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Decals

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  • Member since
    February 2020
Decals
Posted by bigden on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 1:40 PM

I have seen several videos on how to apply decals. It seems they have different opinions. What is the proper way to apply decals?

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Nashua, New Hampshire
Posted by mrmike on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 1:59 PM

I put my decals into water for 30 seconds to 1 minute, apply some water to the surface of the model with my finger while I wait, place the wet decal on a paper towel to wick off the excess water, place the decal and backing on the model and slide the decal off the paper backing and onto the model.  Depending upon the location of the decal, I apply some setting solution to help the decal snuggle down to the model.  I then set the model aside to dry.  This is my way and I'm sure others have their way of applying decals.

"That's Spenser with an 'S' like the poet."

Robert Urich Spenser For Hire 1985

Classic Plastic Model Club

  • Member since
    February 2020
Posted by bigden on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 9:23 AM

Thank you. So you just use the setting soulation like micro set and not the micro sol?

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Nashua, New Hampshire
Posted by mrmike on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 9:55 AM

I use Solvaset by Walther.  Works great IMHO.  I have heard of Micro Sol and Micro Set, but I haven't had any experience with them and I don't know  of the differences between them.  I have used Solvaset for many years and haven't had any real issues with that product.

"That's Spenser with an 'S' like the poet."

Robert Urich Spenser For Hire 1985

Classic Plastic Model Club

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 10:50 AM

One thing you may find is that, like painting methods, decal application methods will differ from one builder to the next. None of them will be wrong. They will all employ the same basic operation of; cut out the decal, put in water, wait, apply to model. Beyond that, it's just a finessing of the basic method, generally as a result of lessons learned.

My method is similar to Mike's, though I don't do the pre-wicking step. I use warm water, but not hot water. If the water temp is too high, the decals will curl up tightly, making them a real nuisance to get settled down. I put the decal in the water for 30 secs to 1 minute (or longer if needed), but check the decal a couple of times to see if it is loosening from the backing. If it's good and loose, it's time to apply it. Leaving it in the water too long can disolve away some of the glue. Once in place, I will blot some of the water away with the edge of a tissue.

I use Micro Sol, but don't use Micro Set any longer. Micro Set is to be applied to the surface where the decal is about to be applied, to prepare the surface, though what 'prepare the surface' means, I don't know. The stuff just beads up and rolls off. I have never found it to be of any use, though there are others who use it often.

Mocro Sol, on the other hand, works quite well. Once the decal is in place, especially if it is on a compound curve or sharp surface transition, a bit of decal solvent will help the decal conform to surface contours and snuggle down over surface details. If the surface is particularly difficult, I may apply decal solvent repeatedly to coax it along. Be aware though, that decal solvent will soften, and sometimes swell the decal, potentially making it easy to tear, so go easy. Over application of the solvent can also wash away some of the decal glue. If the decal swells and wrinkles, understand that it will be quite delicate, but when everything has dried, the decal will have sorted itself out and conformed well to the surface.

In addition to Micro Sol. have also used Tamiya Mark Fit Strong, which is a more powerful solvent. I have the Walthers, but don't think I have used it yet. Be aware that some solvents and some decals don't get along, and strong solvents can eat susceptable decals. I have also found that decal solvent can mar some acrylic painted surfaces. It in doubt, test first.

Also, be aware that decals cannot be applied to flat or satin painted surfaces. They must be applied to a smooth, clean surface.

"It would be unusual, if the unusual didn't occur."

- Steamboat Gariepy

Trevor

  • Member since
    April 2010
Posted by Flo4Vws on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 8:48 PM

After the last decal is applied, how long do you wait for the decals to be suffciently dried before you wax or polish?...anything for a sealer to help prevent the decals from lifting?

Go GREEN!!!!
  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Thursday, February 20, 2020 10:21 AM

Flo4Vws

After the last decal is applied, how long do you wait for the decals to be suffciently dried before you wax or polish?...anything for a sealer to help prevent the decals from lifting?

 

I usually wait over night, sometimes longer, for decals to dry. There is always a lot to do at the bench, so I give all things (decals, paint, glue, etc) plenty of time to dry, set, or cure while I'm doing other things.

Decals should be applied after all polishing has been done, unless you have clear coated over them, then you can polish the clear coat. Whether you apply decals under or over a clear coat is a matter of personal preference. Probably most builders clear coat over their decals, but most of my builds are not clear coated at all, so there is no 'sealer' of any kind on most of my builds. Even when I do use a clear coat (for metallic finishes, etc) I usually apply the decals on top of it. Basically, if a decal represents a painted graphic, I will clear over it. But if a decal represents a vinyl sticker (such as contingency stickers, factory musclecar stripes, etc) then I apply them on top of the clear. It is worth noting that some hot, lacquer clear coats can harm some decals. If in doubt, test.

Waxing, if you do it, must be the very last thing you do to your model. Nothing will stick to a waxed finished. I use Tamiya wax, and have found that it has not harmed decals. It brings out a nice luster in the decal. I can't comment on other waxes as I have not tried them. It would be wise to test first, especially if using a non-hobby based wax.

"It would be unusual, if the unusual didn't occur."

- Steamboat Gariepy

Trevor

  • Member since
    April 2010
Posted by Flo4Vws on Monday, February 24, 2020 5:22 AM

Thanks for the reply Trevor,

  This does answer some questions then opens for more. Okay drying time I understand. I just put together Burago Vw Beetle "New Beetle Cup", yes diecast, and applied decals directly to the painted surface after cleaning with alcohol to remove fingerprints/skin oils. I understand to wax after decals, but I would of thought polish would be similarto wax and decals not adhere to. Its been over a week since decals were last applied. Thanks again for your advice.

 

Chris :)

Go GREEN!!!!
  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Monday, February 24, 2020 10:46 AM

You're welcome, Chris.

A lot of confusion exists between waxing and polishing, and often the words are incorrectly used interchangably. But, the two are very different things. I'm not suggesting you are confused on these definitions, but just throwing this out there for the benefit of those who may be;

Polishing uses an abraisive, either abraisive creams or abraisive pads to remove a fine surface layer of the paint. Following polishing, once the body has been washed, it should be clean of any residue. Just a perfectly clean and smooth paint or clear coar surface, suitable for the application of decals, BMF, paint trim, or any other surface adornments.

Waxing, on the other hand, is a process by which a protective compound is rubbed into the pours of the paint to protect it from environmental damage, and provide it with a pleasing luster, and making it easy to clean of dust, fingerprints, or other surface contaminants. The intent is to leave behind a microscopic film of wax material, to which nothing will stick.

Does this help at all? If you need further clarification, just ask.

"It would be unusual, if the unusual didn't occur."

- Steamboat Gariepy

Trevor

  • Member since
    April 2010
Posted by Flo4Vws on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 5:06 AM

I think that clears up for the most part. I would suggest I am a bit confused about the difference between wax and polish hence the questions. Sounds like to me from what you describe about the polish that the polish is a much less aggressive for of rubbing compound. I appreciate the help..

 

Chris :)

Go GREEN!!!!
  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 7:47 AM

Flo4Vws
Sounds like to me from what you describe about the polish that the polish is a much less aggressive for of rubbing compound.

Exactly. Think of polish as a mild rubing compound, except that on a scale model, even a fine polishing compound can be quite agressive. 

"It would be unusual, if the unusual didn't occur."

- Steamboat Gariepy

Trevor

  • Member since
    February 2020
Posted by bigden on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 1:11 PM
Thanks to all.

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