View Full Version : OddBalls Decals Update

11-26-2011, 11:17 AM
Hello Guys,
I just received an email from Tom at OddBalls Decals.
He is STILL waiting on his new printer to be shipped from Japan.
Evidently his printer is a unique model no longer sold in the USA. The parts to fix it are not available here either so he had to go back to the manufacturer in Japan to get a replacement. He says he will accept orders but they WILL NOT be filled until the new printer arrives which may be awhile. He has no clue as to how long he is going to have to wait.

11-26-2011, 04:42 PM
Thanks for the update. Some of that stuff he sells is unavailable elsewhere, so let's hope for a speedy return.


11-27-2011, 11:56 AM
Thanks for the update. Some of that stuff he sells is unavailable elsewhere, so let's hope for a speedy return.

And evidently some of the stuff he uses as printer equipment is unavalible elsewhere too! LOL

11-27-2011, 05:53 PM
Hope Tom gets it worked out. His decals, and Microscale's, are the best IMHO!


02-18-2012, 10:10 PM
ADMINISTRATORS NOTE: The following is this individual's opinion and not necessarily an indication of fact or reality.

Just a word of caution about this guy. He is a lair. He has taken the money of a couple of us and never has produced any product for us. This has been going on for about 1.5 years. We have multiple emails with multiple stories (we are keeping the emails BTW). He has told us anything from he has sent the printers to get repaired and he is waiting on money so he can send the printer off to get fixed. One of my fellow modelers has even gone to the point of reporting him. He has cashed our checks and taken our money. Just remember be careful on the internet. We have asked for refunds but he doesn't do refunds. I wish I knew how many people have sent him money so we can get a total. If anyone is keeping track there are 2 more in the south which have sent him money and got no product in return. We are working with 2 other decal makers right now to produce decals we need.


02-18-2012, 10:44 PM
Sadly, it's beginning to look like those of us that in good faith tried to help with pre-paid orders are SOL.

I hope this is not the case, but it's not sounding encouraging at all.

Being in S scale, I'm basically screwed for Frisco decals once my meager Oddballs stash is used.


02-18-2012, 11:14 PM
I hope that it is just a terrible mistake. I've known Tom for many years and it just doesn't sound like him. Has anyone tried to contact him via his web page - http://mopac1.tripod.com/oddballs3.htm or through the MP yahoo forum - http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/MOPAC/ where he is a mod.

02-18-2012, 11:39 PM
I am not going to throw Tom at Oddball decals under the bus just yet. He uses an ALPS printer, to print most, if not all, of his decals. Go and try to find a printer that will actually print opaque White, or opaque Yellow, you will find that the ALPS printer is at the top of the list, unless you have many thousands of dollars to spend. The whole ALPS saga can be followed on a few informational web-based ALPS news groups, and all of them say the same, it takes a long time to get these printers rebuilt.
Years ago when I stumbled onto these printers, and bought one, they were still available from a factory (rebuilt/exchange) authorized dealer in San Jose CA. Then by virtue of copy right, international trademark, and territorial issues, the printer could not be sold or repaired in the US any longer. The people, that lost jobs and a whole industry, will tell you, that there was quite a demand for these printers here, but the law essentially put the "Kabosh" to it all here in the States. ALPS printers are not new, not at all, they seem to like operating on Windows 98, many have made drivers for them for MAC, and Windows based programs, up to and including Vista.
People bought these printers initially for their ability to print a coat of opaque White, then multiple layers of color on top of the initial print, for T shirts and many other applications, the inks are not liquid, they are on a cassette type ribbon that uses thermal manipulation to deposit inks from the ribbons to the transfer, whether it be decal, iron on transfer or ect. And these mechanical, thermal transfers, seem to be where the longevity issues arise. My experince is they are somewhat troublesome at best and down right frustrating, and finicky at worst. But go try to find a printer that will print pure non-water based White ink, and see what it will cost you.
I have sent 2 of these printers to be restored/exchanged, but was lucky enough to be able to get them done before the US authorized operation were basically forced out of business.
I have gone on too much about all this, but there is much, much more information about all this out there.
I do not think Tom uses his decal business to make a living for himself or his family, one could consider the name "Oddballs" as a short version of, "stuff that is not mainstream". It is unfortunate you have had a bad experience, I have had no such issues with Oddballs.
I have never met him, nor have we talked via phone, but I will say Tom has helped me over the years, many times, and I have personally found him to be glad to give any information he had, freely and without reservation. He can be somewhat short in his communications, but he has never lied to, or mislead me, and given the opportunity, I look forward to doing business with him soon.
Tom Holley

02-19-2012, 09:09 AM
I agree with Tom Holly's assessment of Tom Stolte. I have dealt with him for years and never had anything but satisfaction - he has likewise shared info with me, always filled my orders, and we worked together on some decals. He's often not speedy, and is a bit cranky at times, but that's OK, so am I.

I do admit that I have not been involved in any recent orders, so I've not suffered the delays you all are reporting.

I have a large stash of Oddballs decals, all HO, about 95% of them Frisco. I have every Frisco decal set (HO) he has made. They have all been stored properly in my decal "drawer", most are fairly new. I have several duplicates. If any of you are in CRITICAL need of a specific set, send me a PM to meteor910 and I'll see if I have a duplicate. If so, I'll send it to you at Tom's price plus the postage.

I don't have dupes of everything, but I do have dupes of many.

Be patient if you inquire. I'm going back in for a second kidney stone treatment this week (a clean-up) so I'll be in the backshop again out of service for a bit near term.

I'm sad about hearing of these problems - Tom's decals, along with Microscale, are the very best IMHO. I hope he gets his situation straightened out soon. I've always enjoyed doing business with him.


02-19-2012, 09:27 AM
Tom is a very good friend of mine and he is as honest as the day is long. I am the one that has produced most of the speical Frisco decals for him. If it were not for me and him you would not be able to model much Frisco at all! Tom is waiting on the printer from Japan just as he has said, and he will produce and mail out to you all of the decals you have ordered from him as soon as he is able. If you do not like it, blame Japan.

02-19-2012, 09:58 AM
Thanks for the additional input Tom and Richard. That's much more encouraging information.

As for me, I am definitely pulling for him and his Oddballs Decals endeavor. So much so, that several months ago after email conversations with Tom, I pre-paid about $500 worth of decals ahead of time to help him get into production again. In my opinion, that's putting my money where my mouth is. Hopefully, he will get his printer(s) functional again, and the supply lines will start to be filled. That so, I'll have plenty of Frisco (and many other) decal sets to keep this S scaler going for a loooong time.


02-19-2012, 05:13 PM
I e-mailed Oddball yesterday (Saturday 2/18) about an order, and based on his reply (quoted me a price for something to be made up specially), it sounded as if he is up and running. At any rate he did not indicate that he would be unable to fill the order.


02-19-2012, 05:46 PM
Further to my earlier post, and following up on other comments, I just contacted Tom and learned he is not yet able to ship. Ah, well....


Joseph Toth
03-10-2012, 02:59 AM
I sincerely hope that the Administrators will remove the unkind remarks made by the member who called Tom at OddBalls Decals an outright liar on this forum. It is in very bad taste and does not belong here. I wonder if Tom could rightfully sue this person for such off color remarks?

Joe Toth

03-10-2012, 03:32 PM
Do any of you know if he has inventory of some decals, or does he make decals as he receives orders. I need to order some Frisco 40' boxcar decals for the old double sheathed box cars.
Thanks, Terry

03-10-2012, 04:10 PM
Do any of you know if he has inventory of some decals, or does he make decals as he receives orders. I need to order some Frisco 40' boxcar decals for the old double sheathed box cars.
Thanks, Terry

A hobby shop in Houston carries an inventory of Oddball decals; send me the decal number, and I'll see what I can do.

03-11-2012, 10:50 AM
I have never met the man, nor purchased from him, however, there appears to be something wrong here. How do you take orders and peoples money for a year and change, not ship a decal, not resolve your printer issue, not issue refunds, still take peoples money, send conflicting emails, and blame Japan? This is quite an awkward situation. What kind of printer does he use? Not laying any accusations. I'm simply asking.

Rancho Bob
03-11-2012, 04:17 PM
I have to agree with SABRR. This is a tad bit "bizarre".

Rancho Bob

03-11-2012, 08:50 PM
Kadee produced Frisco freight cars, and they have a page on ALPS Thermal Printer Custom Printed Decals.


BBB gave Oddball Decals an "F" rating based on failure to respond to a single complaint in the last three years.

The ALPS printer is not designed for commercial use. The one remaining model is only supported in Japan, and there only until early in 2015. Even if Tom is lucky enough to get going again, there is no future.

Think of all the disappearing technology brands over the years. When it's over, it's over.

03-11-2012, 10:21 PM
Nothing particularly to do with Oddballs' businss itself: Wonder why the ALPS isn't for "commercial" use? What would be the point of it in the first place? The second question would be if it's obsolete technology, what technology takes its place? There must be some way for decals to be produced...


Edit: The ALPS can't be completely "over." I just typed "ALPS Printers for sale" in Google and got 500,000 hits! If you just type: ALPS printers without quotes it's 6 Million!

03-11-2012, 10:33 PM
See also: http://s362974870.onlinehome.us/forums/air/index.php?showtopic=233548


03-11-2012, 11:39 PM
It's a "personal" printer. Some reviews say the white cartridge used for decals is good for about eleven 8 X 11 pages. Max operating temp is 95 deg F. The ink is melted off the ribbon by the heat in the printhead. Print too many pages in a row and you burn up the printhead.The printhead for inkjet printers is in the cartridge. On the ALPS, the printhead is integral to the printer. That's why it had to go back to Japan for repair.

Products get taken off the market for good reasons. The ALPS story is here:


03-12-2012, 12:29 AM
I would ask that before you condemn the printer, and the whole process, that you would print some Frisco, White reporting marks, on clear, water slide decals, with your inkjet printer and show us all with a few pictures how well it turns out.
I see your frustration and anger, but see nothing offered, in the form of an alternative White or Metallic printing process, just the anger and frustration in your comments.
I would tend to agree although, that perhaps ALPS printers should not be used in a commercial 24/7 application, unless you have a few of them. If that were the case, then the outfit would have the resources and tens of thousands of dollars to support and supply a different decal printing process. But then they are not going to waste time on those well, "Oddball Decals". ;)
I think there might be some differences in what some consider "Commercial Grade". I do hope Tom gets his printer and
you all, get your decals soon.
At this point, I wonder what Frisco.org has to do with ALPS printers, there are a few newsgroups that offer information on them.
Tom Holley

03-12-2012, 12:58 AM
Methinks the accusations, insinuations, and downright name-calling is uncalled for. We are all welcome to our opinion, but here's mine:

Tom Stolte has a main job that requires much of his time. Decal manufacturing is a sideline, and must be fitted in wherever time allows. I've met Tom, and he's OK in my book. Yes, he can be a bit cranky at times, but so can we all now & then. I'm not discounting the stories of slow deliveries and refunding, but I can say from personal experience that:

1. He offers decals that the so-called mainstream manufacturers normally do not.

2. Their quality is excellent.

3. The ALPS printer is his main production tool, but unfortunately it's not an easy platform.

I could find myself easily offended by the remarks of one of the posters in this thread, but I shall refrain from making comments.

I would also echo Tom Holley's last remarks- if one can find a viable printing platform with good parts and repair backup, that can print the type of decals we modelers can use without worry, then by all means share with us.

03-12-2012, 08:29 AM
I think the situtation has been discussed and cussed enough for now. When someone has an update that is substantive, send me a PM and I will re-open this thread for posting the update. In the mean time, I am closing this thread because we are not interested in attacks on character, only how the situation affect the availability of decals for Frisco modelers.