precision-panzer

Decals

Water-slide decals are printed onto a clear carrier film that holds the coloured inks together when the decal is removed from the backing paper. This carrier may cover the entire surface (Peddinghaus especially) of the decal sheet but is more usually spot printed such that it is just a little larger than the decal image. In either case the decal should be cut from the sheet and then, where possible, the excess carrier should be trimmed away from the edges of the decal. It is suggested that this be done as a two part process i.e. remove the decal from the sheet and then trim it, with sharp scissors as this minimises the possibility of bending the decal and cracking the inks.

The decal can now be immersed in warm water for a few seconds after which it should be set aside for about a minute by which time it should have separated from, and will move freely upon, the backing paper. Use tweezers to hold the decal, still on the backing paper, over the position where it is to be applied and use a moist paintbrush to ease it into place as you slide the backing paper away. Quickly adjust the position of the decal using a wet brush. You will find that you have more control if the model is held such that the surface to which you are applying the decal is held horizontal.
Silvering is likely to occur if you put a decal on top of a matt painted surface because the decal film can't conform to the microscopically rough surface of the matt paint and tiny air bubbles are trapped under the film producing a frosted look. The solution is to apply gloss varnish, or even paint the model with gloss paints, before applying the decals. You can then apply matt varnish after the decals have been applied if you want a matt finish to the model.

To help prevent this I use decal setting solutions made by Microsol (other good makes are also on the market). Apply Microset to the tank before applying the decal and then brush with Microsol to help make the decal conform to the surface. This is vital if putting decals over rough surfaces like zimmerit.
If something does go wrong it is best to remove the decal while it is still wet. Decals are often sold separately and it should be possible to locate a suitable replacement. If however the decal has dried before a significant problem is spotted, removing it without damaging the paintwork may be difficult. This may be achieved by brushing on some decal setting solution and then, after letting it sit for a few minutes, using some tacky masking tape to remove it. Failing this you may well have to resort to sanding and repainting!

The final step is to coat the decal with varnish to protect it and negate and possibility of it lifting at a future date. A coat of gloss varnish may help to even out the surface and hide the clear film even if the final finish on the model will be achieved with a coat of matt varnish.

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