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RickC5

Old decals are NOT fun!

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So yesterday I decided to try & complete some of the partially built kits I have had sittng around--some for many years. Anyway, to my dismay, I discovered that some of the decals were so old that they simply self-destructed when I tried to use them. We're talking 10-15-20 years old or more. No matter how long I soaked them, when I attempted to slide them off the paper, they just "crumbled" into a multitude of little tiny pieces. Suffice to say that I was NOT pleased! Italeri decals were the worst, with some older Dragon decals (1990s) coming in a close second. I finally used some other decals from my stash, but they were slightly oversize for my needs. Se la vie!

 

Do any of you guys have any recomendations as to how one might save/rescue old decals? Or, should I just toss them when I discover they won't work. Any opinions welcomed--even "build your kits in a timely manner."

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Micro Scale sells a product called "Liquid Decal Film". It is a clear film you can apply with a paint brush over your decals. Usually one coat will do it, but on older decals where I'm not sure of their quality; I'll add two or three coats just to be sure. Anytime I pick up an older model to build, the first thing I do is apply that decal film to the decals and let it dry overnight just to be sure. Also, any UM decals automatically get a coat as well; they are notorious for shattering, no matter how new they are!

 

Give that stuff a try and you'll most likely never have to deal with shattered decals again. Good luck on the next build.

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Microscale Liquid Decal film can be brushed on an old decal

Testor Spray Decal Bonder (#9200) is actually a spray aersol decal film, it works too

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All those do work, but if the decal is just plain "stuck" to the backing, it won't matter. Unless the decal is of a one off/unique type marking, I'd recommend just ditching the old decals and using newer replacements. You'll save yourself a lot of trouble and frustration. Note, however, that sometimes the tint of the old and new decals will differ, especially with white.

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That brings up a question! IF you do these COATINGS, does it make the decal thicker? Not as easy to snuggle down?

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That brings up a question! IF you do these COATINGS, does it make the decal thicker? Not as easy to snuggle down?

 

I've never had a problem with any decal becoming noticeably thicker. I also know that this film/coating works well with Solvaset to snuggle into crevices and such. The only issue I've had is when I've used the stuff on old MPC decals that are already as thick as vacuform anyway! Otherwise, applying them to the model on a glosscoat and hitting them with Solvaset (at least) allows them to snuggle down and look painted on.

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Thanks Guys! I bought a bottle of the MicroScale decal film yesterday at my LHS after another modeling friend suggested it. I haven't tried it yet, but will surely do so on the next older kit I'm working on. I agree that some of those old decals look really thick compared to what's available today.

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If you want to be really paranoid cautious, make a color scan of the decal sheet before you start. Then if all else fails, you can print a new set on decal paper.

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Hey Rick,

 

The micro scale stuff works but in my opinion it's thick. I had used it on that old Otaki Spitfire I did and it is noticeable. Right now I am experimenting with Future over some old ones to see what happens. I'll know later today how it goes.

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Well, my results on this one are inconclusive. I can't say that there were any ill effects but the decals were really old and they never laind down on the edges. That probably says more about the decals than it does the Future overcoat. Other than that they laid down pretty well. I'll try to remember a close up photo later.

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Well, my results on this one are inconclusive. I can't say that there were any ill effects but the decals were really old and they never laind down on the edges. That probably says more about the decals than it does the Future overcoat. Other than that they laid down pretty well. I'll try to remember a close up photo later.

 

Hey Jim, Please bring that Spitfire to the next meeting. I would sure like to see the results. Thanks, Rick

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