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Your Hardest, Most Difficult Job (Does the description start with a D ?)

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Your Hardest, Most Difficult Job (Does the description start with a D ?)
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, May 16, 2022 8:59 AM

Hi, Ya'll:

     I am going to talk today about Decals. They can make or break many model's appearance.Or break the Modelers heart, Right? I remember back in the day the heavy, many times, off register Airline Decals. The old Revell Airliners ( American and United) come to mind. They even had clear window spots that were supposed,(Notice I said Supposed) to line up with the molded window depressions in the fuselage. I think I only ever got one correct!

    Now fast forward to the late Sixties. I bought my first Large(1/48 scale) F-16. I think it was Tamiya (I could be wrong) and tried to put the Thunder Birds decals on it. Can you say absolute disaster? So I took lessons from a car painter and went to the local H.S. and bought my first Badger A.B. and Compressor. Yeah, I struggled through masking according to patterns made by a Buddy, Stationed at L.R.A.F.B. (a SAC base at the time)

      A lot better but I still wish I had gotten those Decals right! On to Armor, I built my first Stug111 about that time. Used the side of a Hacksaw for texturing and put Spackling Compound on it for Zimmerit! Guess What? I would up hand painting those markings, because the decals wouldn't stick without Silvering! Gees, How do I up my game here, Huh? Hmmm. Setting Solution,That's something new. I think I will try it. The next model was the Bismark with those Swaztikas on the bow decks.

      Hey, that setting stuff worked great! With a false sense of being able to do it right, I did the Number 3 Dale Earnhardt (The Intimidator) Nascar vehicle. WOW, I did it! I must've jumped for joy! Not only did the decals come out right, but, they didn't melt under clearcoat! ( I didn't like using Future and that's another story!).

      I recently did over fifty five hours work on a 1900s era heavyweight, U.P. Passenger car in H.O.Scale. I put on these very intense Decals. Used setting solution, Put them on gloss, and they stuck down just fine.  Then I sprayed the recommended Semi-Gloss Clear. Well, wouldn't you know half the decals melted. Had to strip and start over. I have, it seems a love /hate relationship with Decals. How about you? Let's hear your side, Okay? 

  

  • Member since
    January 2021
Posted by PFJN2 on Monday, May 16, 2022 12:19 PM

Phew, for a second there I was afraid this was going to be a post about "do-it yourself home dentistry" Indifferent

  • Member since
    May 2011
  • From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posted by Real G on Monday, May 16, 2022 1:19 PM

Well, a lot of us have optivisors, dental tools and a Dremel, so...

As Steve Martin said in "Little Shop of Horrors"- "They don't make 'em like this anymore.  Big.  Heavy.  Dull."

Most difficult part of modeling?  Dragging myself out to airbrush.

“Ya ya ya, unicorn papoi!”

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Monday, May 16, 2022 2:55 PM

Decals are the worst.  Hats off to anybody that gets a great result.  The frustrating part for me is how unpredictable they are.  I can have the same surface, the same solutions, the same method and decals will respond differently.  Sometimes decals even on the same sheet.  I'm been spraying insignia and such to avoid decals.  HGW wet transfers are also a preferred option.  

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Monday, May 16, 2022 4:36 PM

Shhhh...nobody says the "D" word.  I'm just about to start on all of the placards and markings on an early Marine Corps Phantom.  There are literally HUNDREDS of them.  Bang Head

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Monday, May 16, 2022 7:32 PM

Eagle will you really put on every single decal/placard?  I'll typically leave off some of the bottom ones.  God bless you.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Monday, May 16, 2022 7:55 PM

That's the plan, Paul.  I'll just take it one step at a time...like a minefield.  I'm actually kinda enjoying sweating the details on this one.  Speaking to your observations about quality and inconsistencies in decals, I have to say that I have come across a brand of custom decals that haven't been like that so far.  I thought I liked the Two Bobs stuff for my F-16CJ, but I'm REALLY liking the Furball Aero decals I got for my F-4B.  Got the USMC Rhinos set, along with their F-4B placard set.  They're all amazingly high resolution, super thin, yet strong and flexible.  Just started applying the big ones to the fuselage tonight and even the edges of the HUGE "MARINES" stencils on the sides are barely visible, with no clear coat applied yet.  The stars and bars on the sides of the intakes also look painted on.  Its good stuff.  Heh...it also helps that I finally learned a good technique for using Solvaset without cooking my decals.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 4:46 AM

I guy named  Geoff Martin owns and operates Furball decals not far from me in MD.  He's a sponsor of the Modelgeeks podcast.  The 4 geeks are in my modeling club in Southern, Md.  I never heard of Furball until I started to listen to those guys.  They obviously speak highly of the product.  I haven't had the chance to use them as my last couple and current subjects aren't carried by Furball.  I do have a ZM Phantom, a couple of F14's, and an F18 in the stash and look forward to giving Furball a go.

Two Bobs are good.  I did have a problem with the large weasel decal on my Wild Weasel F16 (I remember you built the same Viper).  The others went on with no hassle.  I just tried Techmod decals and they were terrible 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 5:41 AM

I really like decaling A/C especially when you put those first markings on,they really bring your build to life.My AMK Mig 31 probably was my biggest job,with all of the placards,it took a few days,not to mention the 10 or so each of the 8 missiles had.The deck markings for my Akagi were no joke either.

My biggest struggle however is with weathering armor,have a hard time finding the sweet spot between too much or too little.

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 5:50 AM

Tojo

Im currently building the AMK MiG 31.  I like how the missiles are a lovely one piece design.  The cockpit just slides into that nose piece.  Mine has been going together pretty well.  I did have a small problem with the upper and lower fuselage assembly.  I think the landing gear bays or the engine trunks weren't installed into the lower section properly.  A few clamps fix the problem.  Yeah, I can't wait to get to decals on that one.  There are several.

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 6:40 AM

wpwar11
I guy named  Geoff Martin owns and operates Furball decals not far from me in MD.  He's a sponsor of the Modelgeeks podcast.  The 4 geeks are in my modeling club in Southern, Md.  I never heard of Furball until I started to listen to those guys.  They obviously speak highly of the product.  I haven't had the chance to use them as my last couple and current subjects aren't carried by Furball.  I do have a ZM Phantom, a couple of F14's, and an F18 in the stash and look forward to giving Furball a go.

The four big ones on the left side turned out really nicely, and I have started to use the damp sponge technique for getting the decals wet.  That's been a huge time saver.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 11:56 AM

wpwar11

Tojo

Im currently building the AMK MiG 31.  I like how the missiles are a lovely one piece design.  The cockpit just slides into that nose piece.  Mine has been going together pretty well.  I did have a small problem with the upper and lower fuselage assembly.  I think the landing gear bays or the engine trunks weren't installed into the lower section properly.  A few clamps fix the problem.  Yeah, I can't wait to get to decals on that one.  There are several.

 

Make sure that you dry fit the burner cans,I had some fit issues there.

  • Member since
    August 2016
Posted by Keyda81 on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 3:31 PM

I've certainly had my struggles with decals.  If they even look questionable I'll either buy an aftermarket sheet, or scan and attempt to reprint them.  But sometimes even then I've had things go differently each time, and it's not fool proof.  One of my biggest issues sometimes is finding decals I want.  For example with my Mini Whiskey 7's.  I could find a sheet that had the insignias, and enough numbers to piece together the tail code.  But nothing for the R on her tail, or the W7 on the fuse.  That W is more of a pain than you would think.  I've done it making a masking tape mask, and it came out alright.  But recently I've ventured into making masks with my Cricut.  The only difficult part of that is making things the right side.  I've even been able to make the insignia masks.  So now I don't have to rely on decals anymore, I just cut masks with the Cricut out of removable vinyl.  Slap it on, paint, and peel it off.  So much easier.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Tuesday, May 17, 2022 3:47 PM

Keyda81

        Hello! Hey, all the replies so far have been what I figure. Now on aircraft, I have been lucky. So far only phlubbed one job! Vallejo Clear over the finish, Decal, then put on an overcoat of their Gloss or Semi Gloss. I never realized how many statistical decals are on An 1/32, F-15 Strike Eagle. Well, I will be waiting for more replies from the crew.Nice talking to ya agin!

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