Re: Decal setting solution options

Jim Betz

  I think the problems people are having are related as much to "process" as
they are to "products".  I will provide my methods for doing decals - this process
has never failed me.  Caveat up front - I do not use "thin film" decals - the
most delicate decals I have used are Microscale.

 1) I start with a surface that has been cleaned recently - please note I didn't
     say I "prepared the surface with some kind of gloss coat product" - as long
     as it is clean it's good enough for my methods.  I let the surface dry.
 2) I float the decal off of the backing in distilled water and pick it up using
     a #11 Xacto blade by pushing the side of the blade under the decal. 
     Some times I will 'coax' it off of the backing with the tip of the blade. 
 3) I transfer the decal to the model and very gently coax it from its "as close
     as possible when sliding it off to final position using the tip of the blade or
     some times the point of a straight pin.  This step often involves adding
     more distilled water to the decal.  I then use the corner of a 1/2" square
     piece of paper towel to - from the edge only - wick away any excess
     water.  I hold that piece of towel in some cross lock tweezers.  And let it
     dry - untouched.  Because I wick it - the drying time is usually between 15
     and 30 minutes tops.
 4) When it is dry I check the position - if it isn't where I want it ... I float on
      some distilled water, let that soak in for a couple of minutes, and position
      again, wick if necessary, and let it dry again. 
 5) When I'm happy with the position - and the decal is dry - I use the point of
      a straight pin (I like the ones that are about 2" long and have a round
      bead on them) and I tap, tap, tap everywhere there is decal to pierce
      the decal with -lots- of small pin pricks.  It is very important that this be
      done when the decal is dry.  (This is also how I clear up silvered decals
      on models I've purchased - by starting here at this step.)
 6) I now start applying Solvaset by floating a layer of it (think "a low bubble all
     across it") on top of the decal) and then following that up by wicking away
     any excess ... again using the corner of a 1/2" square of paper towel.
     and wicking off any extra.  Let it dry.  Repeat as necessary.  If an area
     silvers I re-prick (is that a word? *G*) the DRY decal before the next
     application of Solvaset.  It rarely takes more than 2 applications of
     Solvaset and if I've done the best job possible its only one.  Important -
     I never allow the Solvaset brush to come in contact with the surface.
     In order to do that I apply it by using my other hand under the hand
     with the Solvaset brush as a support that controls 'depth'.
 7) My next step is -always- to use distilled water to clean off any excess
     Solvaset ... to get rid of any 'shadow lines'.  Again I wick it - to reduce
     the drying time.  
 8) Final step is to over spray with the coating of choice for the day. 

  I have used this process for all of my decal work for all brands of
decals I've ever used.  I have never had problems with my decals
silvering or even being able to "see that they are there" (and not
inked lettering).  I routinely make badly silvered decals look good
by simply pricking and applying Solvaset.

  Many guys use other processes and/or other products.  This is
what "works for me".
                                                                                          - Jim B.

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