dougalmac2 wrote:I'm thinking of building six or seven of these but the cost of ink or getting them printed is getting a bit worrying. Mac
Can't help you with the sizes of that kit, but have built many Scalescenes kits and so can offer some general advice re your ink and general cost concerns.
First comment is a matter of individual acceptability as to the finished result, namely the print quality including inks used. Caveat: Your standard of what you consider acceptable may vary - higher or lower.
For ink steadfastness to resist fading one in situ over time on the layout or staining during build, IMV it is absolutely necessary to use a colour fixative spray. On Scalescenes, Metcalfe or Superquick, I do this before to each printed sheet commencing a build, Scalescenes notable after attaching the printed paper to its backing board with 3M spray adhesive , 3M or one of similar quality.
Second. Print quality. I've used laser printers plus Epson Photo Stylus 6 colour, and 4 colour printers for many years. Best colour results are achieved with either laser on quality coated laser paper or 6 colour quality inks in photo quality on their photo printing quality white paper (not the card).
Inks. Many Epson printer retail cartridge inks are pigment ink. These are duller than dye, so the best result is achieved using their recommended special white paper which returns a superb saturation, contrast and colour trueness result. If using generic $5 GP reams the result will be underwhelming. Subtle contrast is especially important when printing repetative brickwork in dark colours IMO. This is why Metcalfe chose light bright red coloured brickwork to market their early kits IMO, and still prefer lighter brick or stone colours to present well.
Other printers, e.g. Canon and including 4 colour Epson business inkjets use dye ink cartridges. I have one of those too ATM. Fantastic for everyday printing, copying, faxing etc., but not as good for this particular purpose.
Inks. You can buy some outstanding quality dye inks in 2017. But you won't find these in pound store generic cartridges. More on this in a moment. The result from 4 colour printers using dye inks intended as a GP home printer is even more highly dependent on paper and ink quality. Although not as good as the first two options, the results from these still can be of quite a good enough standard to be acceptable to me if the paper and ink quality guidelines previously mentioned are adhered to.
How to achieve this affordably?
Cartridge cost. Don't use them unless you do small volume infrequent printing. One word, or acronym really. CIS. Continuous Ink System. Manufacturers decry them for one reason, and don't offer their own for the same reason. Profit. I've been using CIS reliably in my successive inkjets in excess of a decade, and Epsons with their ultra fine printheads in the printer are the finickiest printers of all IME.
Buy a CIS for your printer. Do
buy a qualty one from an established reputable supplier and choose to have them fill it with quality ink usually offered by said reputable supplier. Good quality dye inks give a superb printed finish, especially so if used in conjunction with quality paper on a decent printer. If a fixative is used post printing as elaborated in a previous paragraph, their colour fastness will outlast both you and me. Do avoid the inclination to buy a CIS cheap from eBay. Cheap units don't function as well, the print result looks beyond dreadful, and cheap invariably means absolute rubbish Chinese inks which will inevitibly dry in the head blocking your print head rendering your printer useless.
Once you have a CIS, you'll never worry about the cost or quality of ink (expensive OEM or alternative reputable ink filled brand proprietary chipped cartridges) again.
Unfortunately, to achieve the kind of printed result I expect those are the prerequisites.
As to your addressing your primary concern re cost, a CIS is the way to contain the major consumable cost for volume printing using inkjet printers. It'll pay for itself with a project such as the one you have in mind, and take away any concerns you have with Scalescenes in the future.