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Using Alclad Aqua Gloss for Clearcoating Before Applying Decals

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  • Member since
    April, 2008
Using Alclad Aqua Gloss for Clearcoating Before Applying Decals
Posted by Kizzy on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 4:56 PM

I recently picked up a 4 oz. bottle of Alclad ALC-600 "Aqua Gloss" and am looking for some advice on airbrushing this product for a pre-decal clear coat.  My understanding is that this is a water-based acrylic, similar to Future.  I have used Future in the past, but am wondering if this product might work better for me.

A couple of questions:

1) Will the Aqua Gloss, since it is water-based, be safe to use over my acrylic base color coats?  I use only Tamiya and MM acrylics.  I would assume yes, but wanted to be sure.

2) Is it best to spray the Aqua Gloss direct from the bottle, with no thinning?

3) What air pressure and distance do you recommend?  I am using a Paasche H external mix, single action airbrush.

4) How long does it take for the Aqua Gloss to cure before it is ready for decals?

5) Will setting solutions (Microset, Microsol) affect it?

6) After decaling, I intend to use Tamiya XF-86 acrylic flat clear as a final matte coat.  Will this be OK and not harm the Aqua Gloss underneath?

Any other advice or suggestions are welcome.

Thanks in advance!

-Kizzy

 

 

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 7:53 PM

Aqua Gloss is a great product and will be safe to use over the above mentioned paints. Spray it straight from the bottle at 20-25 psi and flood it one heavy, just before it starts to run. It dries fast so watch for tip dry and have a cotton bud dipped in rubbing alcohol handy. No need to shake or stir the bottle. Don't let it freeze. Tamiya XF 86 does not react with it. I'd wait a minimum of 24 hours to decal over it and it stands up to all setting solutions. 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 8:19 PM

Thanks Nathan!  That's what I was hoping to hear.

So you would advise against building it up with light coats, and just go with one quick heavy coat? Is this to avoid it pebbling?

Also approx. how far away from the model do you usually shoot it?

-Kizzy

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 8:54 AM

That just happens to be my particular method of airbrushing gloss coats. You'll have to experiment on a scrap model to find out what works best for you. I usually hold the airbrush 3-4 inches away for this kind of work. 

Oh one more thing: lacquer clear coats over Alclad Aqua Gloss can cause cracking. I don't know what you plan on thinning the XF-86 flat clear with but you'd have to use Tamiyas own X-20A thinner. 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 3:22 PM

Thanks for the good info, I will certainly do some tests first.  I usually like to build up layers very gradually when airbrushing paint, but realize that may not be the best approach with clear.   So will experiment.

And yes I am planning to thin the XF-86 with X-20A.  Do you have a preferred ratio for that?  I have read it is best to go on the thin side, like 1:1 or even as much as 1:3 XF-86 to thinner, to avoid frosting.

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 4:50 PM

Kizzy

And yes I am planning to thin the XF-86 with X-20A.  Do you have a preferred ratio for that?  I have read it is best to go on the thin side, like 1:1 or even as much as 1:3 XF-86 to thinner, to avoid frosting.

 

Well you don't want too much thinner, I'd say about 1:1 to start. I normally use Windsor and Newton satin Varnish for my final clears, so I'm a bit rusty on my ratios for XF-86...

 

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 5:40 PM

Thanks again, will give it a go.  Looking forward to trying out the Aqua Gloss as an alternative to Future.  Have never been able to get a consistently smooth result from airbrushing Future, no matter what combination of distance, PSI, thinning, etc. I have tried.  Sometimes it lays down almost like glass, other times I get a pebbly finish.  I know a lot of modelers love it, but it's just too finicky and unpredictable for my taste.  And since I'm spraying it on top of Tamiya acrylics, I can't simply use Windex or alcohol to remove it if it doesn't come out right, as that will also strip the Tamiya paint underneath.

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Austin, TX
Posted by smeosky on Friday, January 13, 2017 11:43 AM

Hey Kizzy,  I too like to build up fine and light layers of clear coat or paint in most applications. I also had consistency issues w Future, espcially if it was un thinned. It would end up being too pebbly.  

Everything I have researched says to do the same with Aqua Gloss, thin consistent layers. I just recently started using it for the first time and it simply goes down glas smooth. I tried a thicker application going at about 15 psi and it seemed to pool up FAST in one spot. i thought Id ruined the whole finish but it just layed down and dried to a nice eggshell sheen and blended in perfectly. If you want a very glossy finish it seems it will take several coats. Whatever the case, be careful, it will pool up fast! All in all, amazing stuff AND it doesn't seem to tarnish an Alclad NMF at all either. Good luck!

steve

  • Member since
    January, 2014
Posted by Silver on Friday, January 13, 2017 12:33 PM

Alclad glosses remain tacky.If you intend to add a final coat of gloss.An acrylic flat as final is fine also.Intermediate " Gauzy "agent "Shine Enchancer" is to my opinion the best gloss.Dries to a hard non- tacky shine and works well w/ all decal setting solutions.Also dries fast within a short 2min .

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Friday, January 13, 2017 2:40 PM

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the advice!  I have read only good things about the Aqua Gloss, and it's reassuring to know it is forgiving.  Hoping to try it out this weekend.  For my current build I'm only looking for enough of a gloss coat for decals, as I'm going to finish up with a coat of matte on top.  But I'll certainly be mindful not to let it pool.  I usually keep my airbrush moving fast and light enough to keep that from happening.

Have you experienced any of the "cracking" that Nathan suggested could happen when overcoating with lacquers?  This would obviously preclude the use of something like Testors Dullcote on top of it.

Also what do you normally use to clean it out of your airbrush?

-Kizzy

 

 

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Austin, TX
Posted by smeosky on Friday, January 13, 2017 3:19 PM

I have not yet applied a clear coat on top of the Aqua gloss. Im using it as a local decal sealer on my NMF P-38. I know there was never a problem applying Testors dullcoat (laquer) on top of Future. I thought i've read that its not a problem with Aqua Gloss either so long as you let it cure long enough. Sorry i cant give you a straight answer but Im pretty sure you may find it in this thread on Brit modeller. They discuss it a number of times on their forums

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/71507-aqua-gloss/ 

Try it out on a test piece first. Id be very surprised if there was an issue though

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Friday, January 13, 2017 3:46 PM

Great thread, thanks.  What do you usually use to clean the Aqua Gloss from your airbrush?  Just flush with water and/or isopropyl alcohol?

As for matte overcoats, I've been researching the Winsor & Newton Matt Varnish that Nathan mentioned.  Seems to get equally good reviews as the Aqua Gloss, and plays nicely with it.  Might give that a go as well.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Northern New Jersey
Posted by Tojo72 on Friday, January 13, 2017 7:45 PM

I clean the Aqua Gloss with Tamiya Lacquer thinner,overkill I'm not sure.Some have said windex.

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Austin, TX
Posted by smeosky on Friday, January 13, 2017 10:56 PM

I clean up the aqua gloss with water then iso alcohol.  Don't let it sit in the airbrush for long,  acrylic clear coats can gum up things fast. If that happens then laquer thinner will be your best bet.  

Very curious to hear more about this W&N matte varnish.  I use Vallejo matte varnish for an acrylic varnish.  Definitely want to use light coats on most satin varnishes.  This Vallejo stuff can give you white hazing if you get too much on.  Let us know how the W&N stuff works out if you go that direction! 

Steve

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Friday, January 13, 2017 11:14 PM

Will do.  I just ordered a bottle of the W&N Acrylic Matte Varnish today.  There are a few threads about it here on FineScale, and several more on britmodeller.  Many report it's the best flat varnish they've ever used.  Supposed to spray easily and reliably and give a nice finish in just a few light to medium coats, similar in effect to the Aqua Gloss.  I'm always open to trying something new.  Nothing worse than frosting over your model at the last stage of clearcoating.  -Kizzy

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 4:08 PM

 I have built a number of Hasegawa kits. I find that their decals are very matt in finish and carrier film really stand out against natural metal finishes (Check out the USAF decal below) . I have not had this problem with Revell decals. I have tried using Future before applying the decals and the matt film still is too obvious. Are there any products that I can paint the decals with to make them shiny? Or, is there an aftermarket decal that would work?

John

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 9:05 AM

Two possibilities.  One, for the large letter USAF, you can trim a lot of the decal away before wetting and applying it.

Also, those black and clear decals are easy to do with inkjet decals.  You have to clearcoat inkjet decals with a clearcoat.  So I clearcoat ones to go over NMF with with a gloss clearcoat.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    March, 2015
Posted by JohnnyK on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 10:41 AM

I have not tried inkjet decals, but I will give it a try.

Are these the products that you still use?

  • Testors clear decal paper
  • Testors  decal bonder
  • Testors gloss clearcoat

John

 

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Austin, TX
Posted by smeosky on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 3:08 PM

I've always wanted to make my own decals, but w the ones your pointing to there I think you'd be better off w aftermarket decals. Eaglecals, Microscale, there are SO many out there to chose from. Most AM decals go on so much nicer and as long as you have a reasonable smooth gloss surface you will rarely see the backing film. Nothing wrong at all w making your own, I just think for you in this case youd save a good amount of time and probably cost the same.

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Sunday, January 29, 2017 8:24 PM

Finally had a chance to experiment with the Alclad Aqua Gloss and Winsor & Newton Matt Varnish.

First, the Aqua Gloss.  I followed the instructions and sprayed it straight from the bottle with no thinning.  I started off at around 23 PSI through my Paasche H.  I was spraying at a fairly close distance, maybe 3 inches away.  I began by trying to do light mist coats, but I found that it was leaving a pebbly finish.  So, I lowered the PSI to about 20 and increased the flow at my airbrush tip to lay it on a bit heavier.  I also started spraying a little closer, like perhaps 2 inches away.  What seemed to work best is to lay it on pretty heavy, just to the point before it starts to run/pool.  It looks uneven when wet, but when it dries, it levels out pretty nice.  I'm going to do a few more tests, possibly at a little lower PSI, but overall I'm much happier with the result than I have been with airbrushing Future.

As for the Winsor & Newton Matt Varnish, I love this stuff.  Following recommendations I had seen elsewhere, I thinned it 20% with distilled water, and sprayed it at about 20 PSI at a distance of maybe 3 inches.  It covered quickly and smoothly, and dried fast to a very consistent, dead flat finish.  Very easy to use, and cheap.  The 75 ML bottle costs about 5 bucks and should last a while.

I want to experiment some more with the Aqua Gloss before committing it to my model, but so far I was pretty impressed with the result I was getting.  It was certainly smooth enough for decal work, if not a perfect mirror gloss.

-Kizzy

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Monday, January 30, 2017 9:23 AM

JohnnyK

I have not tried inkjet decals, but I will give it a try.

Are these the products that you still use?

  • Testors clear decal paper
  • Testors  decal bonder
  • Testors gloss clearcoat

John

 

 

I do not use Testors inkjet paper, or decal bonder.  I do use Testors Glosscoat or dullcoat, depending on the effect I want.

I use Micro Mark decal paper, and Micro Scale setting solution, and only in extreme cases Micro Scale solvent.  Solvent is the nuclear option- try setting solution, and only if you have problems go to solvent.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Monday, January 30, 2017 1:46 PM

Looking again this morning at the parts that I sprayed last night with the Aqua Gloss, it appears that the finish improved overnight as it dried/cured.  When I had finished airbrushing, the surface looked slightly grainy, and remained that way for a few hours afterwards up until the time I went to sleep.  However, this morning the finish looks much smoother, with virtually no pebbly texture or imperfections.  It looks very similar in appearance to the way Future can look when it is brushed on, i.e. a smooth and even coat, but without any danger of leaving brush marks.   I still plan to practice a bit more, perhaps at a slightly lower PSI (in the 15-18 range), but am encouraged that even on my first attempt I was able to get a good result.  Thumbs up!

As for the W&N Galeria matte varnish, still very impressed.  Left a dead flat finish without any frosting.  Only caveat is that a little seems to go a long way.  Probably best to lay on thin coats one at a time until the desired effect is achieved.  I can see how it would be easy to lay down more than is needed, possibly obscuring surface detail.  They also have a satin varnish available, if your desired effect is not dead flat.

-Kizzy

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Tuesday, February 07, 2017 3:35 PM

I've experimented more with the W&N Galeria Matt Varnish and wanted to share my findings.  When I first tested it, I thinned it about 4:1 with distilled water.  Since then, I've found I get much better results thinning about 3:1 with Tamiya X-20A.  I spray it at 20-22 PSI through my Paasche H with the #1 tip, at a distance of maybe 3 to 4 inches.  What seems to work best with this stuff is to lay it on in several very light passes, applying it similar to how you would with paint.  As with any clear it helps to have a good light source so you can see the reflection of the clear as it is laying down (it looks glossy when wet).  By applying it in thin layers, you can end up with a very smooth, consistent matt finish, and one that will not obscure surface detail.  Highly recommended!

-Kizzy

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Saturday, February 11, 2017 9:46 AM

I use Aqua Gloss all the time and a single coat is not enough. Several light coats are needed to build up the shine. I do not like to pool on the product which can lead to runs. The pebbly look will go away because it's self leveling and dries quick too. I find that it sprays out smoother than Future.

For cleaning I flush the AB with plenty of water, winded and finally some lacquer thinner for good measures. The LT will flush out any remaining AG. 

Experimentation like you did is the best method to get comfortable  with a new product.

  • Member since
    April, 2008
Posted by Kizzy on Saturday, February 11, 2017 6:08 PM

The more I've practiced with the Aqua Gloss, the more I like it.  After several tries, I'm finding that 20PSI at a distance of about 3 inches is the best for my setup.  The trick is to flow enough of it on so that it goes on moderately wet, but (obviously) not so much that it runs or pools up.  As others have said, it helps to keep the airbrush moving quickly as you do this, taking careful note of the reflectivity in the light to help determine how much you've sprayed on.  It seems to take approx. three light to medium-ish coats, spaced perhaps 5 minutes apart, to get a smooth, gloss finish.  Fortunately, it's fairly forgiving if you go a little too heavy, as it does level off pretty well, especially after being left alone to dry overnight.

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