I tried laying down some older Monogram decals (coated with Microscale decal film)and things have gone very wrong. Initially I laid them in a drop of Future because my gloss coat wasn't all that glossy. The edges of the decal began a slight curl. Whilst in the midst of this application the thought occurred to use some sort of decal solution. Now I and everyone else knows that both the decal solutions are nothing more than watered down alcohol and vinegar. However, I couldn't remember which one did what. I added a drop of alcohol first which did a nice wrinkle job on the decal, which I thought would lay down eventually. I even tried rolling a Q-tip around to smooth it out. So I thought maybe the vinegar solution was the one to use instead (oops!), so I put on a couple drops of that. The end result was that the decal dried in the fetal position, and fogged over, along with fogging spots on the surrounding paint job (Future coat over Acrylic and enamel camo job). Our club is sponsoring the Region 5 show at the end of the month, and I need to get this (and others) done for the show. My modeling time is scarce--any fast and effective fixes, and what did I do wrong in the first place?
in article email@example.com, Mad-Modeller at firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 4/6/05 10:22 PM:
Timetraveler: I basically agree with Rufus and Bill: most Monogram decals are not worth the trouble, although I think some of their more recent sheets are not so bad. They've used a number of different decal production methods over the years. The worst stuff started appearing, I think, in the 80s: offset printed with a VERY glossy surface. They don't stay down well (edge curl city), they are impossible to make conform to surface details, and the colors are not very opaque. There were also a fair number of sheets formulated in such a way that ANY decal setting solution would ruin them. There's supposedly some way to tell from the serial number, but I can't remember it. My guess is that you stumbled onto some of THOSE decals, and I doubt they can be healed. What's your subject? Any aftermarket decals available?
Pip Moss I used to feel cheap 'cause I had no signature.
Ok, my bad. They weren't Monogram, but Revell, date unknown. They came from kit #H-220, a 1/72 P-38. This particular kit is marked as being from Brazil. Anyway, the kit I used the decals on was a Testors Weird-Ohs "Freddie Flameout". It needed something, and the decals weren't going to be used on the P-38, so.... Partof the problem may have been the decals themselves, but the other part of my question that was never answered was regarding decal solutions. I don't buy MicroSol and Solvaset because I see no point in spending the money for what are merely small bottles of vinegar and alcohol. This is my first attempt at using anything other than water, but I don't remember which one is for what. I had initially tried a drop of Future, followed rather quickly by a drop of Isopropyl alcohol because the decals were edge curling, and I thought the alcohol might make them lay out flat. That didn't appear to be working, so I tried a drop of vinegar. Still no luck, but the end result was a fogged Future clearcoat, and fogged and distorted decals. There's obviously a lesson to be learned here, but I need input from you guys.
in article email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org at email@example.com wrote on 4/10/05 5:36 PM:
First of all, at the risk of repeating myself, there are decals out there that any decal solution will ruin.
Second, at the risk of telling you what you already know (and leaving aside the question of whether or not your substitutes for setting and solvent solutions are part of your problem), the setting (vinegar) and solvent (alcohol) solutions serve two different purposes. Set is basically a wetting solution that you apply to the model's surface before the decal goes down; it's supposed to facilitate the decal's making close contact with and hence adhering to the model. Sol is applied on top of the decal once it's down to soften the film so that it'll lie down over and into surface textures. It's also good for air bubbles after you've punctured them with a pin or sharp knife.
IMHO, a commercial decal solvent will work better than alcohol because it evaporates quite a bit more slowly, thus giving it time to penetrate and soften the decal film before it dries up.
A couple of thoughts about the Future: the water and/or setting/solvent solutions will often cloud the Future, but it usually clears out as the moisture dries. Still, it's the main reason I don't use Future as a pre-decal gloss coat (although seemingly many modelers do). May we assume that you did glosscoat your model before applying the decals? If not, all bets are off for most any decals adhering properly.
One approach that does work well for decals that don't adhere well (hence edge curling) is to apply Future to the model as the wetting solution so that the Future acts as an added "glue." I believe some folks actually dip the decal in Future before applying it, for the same effect. Applying Future to the top of the decal probably isn't going to help it adhere -- it has to get between the decal and the model for that.
By the same token, applying setting and/or solvent solution on top of a badly adhering decal won't necessarily help it adhere; in fact it may simply dilute the decal's already insufficient adhesive.
Third, with no intent to be smugly superior, it's almost always a good idea to test your decals before you apply them because it's hard to predict how a particular sheet will behave. Take a decal you don't need to use and apply it to a spare piece of plastic.
Hope any of this rambling is useful. Pip Moss I used to feel cheap 'cause I had no signature.