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Question on decal softener


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 I am applying decals to the dash of my 49 merc. I notice they are a little bit larger than the holes for the gauges. I have trimmed them down a little. I would like to know if I used the softener after the fact or after they dry will it still soften them up to allow them to conform to the ridges? I only ask cause I have already applied them and I do not have any softener ATM. I have never tried to do it after the fact.

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Ohhh BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH. Here I thought it might be a simple answer. 

Anyone have a preference for decal softeners? 

Not that I think I will get an answer, but it is a Revell kit. 

Soak the decals with Microscale Micro-Sol. It will soften "set" decals and allow them to conform. It just takes a bit longer than if they were freshly appliied. 

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It's not that often I have any problem with decal softeners.I use mostly Microscale Industries Micro-Sol and Micro-set. These are probably the most commonly used. I also have some Mr. Mark Softer and Setter I got for some thick stubborn decals.

My biggest problem is decals not reacting with these products and not settling down.

You can easily test any product you use by cutting out a useless area of the same decal sheet .. like the company name that usually is a decal and apply over a similar area of scrap plastic. For your instrument area just punch a hole in sheet plastic and glue to another sheet or use a similar dash. Sometimes pricking a tiny hole in the "bubble" will help by letting air out. Let the decal dry before applying a softener.

Edited by Foxer
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Without seeing the problem, I can imagine the issue is that you are applying decals over gauges that aren't flat... as in there are raised details like the numbers and needle in the plastic?  In those cases  you are lucky if the decal stays flat unto itself.   I'd forget about decal set and add a coat of canopy cement over the decal to form a lens over it.

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Some decals are extremely thick. If you have no choice but to use them, place a fairly large amount of Micro-Sol on the decal. After about ten or so minutes, take a Q-Tip dampened with Micro-Sol and carefully roll it across the decal to force it to conform. In the case of instrument gauges, use the tip to push the decal down. You can also use a 00 brush to accomplish this. Everything I suggested here and elsewhere has been personally tested out and regularly used during my builds. I don't blow smoke up anyone's patootie. :) 

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I only use Walthers Solvaset on decals. Some claim it's to strong....used right never an issue. 

Walthers started making decals in 1930's and was the first to have a decal system. 

What will happen in your case........only one way to find out........

You can also try white cider vinegar. The main ingredient in most decal softeners is acetic acid. 

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You can also try white cider vinegar. The main ingredient in most decal softeners is acetic acid.

 

Yep. Testor Decal Set is the world's most expensive white vinegar. (I find that works best under decals, as an application aid, and with about 90% of today's decals, nothing further is needed.)

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I use Micro Sol & Micro Set and I'm happy with these products.

Micro Sol and Micro Set are the gold standard of decal setting products, but they are also the baseline. They work wonderfully, but don't work for everything. Some decals only settle down with Mr. Mark Softener. Mr. Mark Softener will melt others. Some decals are fine with a little help from Future or household vinegar. There is not a product out there that works 100% with all decals. Sometimes you just have to test various things.

Same thing with everything else in the hobby for that matter. I love Tamiya putty, but sometimes Vallejo is the right one for a particular application. I like some clear coats over certain finishes, other clear coats with other paints. You just have to have the right tools at the right time for the right application.

Edited by Harry Joy
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First off, Thank you everyone for your responses. 

 

I think I have decided to head in another direction. After looking at images of 49 mercury interiors I realize that the gauges supplied in the kit are not accurate. In addition they kept falling off and they have chipped a little now. 

I decided to create my own in Illustrator and print them on paper. Down worry the image below is blown up. The small gauges are 1.5mm and the big one is 4mm.

Untitled.thumb.jpg.8667214f76e5a43191971

I have a japanese screw hole punch, I just need to get the really small bits for it to cut them out of the paper. I may even put resin to simulate glass. Now My Epson R220 may work but I need new cartridges for it, Once I get those I will be all set. If it does not then maybe the big Epson at work will print that fine. It's made for Art Reproductions. 

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I have a japanese screw hole punch, I just need to get the really small bits for it to cut them out of the paper. I may even put resin to simulate glass. Now My Epson R220 may work but I need new cartridges for it, Once I get those I will be all set. If it does not then maybe the big Epson at work will print that fine. It's made for Art Reproductions. 

A hole punch is definitely the way to go as you'll have to print those on white decal paper. Your Epson 220 will be fine to print them ... I have an Epson R3000 I use but it's the same Epson resolution. I've printed decals I can't read by eye but everything is clear under magnification. Use the best photo print setting and let the ink dry a day. Then an acrylic clear coat.

Best of luck and let us see the results you get.

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I decided to create my own in Illustrator and print them on paper. Down worry the image below is blown up. The small gauges are 1.5mm and the big one is 4mm.

 

I have a japanese screw hole punch, I just need to get the really small bits for it to cut them out of the paper. I may even put resin to simulate glass. Now My Epson R220 may work but I need new cartridges for it, Once I get those I will be all set. If it does not then maybe the big Epson at work will print that fine. It's made for Art Reproductions. 

Nice work on the gauges!  I have some of the Detail Master printed gauges that came with their photo etch sets.  Note that they printed theirs on paper rather than decal.  So it's a good decision to go with paper VS decal.  Also a good choice to use a punch to cut them out round.  Print many, punch many, pick the best ones to use on your model.

For applying the gauges I use Microscale Micro Kristal Klear.  This is a product that many people use to install clear glass and make windows on aircraft and ships.  It's really a very good white glue.  Use this to glue in the gauges, then add a dot of this over each lens. It may take a day or two, but it will dry clear and will be a convincing lens.

IMG 4246

The Kristal Klear is the bottle on the left in this photo.

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Nice work on the gauges!  I have some of the Detail Master printed gauges that came with their photo etch sets.  Note that they printed theirs on paper rather than decal.  So it's a good decision to go with paper VS decal.  Also a good choice to use a punch to cut them out round.  Print many, punch many, pick the best ones to use on your model.

For applying the gauges I use Microscale Micro Kristal Klear.  This is a product that many people use to install clear glass and make windows on aircraft and ships.  It's really a very good white glue.  Use this to glue in the gauges, then add a dot of this over each lens. It may take a day or two, but it will dry clear and will be a convincing lens.

IMG 4246

The Kristal Klear is the bottle on the left in this photo.

Thank you.

I  am going to look into the detail master gauges too. For some reason I never thought to check aftermarket.

The glue sounds a lot like the White PVA bookbinding glue I use.  It dries super clear and flexible.

I used the Epson 4880 at work today on glossy photo paper. I exported my Illustrator file as a pdf and printed it. It did not turn out good. I am going to try bringing the native file and print it strait from photoshop. cause there is no Illustrator at work. I also created a 600 dpi and a 900 dpi tiff file to see if i can get  better detail. I think I need to mess with the printer settings too in order to get the  results I want. 

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I used the Epson 4880 at work today on glossy photo paper. I exported my Illustrator file as a pdf and printed it. It did not turn out good. I am going to try bringing the native file and print it strait from photoshop. cause there is no Illustrator at work. I also created a 600 dpi and a 900 dpi tiff file to see if i can get  better detail. I think I need to mess with the printer settings too in order to get the  results I want. 

That is odd as you will not get better resolution than that printer .. Epsons print at an effective resolution of 1440 dpi! with my Epson R3000. I always change resolution of my decal photos first thing in Photoshop to 1500 dpi. Do not resize the image when doing this. All my editing and re-sizing starts from there. I always print from Photoshop at the highest print settings for Epson premium glossy paper. This is the back of a van my daughter owned that gives an idea of the resolution you should be getting. The model is 1/25 for reference. These bumper stickers were from my first digital camera .. a 4mp thing and the photo I used was the whole back of the van, so they weren't too high resolution to start with. Feel free to ask me anything about this.

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Wet decals tend to move or tear if you form them around sharp details, so I have found when placing decals over sharp details or when trying to get a decal into a door gap or something similar, it is best to let the decal dry overnight. Then I soak the area good with Microsol and form it into and around the difficult areas with a q-tip or small brush.

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Wet decals tend to move or tear if you form them around sharp details, so I have found when placing decals over sharp details or when trying to get a decal into a door gap or something similar, it is best to let the decal dry overnight. Then I soak the area good with Microsol and form it into and around the difficult areas with a q-tip or small brush.

I like this idea.  Thanks.

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That is odd as you will not get better resolution than that printer .. Epsons print at an effective resolution of 1440 dpi! with my Epson R3000. I always change resolution of my decal photos first thing in Photoshop to 1500 dpi. Do not resize the image when doing this. All my editing and re-sizing starts from there. I always print from Photoshop at the highest print settings for Epson premium glossy paper. This is the back of a van my daughter owned that gives an idea of the resolution you should be getting. The model is 1/25 for reference. These bumper stickers were from my first digital camera .. a 4mp thing and the photo I used was the whole back of the van, so they weren't too high resolution to start with. Feel free to ask me anything about this.

ReneesVanDSC_1062_zps05fbfab3.jpg

 

Thanks!

I think I just need to mess with the settings. I was busy at work today so I never got the chance to see if it would work. Then again my gauges may be too small for that detail. the small ones are only 1.5mm and the large one is 4mm. not exactly large.

Your stickers look really great. with a lot of good detail. 

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I only use Walthers Solvaset on decals. Some claim it's to strong....used right never an issue. 

Walthers started making decals in 1930's and was the first to have a decal system. 

What will happen in your case........only one way to find out........

I'll give another vote to Walthers Solvaset. The important thing is to get the decal positioned and tamped down. Then brush with Solvaset, and leave it alone. The decal wrinkles like an elephant. This will frighten neophytes and small children. But, left undisturbed overnight will be snuggled down to any details present.

While it contains acetic acid, it also contains another solvent. Works better than either Microsol or Microset.

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Wet decals tend to move or tear if you form them around sharp details, so I have found when placing decals over sharp details or when trying to get a decal into a door gap or something similar, it is best to let the decal dry overnight. Then I soak the area good with Microsol and form it into and around the difficult areas with a q-tip or small brush.

My trick, which I also use with any old or damaged decals, is to flood the area with Future, then float the decal into place, and put more Future on top. Once done, I put it where I cannot see it for the rest of the day, because it WILL look awful. The next morning however, the Future will have dried and sucked the decal right into place. This works wonders with original decals from 60s era kits.

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There are several different decal setting solution formulas.  I have about half a dozen brands/types, so if one doesn't work, I can try another one.

There are however 2 distinct types of decal softening solutions.   Let's take Microscale's solutions for example (since they make and sell both types as a complete decal setting solution):  They sell Micro-set (blue label) and Micro-sol (red label).  The Micro-sol is based on acetic acid (smells like vinegar) but the Micro-sol formula is based on some other (unknown) organic solvent. It has no vinegar smell but it does have very distinct smell (maybe some sort of alcohol).  If you read their literature, they recommend using both of those solutions to get the best results.

Here is the official info about Micro-sol and Micro-set http://www.microscale.com/Merchant2/graphics/Instructions/MSISysteminstr.pdf

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