The creativity we use in building scale models is a little different to the creativity we might uses as an engineer or an artist. Scale models are not creating something new, they are making a smaller replication of something that already exists. This is still a very valid art form, rather like capturing somebody’s true self in a photographic portrait. Model building entails reproducing the appearance of a car, plane, building, object or vehicle, and also capturing some of the emotion that goes with that object.
The vehicles and objects we reproduce in model work have both an overall shape and fine detail. Sometimes the overall shape is difficult to reproduce, but that is the whole goal of model building. The fine details can also be hard to reproduce, but it is these fine details that lend a model a realistic look. In a film the addition of fine detail, sometimes even random details called greebeling, is the difference between models looking realistic and looking artificial. Model decals are often part of the detailing process.
Model Decals can be custom designed and printed onto many mediums. This means any hobby model, even one designed and built from scratch, can have its own appropriate decals. With the advent of 3D printing this means only our imagination limits what we can do.
Model trains are one of the examples of combining different streams of creativity. The models are themselves accurate reproductions of historical trains, but the railways they run on will exist in a context. Model trains have tracks within landscapes with roads, bridges, train platforms, vehicles and other objects. Designing and building this is a major undertaking.
3D printing and custom decals have extensively increased the possibilities of model building. They have also extended the possibilities of customising computers, phones, musical instruments and other useful possessions. New mediums such as metallic decals serve to inspire new creative ideas.