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TonyD

Old decals falling apart!

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I'm working on a Hasegawa 1/72 F-18 "World Hornet" that I started probably 20 years ago. The decal sheet looks to be in new condition, but several of the decals that I've tried to apply fall apart when I go to apply them.

I had this happen to a Tamiya 1/35 Sherman, but those decals looked 'checked' on the sheet.

We have well water, so thinking that might be the issue (although other than the Sherman decals I haven't had any problems), I tried distilled water with the same result.

What I'm doing is soaking the decal in a small tray of water, after a few seconds I'll pick it up by the corner of the paper and test an edge of the decal with a toothpick, then place it back in the water. When approx. half of the transfer will lift off the paper, I move it over to the model and try and slide it off using the toothpick. At this point anywhere I touch it, a piece comes off. I tried soaking for an extended period and then slide it off with my fingertip (broader surface) but it comes apart as I try and move it.

Is this just what happens with age? If so I'm screwed because I have a couple hundred kits I want to build now that I'm retired!

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This issue was discussed briefly on the Forum recently. Bear in mind that these techniques are applicable also to poor quality new decals. 

Microscale makes a decal saving solution that one “paints” over the image on the decal sheet. After it dries, the decal can be applied as usual. I find that while this is a good product, it can make the decal a little stiff. Mark Deliduka reported in the aforementioned discussion that he did not notice any significant stiffness in the decal after using it so I may have applied too heavy a coating.

Faced recently with a similar problem of a new but frangible decal, I usd my preferred technique- a thin coat of Testor’s Model Master Gloss Coat brushed on the image. After it is dry ( I usually wait overnight), I cut it out, immerse in water, and apply the decal as usual. I find the decal does not get so stiff that it won’t go down over surface detail, although you may need some setting solution.

I suppose it is likely that other clear gloss or flat coats will work just as well, but I would try it out first on a disposal decal. Good luck! 

Nick Filippone

 

 

 

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Thanks! I'll give that a try!

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Tony, I agree with Nick that the Microscale Decal Film is a great product, and using Microscale's Decal Solvent works excellent on that film; almost like they were designed for use with each other. Paint it on thin and let it dry overnight and it should work perfectly. 

 

I hadn't considered the Testor's Gloss coat; but I know someone else who used Future on his decals and said he had no problems.  I hope this helps. Good luck in finding the best solution for you.

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Anthony: I don't think your problem has anything to do with your water at home....decals fall apart basically because the very thin clear coat that they're printed on is either too thin to be handled (bad manufacturing batch) or it may have simply gotten old and brittle. I've had this problem, particularly with older decals, and the solutions suggested by Nick (if you want to try to save THAT sheet) are an easy way to do that.

The only thing I'd add IF you use a clear gloss coat is to apply them between 4hrs and 12hrs after you overcoat the decal sheet. That gives the gloss enough time to "dry" (can be handled) but not "cure"; meaning it'll have some flexibility at that time that the decals will lose once the clear coat is completely cured and hard.

Of course the best way is also the most expensive way....if it's an important project, spend money on a new aftermarket set of decals that should avoid the problems in the first place!

Gil  :smiley16:

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Tony,

You can spray the entire sheet with Testors Glosscote or Dullcote from a rattlecan.  Either will work, though you will probably be better off using Glosscote since you will be applying the decal over a gloss surface.  When the decal dries, you can flat coat as needed.  Be aware that by coating the sheet you are essentially creating a new carrier film, so you will have to trim each design closely.  For more information on this and other methods...including making your own from scratch...you might find my ebook called How To Make Your Own Decals to be of interest.  You can find it here.  Hope this helps.

Richard

 

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Thanks for all the tips. Nick - you reminded me that I had a bottle of Microscale Liquid Decal Film! Tell you the truth, I wasn't sure how to use this product!

I coated a couple decals last night and applied them this morning and no issues!

I might try Richard's suggestion next since I'm sure I'll have issues with the rest of the sheet, so rather than 'paint' each decal I can coat the entire sheet.

Thanks again guys!

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That decal film solution may be the same thing as Micro-SuperFilm. If I only suspect that a kit's decal sheet may be old enough to have dried out as you describe, I'll take a wide, soft paintbrush and attempt to cover it in one stroke. It goes on thick, but flows out nicely and dries very thin, clear and very flexible. Multiple coats only make it thicker and less flexible...just keep the pet hair away from it. Love this stuff and I always apply a coat to protect newly printed, homemade decals, too.

Have never used a clear-coat for this application, with concerns about its flexibility when dry. The comments from Nick & Gil above seem to allay these concerns, so...here we go...

Am a huge fan of that very aggressive setting solution Solva-Set, in any case!

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1 hour ago, VonL said:

Am a huge fan of that very aggressive setting solution Solva-Set, in any case!

Same here.  You can always weaken it with a little water if necessary.

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17 hours ago, VonL said:

Am a huge fan of that very aggressive setting solution Solva-Set, in any case!

Agreed. I call that the "nuclear option".

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On 6/26/2020 at 4:47 PM, VonL said:

That decal film solution may be the same thing as Micro-SuperFilm.

VonL - Regarding my last post, I decided not to mess with success and did coat each decal on the sheet rather than spraying a clear coat. As I said in my OP I have a lot of old kits to build so I'm going to be experimenting with these decal coatings. Unfortunately I 'lost' a decal for my F-18 (resulting in my initiating this thread) and I would like to avoid that situation in the future, so I'll probably coat all my decal sheets going forward. Your solution gives me another alternative.

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