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Changing my mind about Solvaset

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  • Member since
    April 2020
Changing my mind about Solvaset
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 5:52 AM

A few months ago, I had sworn off of Solvaset because I had issues with it causing distortion in lines and text on decals, as well as making colors in the decals run.  This past week, I decided to give it another shot, using a different technique.  It works wonderfully now.  What I found that worked for me is to do my normal application of MicroSol to get the decals really well-adhered to the surface of the model, then apply the Solvaset to get everything to melt down into panel lines and around raised details like static wick bases.  I'm not sure, but I think the problem I was having before was because I was using it with no intermediate steps after applying the decal, and I think any liquid was still causing the decal to float.  I also did some experimentation last night with different combinations of clear coats.  I had applied Caracal 1/72 Scale CAS Vipers decals to my F/A-16B and was a little disappointed in how they looked.  Don't get me wrong, the detail and resolution on their decals is like nothing I have ever seen before...its fantastic.  The problem is that they are really thick...practically Tamiya-thick...so I still had very visible edges around them all, especially the tail codes and serial numbers on the tail.  What I found that worked extremely well for compensating for this thickness was to do an overcoat of Intermediate Gauzy Agent Shine Enhancer over the top of the decals, followed by two passes of Alclad Klear Kote Flat.  The decal edges are gone now, and the whole surface has a nice dead-flat finish to it.

Anyway, just thought I would share my change of heart on Solvaset, as well as the results of my clearcoating experiment  Thanks for reading.  Cool

"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: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 7:01 AM

Good to hear you've made peace with it. Big Smile

I tried the 'Micro system' by the book when I upped my game to real modeling back in the '70s...and after repeated examples (most with Micro Scale's own decals, I might add)...I was never very impressed. Seemed like a lot of dithering for mediocre results. Then one day at the tiny hole-in-the-wall LHS, I saw the last, literally dusty bottle of something called 'Solvaset' on the shelf -- with aged, slightly-sepia-tinted plastic bottle and a peeling label design that looked like it dated to the late '40s -- and asked the clerk/owner about it. He mumbled something about 'model railroaders'...and offered me 75% off, I'm sure just to get that last dusty bottle out of the place.

Sold.

(Hey, in 1970s money, that probably saved my poor high-school-student self a whole dollar! Yes)

Anyway, I took it home...dusted it off...and the stuff changed my life.

MicroScale decals slurped right down like shrink-wrap.

Stiff vinyl-looking Monogram decals would actually conform and adhere to a surface.

Even AMT and MPC kit decals -- which ordinarily had all the flexibility of sheet aluminum -- would...well, they'd do better. (I wasn't expecting miracles.)

When I joined IPMS and started reading their periodicals, I would see Solvaset mentioned...always with dire hand-wringing warnings, as though it were some sort of nuclear byproduct. Tales of decals (and paint finishes) melting like some Nazi's face in "Indiana Jones" were the rule. I eventually just assumed they'd changed the formula since my 1947 bottle, and that the new stuff was more like hydrochloric acid.

When my precious bottle was nearing empty, I checked the voluminous mail-order catalog for a well-known NYC-area hobby retailer, and was delighted to see it available to order. I got the new stuff (in a nice crystal-clear glass bottle, with snow-white label paper and laser-sharp printing) and...cautiously...tried it out.

It was the same docile and dependable stuff I'd first encountered...and it's all I've ever used since.

I will admit it is probably as 'hot' as other modelers have said it is...which to me just means it tends to work satisfyingly fast. Once applied, you can't do much poking or wrangling of the decal, but when you know that ahead of time you just work extra-patiently to make sure you've got your proverbial ducks in a row. You obviously can't leave the decal soaking in a big puddle of the stuff...but I would presume that to be the case for any such product.

What I typically do is put a drop of water on the model surface where the decal will go...lay the decal in it's proper position...then touch a drop or two of Solvaset to a corner, so capillary action will draw it both over and under the decal surface (and slightly dilute it at the same time). After about 30 seconds (or whatever seems right, watching the decal), I'll touch a cloth or tissue to a corner to wick away the excess, as the decal just sort of settles into position. As it continues to soften and settle, I'll occasionally use a damp cotten swab -- usually gently 'rolled' -- to nudge the decal down over lines of rivets or other surface features, as required.

After an hour or two, the decal will usually look 'snug'...but not that impressive. But almost always overnight, it will be drum-tight and conforming like paint. Any leftover bubbles or not-sucked-down areas can be pricked with a needle or scored with a new #11 blade, and re-treated.

Simple, elegant, and no drama. (And just as an FYI, I've used it on delicate laser-printed aftermarket decals and my own fairly delicate home-inkjet-printed ones, with the same success.) In the nearly half-century (gulp!) I've been using the stuff, I don't recall ever having had a decal melt or seriously deform when applied as outlined above.

Thank you for patiently enduring my Ted-Talk. Solvaset isn't bad or scary: it's just another tool you have to learn how to use, like an icepick, a chainsaw or a laser thermographer.

Thank you, and good night! Beer

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 7:54 AM

gregbale
I would see Solvaset mentioned...always with dire hand-wringing warnings, as though it were some sort of nuclear byproduct. Tales of decals (and paint finishes) melting like some Nazi's face in "Indiana Jones" were the rule.

Ha! Big Smile

I too am glad you got that sorted out, Eagle.

My experiences with Solvaset have been all good, except after GregBale's comment I sheepishly admit I usually use microsol first, then move on to the Solvaset if the decal doesn't settle to my satisfaction.

I've not found it necessary to use Microset first as a matter of practice, but maybe there is something to be said for your new method.

Edit: I just realized I confused things by adding a third product to the conversation. It's already hard-enough to keep Micro Set, Micro Sol, and Walther's Solvaset straight!

-Greg

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 8:25 AM

Greg

My experiences with Solvaset have been all good, except after GregBale's comment I sheepishly admit I usually use microsol first, then move on to the Solvaset if the decal doesn't settle to my satisfaction.

Nothing wrong with that at all. I'm a firm believer in sticking with whatever you've found will work the best. Yes

Greg

George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
 
  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 8:52 AM

I do pretty much as Greg does.  I keep both setting solution and solvent on bench.  I always use setting solution.  If that does not completely nestle the decal down, because of bends or rivets or grooves on surface, I then use the solvent.  I am very careful with the solvent- use as little as I can.  No touch afterward until several hours afterward.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 3:10 PM

Hello!

I like Solvaset, too - I've bought it from across the ocean one day when no other decal solution was working for me. I have also wondered what the big deal was about it being so deadly - burning decals and discoloring paint... Nah...

One thing to keep in mind, it's already been mentioned here - there is no one, standard decal chemistry, meaning you never really know what is going to work and how. For some decals a little of Sol is enough, some barely notice they are floating in Solvaset. The funniest are some Hasegawa's decals - if you leave them floating in decal solution they wrinkle and don't come back to normal, you have to use decal solution and remove it (for example with tissue) for the system to work like it should. Some decals even need something really atomic - lacquer thinner, this thing really can eat up paint or even plastic if you overdo it - but worked miracles on the decals for my Eduard Sherman painted with humbrols and future.

Another thing is that the decal solution do lose their strength with time - the bottle gets opened, moisture from the air gets in and thins the stuff, some other chemical reactions can also take place - so the contents change over time.

It's all very tricky and it is still like they say - decals can make or break a beautiful model!

Have a nice day

PaweĊ‚

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

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    January 2020
Posted by Space Ranger on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 4:48 PM

I wouldn't worry too much about seeing visible edges to your decals. Edges to markings on many aircraft are visible because they ARE decals!

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 4:56 PM

Space Ranger
I wouldn't worry too much about seeing visible edges to your decals. Edges to markings on many aircraft are visible because they ARE decals!

True for some of them, but they don't have large, clear, rectangular areas around them to help with registration and alignment.  Wink

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

  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 7:43 AM

If you clear coat the decals, this sort of rounds the edges, making them less visable. And in earlier days much of the markings were painted using stencils.

BTW, if you make your own white decals you will get a white edge- very thin but it is there. I touch this up with paint and toothpick end.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 12:18 PM

I gloss for decals, apply the decal and lightly press and blot all bubbles and air from the center out. Apply Solvaset lightly and let cure overnight. If for some reason I see any silvering then I use a new #11 blade and lightly use the blade tip to tap on the silvered area then add Solvaset again and problem solved. 
As for thick decals leaving steps, I brush on several coats of Future from the center out feathering away from the decal. I let it sit for a couple of days then lightly sand with 800 to 1000 grit pads feathering the area. Some clear flat is then sprayed and the step is gone. I did this on my Academy 1/25 Panther that had very thick decals.

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 1:24 PM

plasticjunkie
As for thick decals leaving steps, I brush on several coats of Future from the center out feathering away from the decal. I let it sit for a couple of days then lightly sand with 800 to 1000 grit pads feathering the area. Some clear flat is then sprayed and the step is gone. I did this on my Academy 1/25 Panther that had very thick decals.

I found that overcoating with that Gauzy Shine Enhancer with the airbrush accomplishes the same thing, with no sanding.  I was literally able to sit there and watch the decal edges disappear as the Gauzy did its self-leveling thing.  It was like magic.  Thanks for mentioning the results you got with it on your F-84, PJ.  Never would have tried the stuff otherwise.  They say it only takes 5-10 minutes to dry, but I gave it about an hour before putting the final Alclad Flat Klear Kote on the F/A-16B tail.  No decal edges.  Didn't need to gloss before the decals went on because almost all MRP paints cure to a semi-gloss finish, just for that purpose.  Cool

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

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 1:44 PM

Eaglecash867

 

 
plasticjunkie
As for thick decals leaving steps, I brush on several coats of Future from the center out feathering away from the decal. I let it sit for a couple of days then lightly sand with 800 to 1000 grit pads feathering the area. Some clear flat is then sprayed and the step is gone. I did this on my Academy 1/25 Panther that had very thick decals.

 

I found that overcoating with that Gauzy Shine Enhancer with the airbrush accomplishes the same thing, with no sanding.  I was literally able to sit there and watch the decal edges disappear as the Gauzy did its self-leveling thing.  It was like magic.  Thanks for mentioning the results you got with it on your F-84, PJ.  Never would have tried the stuff otherwise.  They say it only takes 5-10 minutes to dry, but I gave it about an hour before putting the final Alclad Flat Klear Kote on the F/A-16B tail.  No decal edges.  Didn't need to gloss before the decals went on because almost all MRP paints cure to a semi-gloss finish, just for that purpose.  Cool

 

That Gauzy is something else, great product.

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • From: Maryland
Posted by wpwar11 on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 6:37 PM

With Gauzy do you use any thinning agent?  I'm asking for the decal film removal result.

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 6:53 PM

wpwar11

With Gauzy do you use any thinning agent?  I'm asking for the decal film removal result.

 

No thinning. Goes on smooth as glass.

 GIFMaker.org_jy_Ayj_O

 

 

Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Wednesday, August 18, 2021 7:01 PM

wpwar11

With Gauzy do you use any thinning agent?  I'm asking for the decal film removal result.

 
Haven't had to thin it so far.  It does seem to have a bit of a tip dry problem, but I think its just because I might be shooting it at too high a pressure (currently 20 PSI with a #1/#3 needle and #1 air cap on my Paasche H).  As long as I keep the airbrush puffing between pieces though, it does fine.  I think once I learn more about how to use it, I won't have the tip-dry issue anymore.  From the smell of it though, I would have to say without a doubt that its alcohol-based.  AK Interactive says of their Glass Coat, which is a similar product, that it can be removed from canopies by soaking in alcohol.  I imagine that Gauzy is the same, so it could be thinned with alcohol like Tamiya acrylics.

"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 Wednesday, August 18, 2021 7:19 PM

Thanks 

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