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DIY decal failure — why?

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  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
DIY decal failure — why?
Posted by Bobstamp on Thursday, October 13, 2022 9:02 PM

I have run into a challenge trying to apply wing walk decals to the wing roots of my TBM T-34E tanker. The first decals that came with the Hobby 2000 kit quickly deformed and the black ink “chipped” off, if something wet can “chip”. 

I soaked the decals as I always do, on top of a moist sponge, for a few seconds, and applied to the wing which I had moistened with Mark Fit. The decals resisted sliding off the paper, and instead wrinkled, tore, and were scuffed even with the gentlest possible work with brushes designed to move decals about.

I had scanned the Hobby 2000 decal sheet, so I printed a couple more at the same scale, using Kodiak white DIY decal paper. After drying the new DIY decals, I lightly sprayed them three times with Tamiya semi-glossy clear, letting the spray dry for a few hours each time. But once again, when I tried to apply the decals, they quickly became deformed, got wrinkled, and lost ink.

I’ve used DIY decals on each of the four models I’ve completed since becoming a “serious” adult model building. By comparison with these wing walk decals, those other decals were a snap. What am I doing wrong, if anything?

Bob

 

On the bench: A diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor), and a Pegasus model of the submarine Nautilus of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas fame. 

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Thursday, October 13, 2022 9:23 PM

And…I now think I know what the problem was (as outlined in my initial post, immediately above). I read in another post about this topic that Mark Fit could be used (as I knew it could be) to soften decals and help them conform to rivets and panel lines. I just assumed that Mark Fit was more effective than water in applying decals, but I think that's not the case. In any event, I just applied a DIY wing walk decal to a mule and it worked just fine. The learning curve continues!

Bob

On the bench: A diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor), and a Pegasus model of the submarine Nautilus of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas fame. 

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Friday, October 14, 2022 1:57 AM

Hello!

Sorry to hear about your problems!

I personally only use "decal chemistry" once the decal is on the model, for taking it off the paper I just use warm tap water. Now some decals are really tough, I mean they resist most of the chemicals - in such case Mark Fit might be OK for taking them off the paper. But with thin delcate decals Mark Fit will will just start to dissolve them while still on paper...

Good thing you got the scans - this takes a lot of stress out.

Good luck with your builds and have a nice day

Paweł

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

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Friday, October 14, 2022 6:31 AM

I concur with Pawel about what to use when you apply decals.  I have always just used water as well, until I am absolutely sure I have the decal where I want it.  Even the weaker setting solutions tend to soften the decal a little too much for my liking.  Only after they're in position on the model do I use any kind of setting solution or solvent on them.  For getting the decals separated from the paper, I have a shallow Gladware dish with a big sponge in it.  I just get the sponge soaking wet, and lay the decals (color side up) on top of the sponge.  The advantage to doing it this way is that you can lay out a whole bunch of decals on it, and it gives you all the time in the world to work with no deadline stress.  You can even stop in the middle for a day or two and your decals will still be ready to slide off the paper when you're ready to come back to them.  If you forget about them and everything dries out?  Not to worry, just put some water in the dish so the sponge gets wet again and your decals will be resurrected.

As for printing, I decided to try an HP Color Laserjet printer and decal paper made by Sunnyscopa.  Had to sort through a few duds as far as paper goes...even the Micromark laser decal paper was a non-starter.  The Sunnyscopa paper, combined with the toner (instead of ink) from the laser printer, allowed me to print decals and go right to putting them on the model without putting any kind of clear coat on them to seal them.  That paper is the only one I found that I was able to do that with.  It makes the whole process much easier, less time-consuming, and you also don't have to worry about the nasty goo you come up with sometimes if you accidentally put too much clear coat on your decal and it reacts badly to your setting agents.

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

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Friday, October 14, 2022 11:25 AM

Thank you, gentleman, for confirming my theory about the cause of my problem. I've been using the damp sponge technique that Paweł first suggested to me, but,obviously, I'll just be using plain, warm water from now on, for the initial application of decals, then using Mark Fit. M biggest problem in printing my own decals is the expensive Kodak decal film. The substrate is quite thick and usually jams my HP Officejet Pro 6978 printer on the first attempt to print.

Bob

On the bench: A diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor), and a Pegasus model of the submarine Nautilus of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas fame. 

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Saturday, October 15, 2022 8:03 AM

Bobstamp
Thank you, gentleman, for confirming my theory about the cause of my problem. I've been using the damp sponge technique that Paweł first suggested to me, but,obviously, I'll just be using plain, warm water from now on

Heh...now that you mention it, I think it was that previous thread where Pawel recommended that method to you that convinced me to try it.  I'll never go back to dipping them in water again.  Thanks Pawel! Balloons

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

  • Member since
    March 2022
  • From: Twin cities, MN
Posted by missileman2000 on Saturday, October 15, 2022 9:19 AM

I  have found decals getting thinner and thinner lately, especially the inkjet DIY films.  They distort even with setting solutions,  I now use only water (sometimes with a small drop of detergent in water).  They are so thin they usually go down pretty well.  The detergent is a wetting agent like setting solution, but weaker.  It helps get rid of air bubbles.

 

  • Member since
    July 2019
  • From: Vancouver, British Columbia
Posted by Bobstamp on Sunday, October 16, 2022 6:19 PM

I think that missileman2000 is correct. I finally succeeded in getting the wing walk panels affixed, but with each one, despite being handed as gently as possible, flecks of ink still came off, revealing the white colour beneath. I hope I can retouch them with some black acrylic paint applied with one of my brass "toothpicks".

Bob

On the bench: A diorama to illustrate the crash of a Beech T-34B Mentor which I survived in 1962 (I'm using Minicraft's 1/48 model of the Mentor), and a Pegasus model of the submarine Nautilus of 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas fame. 

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Thursday, October 27, 2022 1:01 PM

Ya Know!

         Many years ago I was having a problem. My Grandpa watched what I was doing. His comment set me on the path of easy decal placement in that day in 1952. His comment. "Them Kind of things work better with slightly warm water instead of cold!". "Leastwise that's the way we  do Decals at Bell Aircraft". he always worked two jobs. Post Office and Bell.

 

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