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burner12

Decals coming off problem

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I don't know why but I am in the middle of putting the decals on a 1/72 Tomcat. And every once and a while I'll be putting some decals on after letting the others dry and then my finger bumps one and it pops off. It has happened to me probably 5 times.

 

The technique I use is soak it put it on the plane and then apply Micro Sol to let it set. But I have no clue as to why they keep popping off.

Will a clear coat of gloss lock them in place when I'm done?

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Is the model being handled with bare hands and getting skin oil on it?

Perhaps a stronger decal setting solution like Solvo-Set?

Try applying a decal from a different sheet....perhaps its the decals that bad. Pick a stencil or some rather small and insignificant decal from a different sheet to see if that might explain it. Could be parts of the sheet are damaged in some way.

Wow....what a bummer.

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Is the model gloss coated prior to placing the decals? Decals stick much better to a glossy surface.

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Is the model gloss coated prior to placing the decals? Decals stick much better to a glossy surface.

 

I did put a gloss coat on prior, and have 2 of the same sheets. So if 1 pops off then I use the other sheet to replace it and hope it sticks. But yes I do use my hands a little to put the decal on, but then once on I use a razor knife to move it. Is there any way to keep them from popping off?

 

Weird thing is when I use ones from the 2nd sheet they stay on along with ones from the first sheet.

Like a minute ago a yellow one was coming off so I decided to experiment and see if putting some Micro-Sol would keep it on, so I put that back on and the decal layed flat to the surface and is drying.

Edited by burner12

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One other thought.....do not use tap water. Use distilled water. That is an issue here in Central Texas. Our tap water is loaded with calcium carbonate and it affects decals to an extent that I would not have thought possible. I find a gallon of distilled water lasts about a year. I use it for decals and also mixing with acrylic paints for figure painting.

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Another expedient is to mix a drop or two of Elmers, or any other water soluble white glue, into your decal water. Sometimes it provides just enough to "stick" to keep stubborn decals down. On a glossy surface, after the excess is dry, if there is any film, it wipes off easily with a damp cloth. Be gentle around the decal itself.

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One other thought.....do not use tap water. Use distilled water. That is an issue here in Central Texas. Our tap water is loaded with calcium carbonate and it affects decals to an extent that I would not have thought possible. I find a gallon of distilled water lasts about a year. I use it for decals and also mixing with acrylic paints for figure painting.

 

Thanks for the tip Dick will try.

 

I thought of 1 thing though, and that is maybe the Micro-Sol was never applied to some decals, and those are the ones coming off. My theory is that I use a too much water to move the decal into position or I don't absorb the excess water after it's in position.

 

So what has really been happening is when I put the decal in the general area it then still has more than enough water needed, and once it's ready to have the micro sol put on I haven't absorbed enough water away to let the Micro Sol get on the decal, instead it is "painted" into the water. I thought that you had to see the water to know there was enough to apply micro sol. But I realized that the decal is wet so absorb excess water and when you can see just the decal then apply the micro sol.

 

Does this sound logical?

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Yes, sounds logical. Also sounds like you may have too much H2O. Try only the water that remains on the decal once its removed from the carrier film. Be sure to use distilled water. You can even prep the model surface by coating it with Micro-Sol and then squeeze out the excess fluid with a paint brush. You can just touch the paint brush to the fluid and it will wick out the excess fluid.

 

 

 

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I had a very similar issue with kit decals a couple of years ago...since the kit was being built as a review for a magazine article, I called the editor to explain the problem. Less than an hour later, the kit distributor's Director of Marketing called me.

 

He explained the decal manufacturing process to me...first time that I'd ever heard it. I had no idea that there are only two or three companies in the world that make decal paper. Anyway, toward the end of a paper run, he said the adhesive container could get low and then too little adhesive gets on the last sheets of paper (think an inkjet printer cartridge running out in the middle of printing a large document). If the paper manufacturer doesn't catch the error, that particular paper might be sold to a decal company, which (also not knowing about the adhesive) prints decals and carrier film on the faulty paper. Those decals essentially don't have any adhesive under them, and won't stick.

Edited by Keith Pruitt

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I had a very similar issue with kit decals a couple of years ago...since the kit was being built as a review for a magazine article, I called the editor to explain the problem. Less than an hour later, the kit distributor's Director of Marketing called me.

 

He explained the decal manufacturing process to me...first time that I'd ever heard it. I had no idea that there are only two or three companies in the world that make decal paper. Anyway, toward the end of a paper run, he said the adhesive container could get low and then too little adhesive gets on the last sheets of paper (think an inkjet printer cartridge running out in the middle of printing a large document). If the paper manufacturer doesn't catch the error, that particular paper might be sold to a decal company, which (also not knowing about the adhesive) prints decals and carrier film on the faulty paper. Those decals essentially don't have any adhesive under them, and won't stick.

 

I don't believe it is the paper because most of them are sticking very well. I t5hink I just haven't had practice with using Micro Sol very much and never applied it to some, and instead it went with the water. But I won't do that any more, I'll wait till I can see the decal fully and not any drop of water then apply the micro sol.

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A few tips:

 

First, here's how I do decals...

 

  1. The model is glossed--I use Future, but any clear gloss works--unless you've used gloss paint, in which case you shouldn't need a clear gloss. A tip within a tip--if you have an airbrush and want an almost bulletproof clear gloss, use Testor's Metallizer Sealer. Do so in a well ventilated area, though, since it has some pretty nasty fumes. Two quick, thin coats ought to be enough, all you want is a smooth surface. You should be ready to decal, if you're in a hurry (but what's the rush?), in the space of maybe an hour, 90 minutes....
  2. Cut the decal from the sheet--I leave the clear fringe around the design, since most modern decals leave that feathered and the feathered edge will blend in. Older decals that have a continuous film may need to be trimmed to the design, or as close to the design as you feel comfortable....
  3. Soak in warm (not hot) water. As Dick says, if you're local tap water is heavy with minerals and the like, use Distilled water. Leave the decal in for 30 seconds.
  4. Remove the decal from the water and set it on a paper towel.
  5. After about 30 seconds, gently see if the decal is loose from the backing sheet. If not, dip it again for about 10 seconds and let it set for another 20 of so seconds.
  6. In the meantime, put a drop of Set on the model. If you use Solvaset (I do), I'd advise diluting it with distilled water, as it is quite potent.
  7. When the decal moves on the backing sheet, use a tweezers (a stamp tweezers with blunt jaws is nice) or a damp brush to transfer the decal, backing sheet and all, to the model.
  8. Using the brush or the tip of a hobby knife blade, carefully slide the decal into position. If is doesn't want to slide, add a bit of water. If it still doesn't want to slide, try a bit of saliva. Yep, it sounds gross, but it does work with some of the Eastern European decals.
  9. Let the decal sit, face up, on the model for a few minutes. Let gravity do some of the work.
  10. If the decal looks like it is going to settle into and over the detail on the surface of the model, let it continue to sit on the model. If it looks like it is having difficulty conforming to the surface details, use a bit or Sol (or diluted Solvaset) on top.
  11. BEWARE: The decal will wrinkle, and you'll start pulling your hair out wondering what you did wrong. Be patient. The Sol relaxes the film and softens it into a goo--if you touch the decal at this point, you'll ruin it. Let it dry completely.
  12. Repeat with the other decals.

I usually devote several sessions (evenings) to decals--one night, I'll do the left side, the next night I'll do the right side, and so on. Remember, let gravity do some of the work.

 

Before you put the model up for the session, check for any trapped air bubbles--poke them with the tip of the hobby blade and apply more Sol.

 

Once all the decals are on and have dried overnight, take a lint-free tissue or cloth dampened with Distilled Water and gently (very gently) wash off the residual decal adhesive--look at the model sideways under a light, you'll see a halo of adhesive around the decal, you want to remove that. It will eventually discolor. Don't scrub too hard, though, or you'll scrub parts of the decal off!

 

Decal troubleshooting:

 

  • If the decal won't release from the sheet, try some hot water. That may do the trick. If it still doesn't release, contact the manufacturer if it is a recent kit/decal or get a new aftermarket sheet.
  • If the decal is stiff (some Revell AG decals actually break, they're so stiff!), move them into position as best you can, apply decal solvent (Micro Sol or diluted Solvaset) and let it work. Repeat every 15 minutes or so. Eventually, the decal will start to conform.
  • If the adhesive seems weak, use the Future trick or add some White Glue to the decal water as suggested.
  • If you've used Future as your gloss, you may wind up with frosty halos around the decal when they dry. Apply some more Future, it will fix it. The alcohol in the Solvent has caused that...
  • If you see areas of silvering, try gently slicing the area with a new #11 blade and applying either Future or decal solvent. A combination of the two might be required...

If you get some of those real stiff decals and they won't conform with the repeated applications of solvent, try using Solvaset straight from the bottle. If that won't work, use Future under the decal--you'll need to carefully move of lift the decal and wick the Future under the decal with a brush. Get the decal into position and let things dry. Repeat as necessary. In extreme cases, I've heard of people who have used liquid cement or lacquer thinner on decals to get them to conform. If you go that route, do so carefully or you might ruin your model.

 

I'm not saying this is the only way to go, but these methods have worked well for me over the course of 20+ years.

 

Ralph

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