Advanced. Decals

This is the place to get answers about painting, weathering and other aspects of finishing a model.

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Jon Kunatz
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Post by Jon Kunatz » Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:30 am

Can you guys explain what the setting solutions are composed of?
I have used MicroSol, Solvaset, and have recently tried Mr Mark Softer.
I have to say my fav by far is solvaset...it has never failed me. EVER.
So can you guys tell me about Mr Mark Softer ?
How do you apply it and whats it made of?
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Post by TER-OR » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:46 pm

The milder ones seem to be a wetting agent (detergent) and a mild acid like vinegar. The more aggressive ones are branched alcohols which are nice solvents for the decal film material.
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Advanced Decals

Post by cerberus » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:24 pm

Who makes the thinnest decal paper in black,white& clear that can be used on an ink-jet printer. Tango-Papa only sells paper for laser-jet paper. I have a HP printer.
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Post by AbsoluteSciFi » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:17 pm

Marcelo Conforto wrote:Does any of the greatest modelers on earth know how I can get those brown moisture fungus out from an old decal sheet?

The fungus is eating at the backing of the decal sheet, which can hold the decal to the sheet, if the fungus is ingrained into the decal itself the decal will not pull. The best thing you can hope for is to use hot water to soften the emulsion and try it, hopefully the decal itself is unaffected by the fungus/mold. Its a 50/50 thing. You have nothing to loose. Once the decal is in position, rinse with alcohol in a paper towel to sterilize the mold/fungus.
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Post by AbsoluteSciFi » Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:45 pm

TER-OR wrote: The milder ones seem to be a wetting agent (detergent) and a mild acid like vinegar. The more aggressive ones are branched alcohols which are nice solvents for the decal film material.
I am not sure if you realized what you said, but it goes something like this:

"The milder ones seem to be a wetting agent (detergent)..."
Detergents are by nature alkaline, or of a PH above 7.0, most hand soaps are about 8.0 and include a moisturizer. Comet is around 9.0 - 10.0

"...and a mild acid like vinegar."
Vinegar is acidic, but if you add it to a detergent, it does two things, it turns the solution white, or cloudy, and lowers the PH value of the detergent solution thereby negating the action of the detergent.

An acid is anything that is below neutral (7.0) on the PH scale. It is a measure in parts per million (ppm) of the concentration of hydrogen ions in suspension. Less ions (acidic) = pulling power or more oxidation/corrosive-ness. When you add a detergent to the mix, you add things to the solution; which is like adding a positive number to a negative, it cancels.
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Post by AbsoluteSciFi » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:40 am

Detergents
Detergents are bipolar in nature! Each detergent Diode has a hydrophobic end, and a water loving end. The part that wants to stay in water is like a barb that sticks into the water, and the part that hates water is like a barb that tries to escape the water. If you could look at the top of a pool of water with detergent in it, (microscopically, of course) you would see all the hydrophobic barbs pointed out of the water, with the other end of the diode under the water line. This breaks the surface tension of the water, making it "slipperier". For example water with detergent in it will run out flatter than water without detergent. Water without detergent will almost bead up, or stand taller on a flat surface.

Why?
Surface tension is reduced and detergents can break up soils, or dirt, as you well know from using detergent in the laundry. What is actually happening is the detergent diode literally "barbs" the soil, (or any dry substance) and pulls it to the water. This is good when trying to soften up decals, and make them slide around easily from the sheet to the model, because they break the surface tension of the water and provide a good "slick" of water to glide the decal over when transporting it and positioning it. Now, how could we make the equation better? Add something that holds the water together even better than a detergent like a glycol. Glycerin is a water loving diode, it softens the water and will not dry out the decal when it dries. Detergents will stick into your decal and when it dries, will get brittle. For most people this problem is solved by topdressing with a gloss fixative, sealing them inside. The decal will fade over time if left uncoated. Normally, the decal wash is a glycerin based solution, and the set is an alcohol delivered poly-coat, which will dilute the glycerin and set the decal.

The poor man's decal solution can be anything from a few drops of liquid soap to bubble mix diluted in a bowl of water. I personally use several drops of glycerin in a cup of warm (115 degrees F) water.

How to set the decal down seamlessly?
First, cut the decal as closely as possible to the edge of the image. Prep the model by spraying it with a clear gloss coat of some kind, the surface of the model needs to be as smooth and free of mirco-scratches as humanly possible. Next, apply your decal using whatever god-like-methodology you prefer, and let dry. Now spray a second coat of gloss over top of the decal, sealing it into a sandwich of plastic, making it part of the top coating of the model. Lightly sand or apply Dulcoat to even out the finish, and then weather the model as per normal.
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Post by Kylwell » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:01 pm

You do know that Ter-or is a chemist by trade and wrote the seminal white paper on decals...
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Post by Lt. Z0mBe » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:25 pm

Kylwell wrote:You do know that Ter-or is a chemist by trade and wrote the seminal white paper on decals...
Not to mention a Bishop in the Church of Aves and all around good guy. ;)

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Post by Glorfindel » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:08 pm

Without starting a new thread, and since I'm new to this side of modeling, would someone here be willing to give a detailed account of how one can make his/her own decals. Example; What program are you designing them with? What printer? What paper? How do you scale your decals down to fit your model correctly? And anything else you may find important in this aspect of modeling.
Thank you in advance.
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Post by Kylwell » Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:30 pm

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Post by Glorfindel » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:57 am

Kylwell that's definitely helpful. No mention on the scaling down once their created in a program. Is it a matter of shrinking the % down in the printing window ( an option my Mac has) then printing out on white paper and repeat this process until the size looks correct? Seems tedious but would work.
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Post by Kylwell » Fri Jun 24, 2011 11:03 am

CorelDraw, Paint, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc... all offer measurement & scaling tools.
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Post by starmanmm » Sat Oct 22, 2011 6:06 pm

Not sure if it should be posted here.... but following a thread on another part of this site... the discussion was about having someone making you a set of decals.

Besides the two they discussed... who else is out there that can do custom work?

I hve the pic and I guess... from what I have read.... that I can do it on my own epson printer (R340 printer)... but it is not a laser printer so not sure how the quality will be. :oops:

So, maybe, I should consider someone with better equipment? :-k
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Post by Mr. Badwrench » Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:34 pm

That depends. Who were the "two they discussed"?
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Post by Joseph Osborn » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:11 pm

starmanmm wrote:Not sure if it should be posted here.... but following a thread on another part of this site... the discussion was about having someone making you a set of decals.

Besides the two they discussed... who else is out there that can do custom work?

I hve the pic and I guess... from what I have read.... that I can do it on my own epson printer (R340 printer)... but it is not a laser printer so not sure how the quality will be. :oops:

So, maybe, I should consider someone with better equipment? :-k
I replied to your question in that other thread, but I'll add my response here too:

I will print custom decals, but I very rarely draw custom decals. I prefer the customer to already have his artwork drawn, so all I have to do is tweak if needed, print their decals with a nightly batch, and mail them. Very quick turnaround. I used to draw quite a lot of custom decals until it became a huge drag on my overall operations. With the free availability of Inkscape, there's no reason why anyone with a computer can't generate quality artwork.

If you have an inkjet printer, you can make some great decals. In fact, the color capability of your Epson inkjet printer far outstrips that of my Alps printers. But you can't print in white or metallic (yet--give it a little more time and we may see it widely available for inkjets). Even white decals can be made with an inkjet (and white decal paper) if you use a few tricks. The key to great decals is the artwork, pure and simple. Jpegs and other bitmaps will not give as good a result as vector graphics will give. There is a free open-source program called Inkscape that will allow you create high-quality vector artwork for decal printing. Sure, there's a learning curve. Airbrushing, seam-filling, and practically every other skill involved in modeling has a learning curve, too. But you don't send your models out to someone else to get the seams filled, do you? :P

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How to store Decals

Post by starmanmm » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:26 pm

Ok, I have a few decals that I have been storing in a styrofoam cooler to keep them until the time I do need them.

Checked them out recently and found that they are slowly curling in the cooler.

These are mostly decals made by various decal companies that I had picked up at WF.

So, how can I stop them from curling and how does everyone else store their decals until they need them (which could be a few years). :D
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Post by Kylwell » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:38 pm

I've got mine in sheet protectors in a 3 ring binder. I put a sheet of paper in the sleeve so I can put a layer on each side. Weight keeps them flat. Paper helps absorb moisture (not that we really have that problem here in the high desert) and they stay out of sunlight and things like random paint sprays.
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Post by starmanmm » Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:00 pm

Sounds like a plan.... like the idea of paper to keep them stiff and absorb water.... here in the NE.... humidity is an issue.
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Post by Tommy8008 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:52 am

I'm at a bit of an impasse.

I'm busy doing the Enterprise E and have torn some of the decals whilst applying them to the model. I have the decal sheet scanned, but I don't know which clear decal paper to go for and a quick search brings up Testors inkjet as one of the best. However, I live in the UK and can't find a supplier of said and a quick message to Testors on Fakebook says that they don't supply outside of the US.

I guess I'm just asking if their is a good alternative for us Brits to use?

I have a Kodak inkjet all in one printer, if that helps.

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Post by SJM » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:09 am

Anyone get cloudy looking aftermarket decals after they've dried (after using both Micro Set/Sol?
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Post by Kylwell » Fri Feb 14, 2014 12:58 pm

SJM wrote:Anyone get cloudy looking aftermarket decals after they've dried (after using both Micro Set/Sol?
White cloudy areas? Yes. It's the Future. Let it sit for a week. Usually goes way if not brush some more Microset on it. Or was it Microsol... whichever you put on second.
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Post by SJM » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:07 pm

Kylwell wrote:
SJM wrote:Anyone get cloudy looking aftermarket decals after they've dried (after using both Micro Set/Sol?
White cloudy areas? Yes. It's the Future. Let it sit for a week. Usually goes way if not brush some more Microset on it. Or was it Microsol... whichever you put on second.
I ended up doing just that, took most of it away. Did the same on my test part, then applied a second coat of Tamiya gloss. When it dried, there was so indication that it ever was a decal, great stuff. Thanks anyway!
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Post by Kylwell » Sat Feb 15, 2014 11:03 pm

Yeah sometimes you just have to wait and hope for the best.
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Post by TurkeyVolumeGuessingMan » Sat Nov 15, 2014 11:29 pm

Here is a very nice, thorough decal tutorial by Genessis Models.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axgf8NNRh7M
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Post by TurkeyVolumeGuessingMan » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:30 pm

Here is an informative article on restoring old decals on oldmodelkits.com located here. It makes mention of JT Graphics, too!
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Re: Advanced. Decals

Post by DeltaVee » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:25 pm

A question: Say some idiot put his decals on upside down and overcoated with Future/Tamiya flat and now they're dry. What's the best way to apply replacement decals:
1. Sand lightly till the overcoat and decals are removed, gloss again and decal and overcoat again.
2. Just repaint the area again (with enamel paint), gloss and re-decal.
3. Other?

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Re: Advanced. Decals

Post by admiralcag » Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:18 pm

Easy Lift Off and repaint?

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Re: Advanced. Decals

Post by SpaceRanger1 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:42 am

Best decal tutorial ever:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chCLz7xnnZQ

And be sure to check out Paul's other videos as well.
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