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Clear over decals - whats the trick?

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I do not have a good track record for clear over decals. On this '49 I waited a full week for the decals to set, and then cleared. Three coats - two mist, one wet, 15 minutes apart. The decals wrinkled after the first wet coat. It was Testors One Coat White Lightning and Wet Look Clear. I was crushed as the model was looking so good. 

In this second instance it was just one coat of Testors Dull Coat and only one decal of many, wrinkled. The BB/G decal wrinkled and the rest were fine.

So whats the trick? Star alignment? None of the decals were very old. I always allow plenty of time for the decals to set and the base coat is well gassed out. I have another project currently on the bench where I want to do a serious polishing job on, with decals. So that means the decals must be buried in the clear. I'd really appreciate some advice. And before you go there, I'm not air brushing yet. I still need a compressor. I'm planning on using Testors One Coat again. The paints lay down super nice straight from the rattle can. Thanks.

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I always paint a plastic spoon, cut out part of a decal you don't need and clear that as a test, 

Some clears are hotter than others.

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I've always had good results when using Duplicolor clearcoat (over lacquer paints) when clearing over decals.  Several light coats about 10 minutes apart, then a slightly heavier coat at the end.  

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You might let the mist coats dry longer before the wet. Also I've seen issues where the clear reated to only the white you might try future I've never heard of issues with it.

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Rob sounds to me like its the Solvents in paint that is causing the decals to clear. I had this happen to me recently and my usual thing to do is to mist the first couple of coats over the body and decals before I got into a heavier coat. Now keep in mine I am shooting Automotive Clear (typically PPG DCU2020 or Omni Plus Urethane's) over my stuff. I never had any trouble in the past with it. Except my issue recently and it was due to putting too heavy of a coat on at first for me. I would try waiting a little longer between coast to let the solvents flash off. You could also put the body under a head lamp, Now not to close so that you don't melt the body but enough that its a little warmer to help the paint dry a little quicker.

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Here is a little hint for you.  When you make your own decals on a inkjet printer, they give you a fixative to spray over the decal.  That fixative is most often a fast drying lacquer.  You can clear coat with just about anything as long as you go very light and let it dry.  10 minutes is not enough.  Over night for lacquers is about right.  One very very light coat then another and build up about three light coats.  That way the solvent in your final coats will not dissolve the top coats and cause them to wrinkle.   Be patient.  If you get in a hurry trouble will follow. 

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Thanks Pete, very descriptive and on the mark. I will follow that recipe. 

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I have yet to have a decal wrinkle with lacquer clear coat, I think it has a LOT to do with the amount of time applying the decal, let those suckers have the decal set till they lay.. I MEAN literally, keep soaking them till you are SURE they're there to stay! ANY AIR under then has to go! That milky look IS air............. Once you have that gone hit them one more time with the decal set to be SURE its gone as that air, is what causes the wrinkle under the decal and clear coat..... Then, allow to AIR DRY 24 hours once you know the decal is on there air bubble free, and over-coat with lacquer clear and your good to go...... adding decals to DULL or flat surfaces, is difficult, use a gloss paint where applicable for decal adhesion.... OR gloss coat the paint in the area the decal will go.... That will help A LOT!

Edited by 426-Hemi
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I use Tamiya paint and clear... I've not ran into this issue yet. And I've used some pretty old decals before too.

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I also don't use an air brush. I have had good luck with duplicolor rattle can clear over decals. I ususally put on three light coats 20 minutes apart let it sit over night and give it a good coat in the morning. Hope this helps.

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Thanks folks. I've gotten some great advice. I'll let you know how it goes down.

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Here is a little hint for you.  When you make your own decals on a inkjet printer, they give you a fixative to spray over the decal.  That fixative is most often a fast drying lacquer.  You can clear coat with just about anything as long as you go very light and let it dry.  10 minutes is not enough.  Over night for lacquers is about right.  One very very light coat then another and build up about three light coats.  That way the solvent in your final coats will not dissolve the top coats and cause them to wrinkle.   Be patient.  If you get in a hurry trouble will follow. 

Here she is after decals. Paint is smooth, decals are flat. I'll let them dry and set until next weekend. Then I will follow Pete's advice and give it a go. Three light coats about 20 minutes? apart and then an overnight wait.

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You should cut the decals where they cross pane lines and use small brush to get decal solvent down in them. After clear coating they will be brittle and this is not possible.

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You should cut the decals where they cross pane lines and use small brush to get decal solvent down in them. After clear coating they will be brittle and this is not possible.

I'll be taking care of that tonight. Thanks.  

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I might be a little late, but do you polish your finishes prior to decals? If so, be sure to use a wax and grease remover. PPG_DX330 is the bomb. I even clean my refinished tub with it. A setting solution wouldn't hurt adhesion (but you probably know that).

 

PPG_DX330.jpg

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