over the face decal, your experience may vary.

Edited by Henchmen4Hire

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You might want to coat your decals in clear paint - my army of Dark Elves turned from dark grey to green after 2 years.

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I hope that doesn't happen here! I don't mind having to rebuy a few cheap decals, but I can see the problem if you're army-building.

And while we're on Dark Grey, I think the Dark Bluish Grey on SS's decals needs to lose a little bit of blue to match the LEGO color better.

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I don't mean to necropost this, but I am quite curious about SS's decals and mostly all other reviews I've come across is badly filmed reviews on youtube by minors, and he is very reluctant to answer questions himself in a very conclusive manner.

So I have a couple of questions regarding the decals:

1. Are they grainy in any type of sense? Similar to this picture if you look closely you can see it has a bit of grainy-ness to it, this is because of the paper material. I know you said it's not grainy, but is this because of a plastic material or a high-end printer by the looks of it?

2. The decals are as stated of the glossy kind, but how exactly does the material feel? Does it feel like it is mostly made of paper or plastic?

3. I've heard it's not that durable, are there any noticable white-ness to the edges of the decals?

4. Has any of the colors of the decals worn of a significant amount over time? As mentioned some colors turned green after exposure to sunlight/light (I presume). And if so, has this become a significant problem in your opinion?

5. How are the decals over a non-flat surface, such as arms and a headpiece, do they stick pretty good or get worn off after a while?

Other than the questions, thank you for this in-depth review. The designs and decals do look to be of respectable quality.

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I don't mean to necropost this, but I am quite curious about SS's decals and mostly all other reviews I've come across is badly filmed reviews on youtube by minors, and he is very reluctant to answer questions himself in a very conclusive manner.

So I have a couple of questions regarding the decals:

1. Are they grainy in any type of sense? Similar to this picture if you look closely you can see it has a bit of grainy-ness to it, this is because of the paper material. I know you said it's not grainy, but is this because of a plastic material or a high-end printer by the looks of it?

2. The decals are as stated of the glossy kind, but how exactly does the material feel? Does it feel like it is mostly made of paper or plastic?

3. I've heard it's not that durable, are there any noticable white-ness to the edges of the decals?

4. Has any of the colors of the decals worn of a significant amount over time? As mentioned some colors turned green after exposure to sunlight/light (I presume). And if so, has this become a significant problem in your opinion?

5. How are the decals over a non-flat surface, such as arms and a headpiece, do they stick pretty good or get worn off after a while?

Other than the questions, thank you for this in-depth review. The designs and decals do look to be of respectable quality.

•They look about the same as that image, maybe marginally better. Once on your shelf you can't see any grain anyway. It also depends on the color, the red stripe on Shepard up there is solid red, no grain.

•These are thin paper labels, probably printed with a laser printer or whatever prints sharp lines.

•They're not vinyl/plastic stickers, like some of the G.I. Joe reprouction guys make. If you want vinyl stickers, you could ask those guys if they'll make Lego stickers for you.

•They're paper, so they act like you'd expect on spherical surfaces. They lay flat just fine on things like a visor, but as you can see on the brown figure, I left the the top tip of the shoulder pad unstuck so it wouldn't form a crease.

•They're about as durable as a label, if you don't abuse the thing, like dunking it in water or throwing it in a pile of stuff, they'll be fine. They're not made for playing. You can safely make photo-comics with them or whatever though.

•Like I showed above, the edges are white, because obviously a printer can't print on the side of the paper lol

•The stickers look as good as when I got them, no color change. I never left them in direct sunlight though.

•If you're worried about adhesion, it's always a good idea to lightly sand an area before you stick anything to it. I haven't had any problems with these stickers peeling off though.

Edited by Henchmen4Hire

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•They look about the same as that image, maybe marginally better. Once on your shelf you can't see any grain anyway. It also depends on the color, the red stripe on Shepard up there is solid red, no grain.

•These are thin paper labels, probably printed with a laser printer or whatever prints sharp lines.

•They're not vinyl/plastic stickers, like some of the G.I. Joe reprouction guys make. If you want vinyl stickers, you could ask those guys if they'll make Lego stickers for you.

•They're paper, so they act like you'd expect on spherical surfaces. They lay flat just fine on things like a visor, but as you can see on the brown figure, I left the the top tip of the shoulder pad unstuck so it wouldn't form a crease.

•They're about as durable as a label, if you don't abuse the thing, like dunking it in water or throwing it in a pile of stuff, they'll be fine. They're not made for playing. You can safely make photo-comics with them or whatever though.

•Like I showed above, the edges are white, because obviously a printer can't print on the side of the paper lol

•The stickers look as good as when I got them, no color change. I never left them in direct sunlight though.

•If you're worried about adhesion, it's always a good idea to lightly sand an area before you stick anything to it. I haven't had any problems with these stickers peeling off though.

Thank you very much for taking time to answer all my questions in a conclusive manner, I very much appreciate it!

It was very nice to get some proper insight into the production value of these decals. And appreciate even more as this is no longer your interest but you took the time to do so either way.

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I didn't want to start a new topic so I'll just post here.

It's been 4 years since I got these stickers from Saber Scorpion and amazingly they all look as good as day I stuck them on. However, I have something to report...

On 6/8/2013 at 3:04 AM, NiL_FisK_Urd said:

You might want to coat your decals in clear paint - my army of Dark Elves turned from dark grey to green after 2 years.

Wanted to say, I should have listened! I checked my figures recently and they all looked great except for the FemShep, and yeah she uses primarily DarkBley stickers. They faded away and are starting to get that green tinge. I would definitely give them a quick coat of sealer and see if that would prevent this.

However, considering I paid like $1 and it lasted 3 to 4 years, of course I'm not upset haha. I would still recommend SS's stickers to everyone.

I'll get around to posting a pic of the Cortana, looks like I totally forgot about it :tongue:

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