Advanced. Decals

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Lt. Z0mBe
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Post by Lt. Z0mBe » Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:01 pm

Ionflyer wrote:Ok, a couple questions from someone who is re-teaching himself the finer points of modeling.

I'm currently working on my ERTL Reliant kit, working all the way up to the decal stage, and I'm trying MicroSol for the first time. So far, it seems to be having a sort of hit or miss effect, as with some decals it's working great, to the point where you really have to be looking for the edges of the decal to see them, and, conversely, one some pieces (especially the multitude of red trim stripes) it doesn't seem to be having any effect, and even causing some wrinkles to form along the edges of the decal... I've read some guides that say this is normal, and that the wrinkles will fade out as the solvent dries, but in some places this does not seem to be the case.

Also, any tips on getting the decal to conform to the little grooves beween hull plates? I keep getting instances where the decal will bridge the gap rather than settle down into it.
The key to decals, in my experience, is consistency in approach. You get in a "rhythm" that way

1.) Glosscoat with Future floorpolish.
2.) Make your water a milky white mixture of white glue and water. You'll want the "just rinsed cereal bowl in the sink" look.
3.) Have a jar of Future and your milkywater standing by, along with two soft paint brushes, a paper towel with a torn edge, and a clean towel.
4.) Dip the decal in the water/glue mixture for 10-15 seconds. Place it on a towel.
5.) Allow the decal to moisten for at least two minutes. Don't touch the decal.
6.) I said "Don't touch the decal."
7.) After a full two minutes, touch the edge of the decal with a paint brush, and try to gently push it along. I said "Don't touch it." You're wanting it to get to the point where it floats off the backing with the slightest pressure. You can dunk it again - hold with tweezers - or just place a drop of the milky water on it if it's softening fast enough.
8.) Once the decal is all "loosy goosy," paint just a little bit of Future with one brush and a couple of drops of the milky water with the other brush on the model where the decal is to go.
9.) Hold the decal up to the model with tweezers, and slide it off the backing using the brush you just used for the glue.
10.) Smooth the decal out and position it with the brush; for large decals, I use a moist cotton swab. Work quickly, you've got about three minutes with the Future.
11.) Don't touch the decal! Touch the torn edge of the paper towel to the edge of the decal and wick away the excess Future and water.
12.)I said "Don't touch the decal!" :) Allow it to dry. It may crinkle a bit as it dries. That's okay. It will smooth out. Some large decals may have a bubble or wrinkle that hangs around. No big deal. Poke a hole with a straight pin and brush a bit of Future there.

This technique lets the Future suck the decals down onto...more Future. You'll have little trouble with panel lines any more. Additionally, there's something about the Future that seems to act as a bit of a decal softener by proxy. I'm not sure if it's due to the decals truly being softened or the existing Future glosscoat being softened during the application.

I hope this helps.

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Butters
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Post by Butters » Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:15 pm

Can/Should GK decals (JBOT and the like) be oversprayed with Testors Clear Flat Laquer, in order to give them a bit more 'body', for placement? The instructions for my Stargazers Mk I kit say they've already been treated to a coat.

I ask because I've had trouble with Black Suns decals (not sure who produced them) and now, after procuring a replacement set, I don't want to boink these up as well. :?
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Post by TER-OR » Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:09 pm

I don't like spraying the decal sheet with dullcoat. The decal must be glossy and pliable. I like brushing on some Microscale Liquid Decal Film on many of the ALPS type decals.
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Butters
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Post by Butters » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:05 pm

TER-OR wrote:I don't like spraying the decal sheet with dullcoat. The decal must be glossy and pliable. I like brushing on some Microscale Liquid Decal Film on many of the ALPS type decals.
Do you do that just prior to application? Or before?
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Post by TER-OR » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:16 pm

I do it a day or two before applying decals. I use a broad soft brush and paint the entire decal sheet. Once or twice depending on how large the decals are. This forms a film over the images. Remember you'll need to cut as close as possible to the color but leave a little margin. Don't apply it on the model - that's what Future is for.
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Post by Butters » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:59 pm

TER-OR wrote:Don't apply it on the model - that's what Future is for.
Eh? :? I don't use future for anything but windshields. I've tried shooting it through an airbrush but that just fouled my airbrush and gave me orange peel. I just use Testors Glosscoat or Dullcoat, depending upon the requirement.
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Post by Kylwell » Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:13 pm

I thin my Future (depending on it's age) a bit with acrylic thinner. Then gloss coat away!
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Post by TER-OR » Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:11 pm

Just after the decals are dry, I use a clean brush and give them a thin coat of Future. For smaller decals on a flat surface, I'll put a drop of Future on the surface then apply the decal. It's far and away the best method I've found. I use Future as a glosscoat to protect paint coats before masking as well. Over gloss paints it's problematic, though, I've had crackling. So I tend to paint with semi-gloss.
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Post by macfrank » Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:04 pm

I do what Brother Kenny says. I don't think he stressed the "don't touch the decals" part enough. Really - don't touch the decals!

Another useful use Future - especially on old decals or older Eastern European/Russian decals is to spray a coat of Future on the decal sheet and let it dry thoroughly. The dried Future will act as a decal film and keep the old decals from breaking up as soon as they hit the water. Then follow the rest of Kenny's instructions.

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Post by Callandor » Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:06 am

Here is my question. I have sprayed the moddel with gloss coat and am getting ready to apply the decals. The final model will be sprayed with dull coat. Do I need to spray it with clear coat again on top of the decals or can I forgo the top coat of gloss and just spray on the dull coat? I want it to look good, but I don't want to waste the extra gloss coat if it is not necessary.

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Post by photoguy » Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:57 pm

I would seal them with something, especially if you're using a lacquer dull coat like Testors. I have seen decal film get "attacked" by lacquer dull coat - it's not a pretty picuture :zb:

Also, a clear coat with a little thickness to it (Future for example) helps hide the edges of the decal film and really makes the final result look much more "painted"
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Post by TREKKRIFFIC » Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:13 am

I've started using Krylon gloss acrylic before and after decal application. Then a few coats of Krylon matte to give a semi-gloss finish or more matte for a flatter finish. I've used it on my current build and it hides the decal edges well. It's cheaper too, You can get a big ratttle can of it for a lot less than Testor's clear enamel will run you for the same amount. It also won't yellow over time like Testors can.
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Post by Vile » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:40 am

I'm just getting back into building my kits (as opposed to hoarding them, as I have been doing for the last 10 years). I guess I'm a bit behind the times because I still use a brush and enamel paints. I've read a lot about you airbrush gurus with your fancy acrylics and spraying Future about before applying decals, but has anyone tried anything similar for enamels? I want to avoid any silvering when applying decals on a matt enamelled surface.

I haven't experimented, but I would guess that a coat of Future under my decals wouldn't react well to being covered by an enamel wash. :|

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Post by Romulan Spy » Sat Mar 28, 2009 5:40 pm

I use Future as an undercoat for my decals all the time. I've not yet had a bad reaction when using oil paints heavily thinned with mineral spirits. I typically use artist oil paints for shading and washes after the decals are on. The Future holds up well.

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Post by Vile » Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:04 am

Thanks, Romulan Spy, that puts my mind at ease. I'll try it out! :)

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Flat Future

Post by starmanmm » Thu May 21, 2009 5:35 pm

Ok, just going over my notes from the class at WF and I am not clear about making flat future.

What I have is a bottle of tamiya flat base (large) and I fill it with 91% isopropyl alcohol and then mix it and do a 60/40 mix with future.

So, I am guessing that the 40% is the future?

But, do I fill the remaining space in the tamiya jar with the 91% or seperate the two to make a 50/50 combo?

Thanks

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Edges Noticeable

Post by starmanmm » Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:40 pm

I had someone make me some decals for a starship. They used the Micro Mart decals. I cut the decal as close as possible.

I based coated the area with future and let it dry.

I applied the decals and once they were dry, I went over it with future.

Now, three days later, I can still make out the edges of the decal film. :cry:

Ok, now I am planning on base coating that area with future again, let it dry for a couple of days and then seal it with a dull coat.

So, do you think that will hide the edges of the decal film? [-o<

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Post by Captain Riker » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:15 pm

TER-OR wrote:As long as you haven't overcoated with clear coat you can remove the decal with adhesive tape. If clearcoated, you might want to use a hot damp cloth to loosen everything, then peel off.

I'd try the tape first, it sounds like you won't have a problem.
You sir saved my bacon. I used your tape method on a crooked ship name and it came right off (even afer under and overcoating with microsol.

I might try the washcloth method on one decal coated with testors clear gloss.

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Post by TER-OR » Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:16 pm

I'm glad it worked - all these tips from everyone came at the expense of hard-won experience and we're happy to share.
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Roughness

Post by starmanmm » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:13 pm

Future on the kit and then hit it micro set and micro sol.

once it dried, it left like a roughness on the surface. Tried using an old tee shirt to buff it out... no luck.

Also, it looks like it left sort of a wet area around the decal.

Any idea as to what I did wrong?

Can submit pics if that helps.

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Post by TER-OR » Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:48 pm

Was the Future fully cured, or did you put liquid Future on the kit, then the decal then the MicroSol (or solva-set). I've had those haze the Future before. Now I tend to let the Future set at least a day - especially if it's warm and humid.
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Post by starmanmm » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:57 pm

I believe that it was left to dry for at least 2 days.

Still, I guess you maybe right, that micro set may have etched into the future.

I did give it a second coat, but when you tilt the kit, you can see it.

As for the weather, it has been a humid summer for us in the northeast, so I don't recall if the weather was humid when I did it.

Any suggestions for a repair?

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Post by TER-OR » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:01 pm

Maybe it was excess decal adhesive?
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Post by starmanmm » Thu Sep 17, 2009 4:30 pm

Good possibility as any.

Well, here is a pic of what I am dealing with.

http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u88/ ... opview.jpg

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Post by TER-OR » Sat Sep 19, 2009 4:28 pm

Unless you put Future beneath the decal when applying, it's always a good idea to wipe the area down after applying and before overcoating. I've seen it look pretty messy in the past and once cleaned up it was fine.
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Post by starmanmm » Sat Sep 19, 2009 5:29 pm

I did have Future on it first. Then I had applied the micro stuff, which is why I was wondering if it may have dissolved the Future?

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Post by BERT aka MODEL MAKER » Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:23 pm

I have a decal question, I have an apollo spacecraft model from 1983. the decals look good still & they will go on the unpainted, white command module. My question is this, the white plastic is kind of shiney out of the box, What is the safest & best method for applying these small united states with flag decals to the plastic ? here is what i have to work with,

1- a bottle of model master enamel decal set,

2- a bottle of model master enamel clear gloss coat

3- a big bottle of future

4- a can of model master lacquer overcoat lusterless flat

5- testors dull cote clear flat lacquer overcoat

6- And NO airbrush. only paint brushes


what would be the BEST technique to apply these decals & then protect these decals and make them look right ? I have 1 chance to do this right because the decals cannot be had any longer since this is a rare kit. what are the correct steps to follow to make the decals look painted on ?
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Post by photoguy » Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:44 pm

Step one: I don't know if it's technically correct for copyright and all, but I'd go ahead and scan the decal sheet at a high resolution 600 dpi at least, and save that as a back up in case you need to print up some replacement decals.
Step two: Paint the model with a gloss white spray paint. The finished model will look 100 times better, and the decals will adhere better to that then bare plastic.
Step three: If you're worried about them cracking; while they're still on the sheet, go ahead and spray them with a coat of decal bonder to hold them together.
Step four: Trim the decal out as close to the artwork as possible, and apply using warm water to soak them, and then slide them off of the backing into place. Dab any extra water off of the model with a soft cloth.
Step five: once dry, spray a coat of clear coat (whatever finish you desire) to seal them down and complete the painted on effect.
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Post by BERT aka MODEL MAKER » Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:04 am

thanks photoguy, even though the decals "look" good you never know. what is a good decal bonder to use on the decal sheet prior to dipping them in water ?

I have some tamiya fine white primer i havent used yet, how glossy is that stuff ?
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Post by Joseph Osborn » Sun Nov 22, 2009 12:52 am

If I were you, here's what I would do if I only had the materials you listed: Paint a layer of Future over the decal sheet a day before you intend to cut the decals. In lieu of using Microscale Liquid Decal Film, the Future will help to minimize any cracking from causing a disaster. You should use the Tamiya white primer on the model and then use the clear gloss to paint a glossy patch on the areas of the model where the decals will go. Future can be used instead of the clear gloss, too. Use the decal set to help settle the decal into place once it has been applied. The decal setting liquid will melt the decal a little, so make sure it's where it needs to be before applying. Once the decals have dried, paint a coat of Future over them and let it dry good and hard. After that, a coat or two of your lacquer clears will even everything out and the decals will blend into the finish nicely.

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