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Mahogany Rush

Decal application question

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I am building a Nascar model and I have a question about applying the decals.

 

Is it best to:

A: Clear coat, then apply the decals

B: Apply the decals, then clear coat

C: Clear coat, apply the decals, then clear coat again

 

Thanx

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Posted (edited)

Loaded questions and you are going to get a lot of different answers , and there is no wrong way you listed,  there are just some variables that need to be sorted first.

First, it all depends on the paint you used,  if the paint you used is a single stage paint and is already smooth and somewhat glossy, then you can apply the decals directly to the paint,  if the paint is not very smooth or glossy, you may need to clear coat as decals need a smooth surface , or you will get silvering and they may not stick very well, even when using setting solutions.

Now,  clear coating over the decals ,  it depends on the type of decal paper/type of printing of the decals,  and then it depends if you want to be accurate.   If you are using ALPS typed printed decals, it really is a good idea to clear over them, ALPS decals are not durable, and even basic handling can rub them off , just ask me how I know .  Now,  in the modern era 90's forward ,  the only time NASCAR teams cleared over the decals was for the plate races, the other times, they did not clear over decals.  But clearing over the decals helps protect them,  that is up to you, and there really isnt a right or wrong way there in my opinion.

 

Edited by martinfan5

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Posted (edited)

It depends what you are using for paint. If you use a hardened clear like I do you should have no issues putting a light clear coat on then decals then another coat of clear. I do all of mine exactly like that. If you use rattle cans no matter how you do it clearing over the decals can be risky. Reason being the solvents in the clear can rewet the previously applied paint causing the decal to wrinkle . Many think the decals are the problem when in fact it is solely caused by the paint. Trust me on this. Some foil decals don’t like clear. The get a etched look to them. 

Edited by yellowsportwagon

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Thanx for the replies. I used 2 different colors, one is glossy and the other is a flat fluorescent. I think I am going to clear the car (rattlecan Testors wet look) only and then apply the decals that came with the model without clearing over them as I do not want to chance ruining the decals. 

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The single most important thing is to make sure the decals are going on a smooth gloss finish.  Otherwise silvering can, and most likely, will occur.  Applying gloss over the decals is a personal preference and can be highly controversial, as Jonathan mentions, the teams really don't gloss coat their cars.  I use Future or whatever it is called these days to seal the decals.  It is really inert, but I have had it wrinkle decals on an occasion or two.

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You will definitely want to clear over the fluorescent color before laying down a decal.  Clearing after is preference,  I don't . 

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Speaking of the Future.Pledge Floor Care product, the last car I sprayed that on now has weird lines in part of the paint. They look like cracks and I am sure they are a reaction between the automotive acrylic enamel (fully cured for weeks) and the floor acrylic clear. Same car was a two-tone, red on the sides and black on the top. I had used Tamiya TS lacquer on the black and automotive 1:1 acrylic enamel for the red. Both colors were left alone for several weeks before polishing with Novus polish and then decaled. It was not the decals causing any problems. When I first applied the Pledge Floor Care everything was smooth and glossy. A few days later the red area had lines in random directions, pretty much all over. Both on the decaled areas and aside from the decals not even near the decal films.

This is one of the few times I cleared after the decals. I avoid clear coating because it just adds one more potential opportunity to ruin the paint work. I do not use automotive lacquers, paint like Gravity or Zero because I do not like flat lacquers that require the extra steps of clear coating. I also would never use the super-duper 2-part urethane clears that some use, they are unrealistic on a model and the shelf life of the paint is nonexistent. You may do as you please, just not for me. The other aspect is that race cars today either use a vinyl printed "wrap" or computer cut vinyl applications. Neither are super glossy. I will add that I live where it is warm and dry and decals and paints hold up well indoors and I have not had problems with decals that have not been clear coated, many well over 20 years old.

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I just put on the decals and clear with future. I use a big wide soft brush to apply the future. That way I can wait until the model is completely finished before I apply the decals. 

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1 hour ago, MarkJ said:

I just put on the decals and clear with future. I use a big wide soft brush to apply the future. That way I can wait until the model is completely finished before I apply the decals. 

 I Like this way too

nnx4z8J.jpg

I used Duplicolor gloss black, .. decalled it, .. then Future (SC Johnson  pledge FLOOR CARE) 2 coats

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Nice. I forgot about the Future as I use it for windows periodically. Thanx again for the tips.

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13 hours ago, Belugawrx said:

 I Like this way too

nnx4z8J.jpg

I used Duplicolor gloss black, .. decalled it, .. then Future (SC Johnson  pledge FLOOR CARE) 2 coats

Looks beautiful, Bruce.  Yes, if you go trying to find Future your not going to find it . They have changed the name a couple of times but the bottle still looks the same.

63mercwipsdesheetsandpledge2.jpg

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Yes, that's the one I have.

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On 5/6/2019 at 4:39 PM, Bill J said:

Speaking of the Future.Pledge Floor Care product, the last car I sprayed that on now has weird lines in part of the paint. They look like cracks and I am sure they are a reaction between the automotive acrylic enamel (fully cured for weeks) and the floor acrylic clear. Same car was a two-tone, red on the sides and black on the top. I had used Tamiya TS lacquer on the black and automotive 1:1 acrylic enamel for the red. Both colors were left alone for several weeks before polishing with Novus polish and then decaled. It was not the decals causing any problems. When I first applied the Pledge Floor Care everything was smooth and glossy. A few days later the red area had lines in random directions, pretty much all over. Both on the decaled areas and aside from the decals not even near the decal films.

This is one of the few times I cleared after the decals. I avoid clear coating because it just adds one more potential opportunity to ruin the paint work. I do not use automotive lacquers, paint like Gravity or Zero because I do not like flat lacquers that require the extra steps of clear coating. I also would never use the super-duper 2-part urethane clears that some use, they are unrealistic on a model and the shelf life of the paint is nonexistent. You may do as you please, just not for me. The other aspect is that race cars today either use a vinyl printed "wrap" or computer cut vinyl applications. Neither are super glossy. I will add that I live where it is warm and dry and decals and paints hold up well indoors and I have not had problems with decals that have not been clear coated, many well over 20 years old.

I use 2 part clear exclusively on my models. While it may dry a little too shiny I never have issues. I hear guys on this forum and others constantly complaining about paint issues. Paint wrinkles ,lifts the decals sprays crappy out the can  drys dull or whatever the complaint may be. I’m just saying if you use good stuff you won’t have troubles. I’d rather my decals be protected under clear. I also have no use for “ I have hours in this and now it’s ruined “ on account of crappy paints. I’ll sacrifice too flossy for those kinds of issues any day.

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Now all the cars are vinyl wrapped. The decals and graffics are all part of the wrap so there is no bump from the base to the decal. This is hard to replicate on a model but base coat, decals then clear comes the closest because the clear will typically level things out. 

In the old days they would put the stickers on right on top of the paint. No clear was ever used. So I don't clear my NASCAR models. I paint, polish then apply the decals and it is done.

Supposedly the vinyl wrap saves weight. So they don't even use primer, they just shoot a thin layer of color, usually white, or black and wrap over that. If you ever get a chance to visit a NASCAR shop and you can see the cars really close up it is amazing how bad they look sometimes. After the race they look like trash even if they weren't wrecked. The Stewart-Haas shop has cars in the lobby that you could touch, if they would let you.

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