Hi Lew! (and others!)
Here are the results of my trials to find the optimal scanning machine…
I had several experiments to scan thick objects, and especially ctgs. My first venture (and first scanner, I confess), was a “Plustek” cheap model, which gave relatively good results but did not last very long…
Then I bought a Canoscan 3200, because it was quite flat on the desk, but I quickly discovered that if I could scan pictures and documents without any problem, it was totally unpossible to use it for thick objects, as the focus depth was uncorrect. At this moment, I wished to try an AGFA , same as I had seen used by a friend, but the Agfa company had stopped to manufacture them…
All this scanners were, of course, flatbed ones, as none of the small-sized portable apparatus available here and there ever gave any interesting result.
Then I turned to an “EPSON Perfection 3170” and still use it.
With this device, I am able to scan ctgs up to 35 mm calibre without any problem. Also boxes, of course, and weapons, like a 12 mm GALAND revolver, or a .380 Colt Mustang. Results were such that I was able to use the pics for articles in several weapon magazines!
For ctgs hstps, no problem either, and I think that I already sent you samples in the last two years. You just put the ctg on the glass. If the hstp is barely readable, you may use tricks like chalk or correcting white fluid (be only cautious to avoid putting it all around the head if thre is some delicate colored marks or annulus). To remove the white substance is quite easy, some are now dissolved with plain water instead of toxic chemical solvents, other will get off with a soft rubbing using cloth or extra-fine steel wool.
For the thick objects or hstps, you will have to take the scanner cover off. Mine is easily put aside on the right, with no need to unplug it (it has a lightening device for films or negatives, also slides).
The results will be a black or dark background, easily treated with Photoshop or most of the photo-correcting programs available. Another possibility is to put a white paper leaf “arched” over the scanned object. It is easily set, as its sides will fit betwen the scanner glass and the body. This system allows a regular reflexion of the light and the ctg is shown over a greyish backgound, once again easyly corrected with Photoshop or Paint Shop program.
As I noted before, this scanner allows you to scan slides or 35 mm negative films either (special plastic “caches” are furnished), but you must use the highest resolution possible, due to the small size of the object. The scanner works either automatic or manual. I choosed the second solution, as it makes the things easier to correct, by changing the settings.
More, with the automatic configuration, the device will not always accept to scan a page featuring several illustrations, and will make separate pictures of each…a detail which can be quite boring…
The only problem is to put the device on a very flat and horizontal surface, otherwise you will have many troubles to avoid ctgs rollng on the glass!
Anyway, the best results will always be obtained by classical photography. Numeric cameras in use to day (I have a Nikon D50, with the 18-55 zoom, and sometimes a longer len for objects to be pictured from far away) are almost perfect and you will barely need their incorporated flashlight. I use (but not always) an annular flash, which gives no shadows, especially when combined to placing the object in a cardboard box entirely painted white inside, which will eliminate them.
For boxes, I also use a Quadrapod, as Geoge Kass showed me in the 90ies. The price of this device was then quite correct, now it is more costly, but still affordable, due to the many advantages it confers. I am very happy of this investment (!)
A possibility was to put ammo on a transparent plastic home-made stand, intalled over a glazed box (as used by the butterflies or insects collectors!), painted all white inside, but the system, described years ago in one of the ICCA special issues, was somehow clumsy, and I did not go on with it.
I hope that you may find some interest in this details, which may be helpful.
Any other question will be answered, if I can do it…
All the best to everybody.