Instructables

Step 1: Collecting and collating reference material

My friend had already done this step for me; he determined the campaigns his character would have served in, and found appropriate images online for each of those clasps.  Although the medal itself is official, campaign clasps would be run off by whatever jeweler the soldier had access to -- thus the font and border details varied widely.

Fortunately for us, however, they all hewed to a regulation size; 40 mm x 10 mm.  These round numbers made working to scale much easier.

Step 2: Scaling reference material

Opening PhotoShop LE, I increased the canvass size of the cropped and compiled images I'd been sent, and added a grid.

The size of the grid is actually arbitrary.  All I needed was a grid that contained 4 horizontal divisions the images could be scaled to.  Oddly enough, setting the grid to 1 cm turned out to be that size.  I then scaled the layer containing the clasps until they exactly lined up with the grid.

The last step was to crop the image at, again, a known value and at an exact square ratio.  I chose to give myself 1 cm borders for ease in the modeling application; thus the final save was a square image of arbitrary pixel size that represented a 6 cm by 6 cm square in scale.
 
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