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Decal Dilemma

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  • Member since
    March 2020
Decal Dilemma
Posted by Jimko46 on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:14 PM


I’m an elderly and inexperienced new modeler with a pre-built Tamiya Beaufighter that I purchased a couple of years ago.  The model is detailed quite nicely, I think, with panel lines, slight weathering, etc.

But, the decals, I’ve realized, are not well applied and by that I mean that the placement is fine but they do not flow into panel lines or show any other detail under them and basically ‘sit on top’.

So, I’m requesting any suggestions or advice.

Is there a way to apply anything over these decals that will make them form to the model detail that is under them?

Or, is the only option to remove them and reapply new decals using one of the products that allows the decals to conform properly to the surface details?

I was told that the paints on the model are acrylics.

Thanks in advance for any help!


  • Member since
    October 2019
Posted by KenK01 on Monday, March 23, 2020 1:47 PM

My guess would be that you will probably have to remove the decals and start over with them. But, at this point I don't think you have much to lose by trying some other options first. Pick one of the decals that would be easiest to replace for testing. Brush a decal setting solution on it, and see what happens. If that does not work, try something stronger on it like Microsol and see what happens. If in fact the paints used on the model were all acrylics, including the clear finish coat, you might be able to carefully use something like Windex on a small brush to remove the finish on just the decal, then use the setting or softening agents to get the decal to settle. But if you get the Windex on the paint itself, it may damage it. I'm far from an expert on decals, but since no one else seems to have come up with any ideas for you, I thought I'd throw these suggestions out to you. Good luck.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Monday, March 23, 2020 4:24 PM

Older kit Tamiya decals were pretty thick. I wouldn't try to take them off.

A little improvement would be to take a razor blade and cut through the decal along any panel lines, and take a pin and poke holes where they doen't sit flat over raised bumps. Then dab on some Micro Sol in those areas.

I'd start with a decal in a place where you can live with a mess, like underside of the wing.

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Monday, March 23, 2020 6:13 PM


Should the decal solutions fail, you could try to remove the decals with a so-called glass fiber pen - electronics stores carry them for cleaning up printed circuit boards and so on. This pen allows you to remove the decals layer by layer, so to say - and then you could apply aftermarket decals on top of the same places hiding the damage that might happen to the paint underneath. With roundels and the likes this should just work fine. could be a little worse with the lettering - this might require some touch up. Anyhow - good luck and please post some photos! Have a nice day


All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 10:03 AM

If the decals are old and not clear coated, masking tape may take them off.  In fact if not clear coated, decal solvent may still work.  Try it and if not, then try to slit it and remove the decal as a last resort.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2016
Posted by lowfly on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 11:19 AM

Just to add to all the others.  It really depends on whether the previous modeler clear coated the kit after applying the decals.  If they did not i would something strong like solvaset to try and get those thick decals to conform.  Otherwise you can try to carefully cut the decal to conform to the panel lines and such. Good luck and let us know what worked.  


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