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Clear coat over decals?


Seann Anderson
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Depends. If you want it to be accurate to the real car you have to look at the media the car was done in. Some cars are painted then cleared then have the decals put on . Some of the modern cars are full on wraps so the vinyl is glossy and I doubt its clear coated. 

If you're talking just for scale cars, the clear coat protects the decals forever basically. Pending on the decals clearing over them might be bad, some chrome decals dont react well to clears so you can put down some then clear then go over the clear with the rest. It just depends. 

Probably not the definitive answer you were looking for, sorry.

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That was the answer I was looking for. I'm getting back into the hobby after 18 years or so and I always cleared the cars when I was younger. It appears now that it's just personal preference on the finish you're after. I'll tinker with things and see what the best solution is for me. 

Thank you for taking the time to reply. 

Edited by Seann Anderson
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I don't and have never done, at the time when the race cars were painted most of the logos on the cars was vinyl stickers...and I don't believe many race cars was clear coated.
One thing tho' if you are doing a car with flat or satin finish it's best to have a gloss coat before the decals and then a dull coat after as decals and flat paints doesnt react well and you will get silvering as the surface on a flat paint isn't smooth...this I have learned from my military model friends.

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I normally do not on my stock cars. You should test the decals and the clear coat on some scrap before experimenting on the model. I like to clear the model, polish that out and then do the decals. I use all lacquer paints and clears.

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This is one of those things that is gonna come down to builder preference ,   yes, the clear will help protect the decals, and some decals, like ALPS printed decals, should be clear over as they are not as durable and you can rub them off, Ive done it.     Most of the top teams will clear coat over everything for the plate track cars.

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I use very little decals, even on my gasser models and I NEVER clear coat over them as once the models are completed I put them in my display case(curio cabinet) and only take them out to show them to someone, or to display at a club meeting or NNL. My models do not need PROTECTION a they are not exposed to the elements such as wind , rain, hail, snow, sleet, etc. and therefore do not need any kind of protection.

 

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23 hours ago, High octane said:

I use very little decals, even on my gasser models and I NEVER clear coat over them as once the models are completed I put them in my display case(curio cabinet) and only take them out to show them to someone, or to display at a club meeting or NNL. My models do not need PROTECTION a they are not exposed to the elements such as wind , rain, hail, snow, sleet, etc. and therefore do not need any kind of protection.

 

The decals on that old build up above, was in a paper bag for 40 years, in an air conditioned house, but they still turned yellow.

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My point is that it wasn't out in the wind, hail, rain, snow, or sleet. I have no idea how that model with 2 other models got put in a paper bag back then. I guess I thought I was through with modeling cars, but didn't want to throw them away. I'm glad I found them because they are old mpc kits, and if they were  in boxes that had never been opened, they would be worth over 250 bucks each now. I'm going to deconstruct them and rebuild them as if they were new kits. They really were pretty good engineered kits that fit well put together. I'm looking forward to completing them.

Edited by MarkJ
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I always clear over them. Will last forever with my clear. Yes the real cars weren’t cleared over but they didn’t use water slide decals either. A lot of older cars had the numbers and major sponsors painted on . So I don’t care if the real ones were cleared I don’t want messed up decals

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I was always of the opinion to not clear over decals on stock car models but a couple of years ago I decaled a body and had a mishap with the chassis and put the build on hold , went to finish it recently after getting another kit for the irreparable parts to find the decals had issues with yellowing, and those that did clear over on another  build ( both had decals from the same sheet( contingency markings) were perfect! After that I am clearing over everything even my stock cars ! I used to to only do my funny car builds. But it’s a personal choice and one must make sure the clear won’t eat the decals you are using . I usually put a thin coat of Testors gloss coat first and then I’ll use my regular automotive clear , I be had good results from every brand I have used ! I paint cars so it all depends on what I have on hand at any given time!

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On ‎11‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 8:32 AM, High octane said:

I use very little decals, even on my gasser models and I NEVER clear coat over them as once the models are completed I put them in my display case(curio cabinet) and only take them out to show them to someone, or to display at a club meeting or NNL. My models do not need PROTECTION a they are not exposed to the elements such as wind , rain, hail, snow, sleet, etc. and therefore do not need any kind of protection.

 

I think it is the sun that is the real reason for using clear (2k rules). There is a good chance of sun attacking the models in a display cabinet in a living room etc. Who really leaves there models outside anway?!

I had one car which faded with no clear, it was painted with Tamiya Fluro Red. It was obvious the fade started at the point of the car that was mostly in the sun, and slowly the whole paint job degraded to the same colour.

 BTW if you think the result is too glossy with 2k clear, why not use matt clear (once again 2k)? I also notice decal edges disappear mostly and it also seems to suck the decals down better, if there  are any not so well seated ones on compound curves. I believe you can mix the 2k clear gloss and matt to get the correct balance for those really worried about the correct shine.

Mike :)

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You are right Mike , not only does clearing over the decals make the lines go away, It definitely will seal them and yes you can add a flattening agent to many clear coats to dull down the gloss . Also you can use some of the more inexpensive clear coats that are not as high in the shine department!

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17 minutes ago, PettyKW43 said:

You are right Mike , not only does clearing over the decals make the lines go away, It definitely will seal them and yes you can add a flattening agent to many clear coats to dull down the gloss . Also you can use some of the more inexpensive clear coats that are not as high in the shine department!

I find decal fixative  solution best for making the lines go away. It really makes the decals appear to be painted on!

I use clears with caution.  AMT enamel clears I used have yellowed with age.  I'm not big on clear coats because many folks polish models way beyond a scale shine.   The cars I build are more dull cote to  semi gloss!  

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I also always clear over the decals. Had a couple very bad experiences with ones I didn't clear over. Including a recent build that had decals destroyed when a contest judge handled it. Some will state that they are more accurate by leaving the decals uncleared as the real car will have a difference in gloss level between the painted surface and the markings. True but only if you then remove all the clear decal film between lettering or numbers. I clear coat over them and then sand and polish, and I use automotive lacquer for both color and clear. Have to be very careful and build the clear up in light dust coats.

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I recently bought a House of Kolor's USC01 Show Clear Kit, ( clear, reducer and cat ). Never used 2K clear before but wanted to spray over the decals,  I love it. Just did two bodies with it and will continue. I was using PPG High Performance Lacquer Clear before. 

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