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gpal

Order of finishing Paint and decals

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Hello, I just painted my model with Testors enamel mixed with lacquer thinner and air brushed. I have sanded with 2000 grit to get some of the imperfections out and all looks good. My question to you guys is I want to apply several good size decals and not sure if I should clear coat before applying the decals and another coat of clear after decals? The paint is dull right now from sanding but is it smooth enough for the decals with applying clear? I wanted to use either Testors clear airbrushed or Future. I know you want  to clear after decals so they look better and are protected.I also see where the paint is finished with compounds and wax.

Thanks in advance, George

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Some builders say you shouldn't use any clear over Decals. Some like to use a coat of clear to seal the decals, and that would be me. Some will clear the body ones and then install the Decals and then coat with clear again. There are many ways to do this and sometimes you just have to figure out what works for you. You mention that you have sanded the finish and that is still somewhat dull. My thought is that you want the surface below the decals to be as smooth as possible. At this point if you applied the decals it would be like putting them on a flat non gloss finish. This would show the complete outline of the decal plus a milky look surrounding the image and the edge of the decal. At the very least I would polish the body to a very high sheen before applying the decals and then clear over them. I would prefer to apply a light coat of clear, and polish it. Then apply your decals and seal with another clear coat as you suggested.  Now this is just my opinion and I'm sure some others will offer theirs. As I mentioned there many different ways to do this, and I would be interested also in seeing what others have found works for them.   

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This can be rather frustrating. To use the Monogram '70 Challenger T/A as an example, the body trim is actually satin black, but if it's given a gloss coat along with the rest of the body, that trim will be shiny, when it's not supposed to be. I think I'll stick with applying decals over a very smooth surface and leave it go at that, but that's just me. I seem to recall that Steve G clears over his BMF trim though, and you certainly can't argue with his utterly amazing results.

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Like David said, you'll need a glossy surface for installing the decals to prevent the decals from "silvering". But as said in the earlier comments, there are many ways to do this. I always spray a couple of clear coats on top of my decals to protect them so that they don't start coming off, and the clear coated decals will look more like they were painted on after you have polished the clear coat.

Clear over BMF works as well. I try to avoid it, because it takes some of the BMF shine off, but despite that it doesn't turn the BMF completely dull either. I've had to clear coat on top of BMF on some Stock Car models, where I had to apply decals on top of the BMF chrome trim like they were on real cars too...

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