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How Do I Keep My Decals From Lifting ?


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#1 moparfan

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 04:18 PM

Hi G & J,
I just got back into the hobby after many, many years away. I have read your Mag for about the past year now, and have picked up alot of valuable information. Going over the past year of issues, I have not come across the problem that I'm having with my decals. Heres how it went. After finishing the body with spray enamel, And letting it dry for about a week. I set about decaling. First I applied Micro-set to help in decal positioning, after I hit the right spot, I applied Micro-sol to help with the comforming and softening of the decal. After drying for an hour. I blotted the decals with water to remove the residual adhesive from the face of the decals. After another hour, I clear coated the body, with spray enamel. Now i am running into the problem of the decals lifting around the edges ( see attached pictures ). Any and all help will be greatly appreciated
Thanks for a Great Mag./ Keep up the good work..

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#2 Brendan

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 05:05 PM

There are some possible things you could do to help prevent this. First is to start trimming your decals; try to get it as close as you can to the printing. That way there is no edge to lift up. Second problem that could be occurring is that your paint is still not completely dry. Enamel paints can take months to completely cure. Third, you need to wait longer so that your decals are completely dry before you put on the clear coat. I usually give it 12-24 hours before I shoot my clear over my decals. Fourth is that you are using enamel clear which has a lot of solvent in it. The solvent could be lifting up the decals. Use a clear like Future Floor Polish which is an acrylic. Airbrush if possible, but I do know people who are able to brush it on and have good results. Another thing you could do instead of putting on a clear coat is to wax over your decals with a good car wax. The other problem is that your decals could be bad, which is not uncommon to have happen.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Brendan, 24 March 2008 - 05:11 PM.


#3 Zoom Zoom

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 05:09 PM

You didn't wait nearly long enough for the decals to thoroughly dry before clearcoating. You trapped residual moisture under the clear, thus causing the problem. There's not much you can do about it now.

As for how long to wait, if you don't force dry the decals with a dehydrator, I'd let them sit at least several days to be sure. Many clearcoats can damage decals if you don't apply it very slowly/carefully.

#4 Gregg

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 06:17 PM

Bob is correct.
I have had this happen before
I now wait at least a day
and always use the dryer

Thanks, Bob!

#5 moparfan

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 07:44 PM

Thank you for the help, I will let the decals dry longer. As i don't have an airbrush, is there any spray clearcoat that has worked well for anyone? Do I need a clearcoat over the decals, Or just go ahead and wax with an automotive wax ?
Again, thank you for the help

#6 Gregg

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 09:49 PM

If you cut the decals close to the art work, you don't need clear, in my humble opinion
I think that a lot of models look better without clear coats, depending on the model.
You don't see old race cars with miles-deep layers of clear over decals, now do you

Just my ten cents (inflation, sorry)

#7 Zoom Zoom

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 02:33 AM

Ditto what Gregg said. If the decals have a glossy enough finish, they'll look fine on the model w/o being buried in clear. Most decals represent vinyl stickers on a 1:1 car, and the vinyl doesn't have the same level of gloss as the surrounding paint. Some builders also do some of the major sections of decals and then clearcoat, and then add the smaller sponsor decals on top of the clear. If you want that clean "buried in clear" look, you have to have decals that are thoroughly dried, well-trimmed around the edges, and be able to mist-coat your clear in the first few coats. You might try to find Gunze/Mr. Hobby B-501 clear gloss, they're spray cans of a very durable clear that seems pretty mild on decals, it's like a super-strong version of Future in a can. You can also topcoat decals/paint with a nice wide, soft brush (a square cut watercolor brush is best) and Future floor coating (everyone calls it wax, it's not wax, it's clear acrylic). I personally prefer airbrushing clear over decals in thin coats, as spray cans shoot out too much paint too fast for my nerves to handle.

I've had good results polishing lightly over decals that aren't clearcoated. Obviously all the buffing to get the paint smooth was done before the decals were put in place. A light buffing of the decals is only needed to clean them up after application.