Is decal solution really worth it ?

Discussion in 'Questions on Kits, Decals, Tools and Pilots' started by Maestro, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Greetings ladies and gentlemen.

    As you know, I'm a modeler. Okay, not a pro... but let's say an apprentice. Like many apprentices, I used decals as told on the plan (put into water for 10 seconds, take out and wait until it goes off the sheet, blah, blah, blah...). But after seeing a few of my older model kits recently losing their decals, I started to wonder if I shouldn't use some decal solution.

    So I ask you modelers, is decal solution worth it ? I mean, does it really helps decals to stay glued onto the model ?
     
  2. ndicki

    ndicki Member

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    Decalling 101, here goes!

    This will not work without an airbrush, but:

    When you've finished the paint scheme and fading/weathering (but NOT exhaust/gun/etc staining), varnish the aircraft using clear high-gloss acrylic varnish; Gunze diluted with a mixture of industrial alcohol and Tamiya thinners (NEVER water!) is best, as Tamiya tends to 'powder' if you're not careful. Leave the aircraft for a couple of days.

    Apply the decals as usual, but if they are not Japanese made, setting solution is a useful thing to use, especially with recessed panel lines or raised detail. Don't use it with Jap made decals as you will not be able to slide them around. Aeromaster, etc, is great for this, and predictably responds really well, if you follow the instructions carefully.

    When the decals are well day - another day! - run a brand-new razor blade very carefully and gently along the panel lines (if recessed) where the decals cross them. Using a fine paintbrush, run a drop of setting solution, whatever the origin of the decals, along the lines.

    When it's dry again, rinse the setting solution off, and clean the model using a good brush and your airbrush as a blower to get the crap off.

    Varnish it again using the same gloss varnish.

    Now you can bring out the panel lining by running a drop of thinned down enamel paint into the panel lines; wipe the excess away with a bit of clean rag which you have moistened with a drop of white spirit.

    Let it dry again, blow it clean again, and varnish overall with a decent enamel matt varnish, spraying very thinly to avoid overdoing it, which will cause whitening of the varnish.

    After all that, you can now add ehxaust stains, fuel spillage, etc, bearing in mind that in real life they can dirty the insignia like anything else.

    Hope this helps - 'spect you knew all that, but I'm sure somebody'll find it of interest! 8)
     
  3. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    I spent 10 years making models judiciously. Subscribed to Scale Modeler magazine and hung out in high end hobby stores. It was only years later while talking with a modeler at the Oregon Museum of Science during a model display did I get educated on this nifty trick.

    Great reply ndicki.

    So moderators...when are you going to establish a modeler sub-forum?!?!?!? Let's be honest here. This forum would likely not exist if it weren't for young folks building their first WWII airplane and becoming fascinated with the form, technical development and operation of these beautiful pieces of machinery.
     
  4. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I actually did. I build models and have done so for years but am still learning a lot of the tricks of the trade and ofcourse getting better each time. I still have a lot to learn though.
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Let me to talk to even about the model section. I think he has the rights to do it.
     
  6. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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  7. ndicki

    ndicki Member

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    It would be nice...
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I think it is a good idea. I just cant seem to be able to do that with this forum.
     
  9. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Thanks for your help, ndicky. However I still need to know something...

    Read what I put in bold in your quote. By rinsing the setting solution (with water, I assume), don't you fear the decals will fall off ?
     
  10. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Use a slightly wet brush. It will only loosen the small residue bits. You DONT want to stick the model under water.
     
  11. ndicki

    ndicki Member

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    There you are. And with the setting solution, they won't budge an inch even if you do stick it in the water!
     
  12. the lancaster kicks ass

    the lancaster kicks ass Active Member

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    whilst we're having a masterclass what's the best way to dring out panel lines? i tried a paint/washing up liquid/water mixture was as advised by a modeller but i couldn't get it to work, what do you guys use?
     
  13. ndicki

    ndicki Member

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    Never heard that one!

    I play on the fact that solvents for acrylics will not attack enamels, and vice-versa; if you follow the procedure I outlined above, your aircraft is varnished in alcohol-based (Gunze) gloss varnish, and you have trapped the decals between 2 layers of this varnish. Do not use water based gloss varnish (Aeromaster, Pollyscale, etc) as it is not very solid. As the surface is relatively smooth, diluted Humbrol paint can be wiped off easily with a rag/kleenex dampened with a few drops of white spirit. The trick is to allow the diluted Humbrol to infiltrate the panel lines by capillarity, let it begin to dry slightly - a few minutes - and then GENTLY wipe off the excess, taking care to wipe it in the direction of the airflow. This can create, depending on how much, etc, you do, interesting fluid streaks, etc, while you're at it. (Don't even THINK about attaching pitots, etc, until you've finished all this stuff!)

    Once you're happy with this technique, you'll find you can even use variations on older kits with raised panel lines. Of course, the effect won't be as good as if you re-cut the lines, but if you're as lazy as I am, it's worth a try!
     
  14. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Alright guys, it looks like there will be a modeling section.
     
  15. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Thanks, Adler!!
     
  16. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Dont thank me. Horse saw the requests before I could message, email or talk to him about it.
     
  17. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Thanks, Horse!
     
  18. ndicki

    ndicki Member

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    :onfire: :love4: :mrgreen: :blob3: :bounncy: :happy7: :thumbright: :blob: :cheers: :occasion7: :wav:
     
  19. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

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    Woohoo !

    Eh... Ndicki, you were talking earlier about Japanese decals being of greater quality. Did you ever tried decals from Eagle Strike (made in Florida) ? I can assure you that the glue they use is way better than most of the decals supplied with the kits.

    So far, I used them for three models and they didn't fell off (yet). But at $10.00 USD (plus shipping charges) by decal kits (generally there is more than one sheet in the package), it's quite expensive.

    By the way, for the setting solution, is there a way for me to use it on older (that I already built) kits to prevent the decals from falling ? By using a brush to put some solution on the decals for example.
     
  20. ndicki

    ndicki Member

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    I didn't say Jap decals were better quality - they generally aren't, in fact, because the carrier film is too thick and needs trimmimng off, and they have a problem with white areas. What I said is that they will stick unbudgeably to the varnish if you use setting solution, so you won't be able to move them round till they're in the right place.

    Eagle Strike, Aeromaster, etc, are the creme de la creme! Expensive, as you say, but well worth it in the case of aircraft like ICM's, for example, where you can build a decent replica only to find yourself ruining it with rubbish stock decals. Also, I like to choose less common markings, and they can often help me along!

    I've no idea about decals that are falling off... Perhaps it would work. Find an old kit you don't feel satisfied with, and try! That's the great advantage of the system I described, with the multiple layers of varnish - the decals can not fall off, as they are caught between the layers. Try it on your next one! :)
     
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