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Can I sand down my lacquer clear coats over decals?

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  • Member since
    June 2020
Can I sand down my lacquer clear coats over decals?
Posted by JimLo on Saturday, June 20, 2020 7:54 PM

I airbrushed two coats of lacquer clear over my model van which has decals on it. Can I sand it with fine sand paper and then using rubbing compound on it? Or is it too thin and I risk ruining the decals? I can still see the decal edges, I just want to get the shine better. I think I airbrushed the clear too thick and can see texture in some areas even though I used Mr. Color leveling thinner with the Mr. Color lacquer clear. Or should I just use some compound on it ? Thanks. 

  • Member since
    April 2009
  • From: Longmont, Colorado
Posted by Cadet Chuck on Sunday, June 21, 2020 5:36 AM

I think there is an extremely high chance of ruining your decals.  Unless you can get a spare set of replacement decals, I don't think you should attempt this.  If you do try anything, I would suggest a very mild abrasive, such as toothpaste, and lots of patience.  Good luck!

Computer, did we bring batteries?.....Computer?

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Sunday, June 21, 2020 5:50 AM

As Chck says, go with somthing very mild. I think i would only use polishing cloths on it which have a very fine grit.

''I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so''

On the bench: Revell 1/72nd Type VIIc U-Boat

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: State of Mississippi. State motto: Virtute et armis (By valor and arms)
Posted by mississippivol on Sunday, June 21, 2020 9:34 AM
It wouldn't hurt to add more coats, too. Lacquer coats go on very thin.
  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Sunday, June 21, 2020 11:14 AM

I wouldn't go stronger than about 4 or 5000 grit, and then with a very light touch.  Take one quick pass and examine surface with magnifier.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Sunday, June 21, 2020 12:42 PM

If you're trying for the look of the decal art to be buried under the clear then keep going lol !! In custom work you need to build in layers and lightly scuff between coats. Actually two coats is a good start towards about 6 or even more if they go on thin. Again, let dry, very lightly scuff, then the next double coat etc. Eventually you will get to that point where you can buff it up to a nice clear polished finish. Course it helps if you used a decal solvent after laying on the decals so they lay down as absolutely flat and thin as possible.

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, June 22, 2020 7:52 AM

I fade decals by airbrushing a very light coat of the paint I used under the decal.  If it is over camouflage, however, I use white to represent chalking.  Certainly a case of less is more, however- go very light.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Monday, June 22, 2020 10:49 AM

I guess about now it would be wise of us to ask just what effect it is you want to occomplish. Since we're here handing off techniques but not really knowing the result you want. The information given is you decaled a van. Well there are all kinds of vans out there, so maybe shoot us a message as to what it is you are doing. Camo, custom, military, civilian etc.....

  • Member since
    June 2020
Posted by JimLo on Monday, June 22, 2020 1:53 PM
Hi It’s a custom 70’s van with retro decals and flames. I want the decals to look painted on so it shouldn’t show decal edges. I want to be able to polish the clear coat a little ultimately. I think I’ll test Wet-sand a small section of the decal with 2000 grit sand paper to see how it does and then apply two or three more coats of lacquer clear over it and hopefully it will be smooth enough for me to use compound and then wax over it.
  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Monday, June 22, 2020 2:46 PM

JimLo
Hi It’s a custom 70’s van with retro decals and flames. I want the decals to look painted on so it shouldn’t show decal edges. I want to be able to polish the clear coat a little ultimately. I think I’ll test Wet-sand a small section of the decal with 2000 grit sand paper to see how it does and then apply two or three more coats of lacquer clear over it and hopefully it will be smooth enough for me to use compound and then wax over it.
 

Ok, well keep the sanding light not much down pressure. I suspect you will find my other post somewhat accurate. I'll be surprised if a single sanding and recoat is sufficient but ya never know. Let us know how you make out. We all learn through these kinds of events !!

I buried decals on a dragster model using enamel. Won't do that again. It looked beautiful right up till the clear coat yellowed over some years time.. That model should be around here someplace but I seem to have lost it. It's 40 or so years old now where ever it is. Of course all FWIW.

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