Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Using old decals...

1415 views
20 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • 50 posts
Using old decals...
Posted by PeteVS on Saturday, March 02, 2019 2:25 PM

Years ago, I was into buying undecorated kits along with sets of decals. Then, everything got pushed aside. I'm currently digging them out and had some problems with the decals for the first effort. I seem to recall having read that they should be sprayed with a clear whatever to hold them together while being installed. What's recommended to use here? Thanks!!

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 9,187 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, March 02, 2019 3:15 PM

Microscale offers a product called Liquid Decal Film. 

The directions are to brush-paint it over the decal sheet, then allow it to dry for 15 minutes.  You can then cut-out and apply as you would with a new decal.

Wayne

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 4,379 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, March 02, 2019 4:28 PM

I use lots of old decals. Many going back to the 1950s or 1960s.

.

1) try an unneeded portion of the decal first as a test. Most decals will stay good for decades if stored in a controlled environment. You might not need to do anything.

.

2) If thew decal breaks apart, then the Microscale Liquid Decal film is your best friend. Use it just as Wayne described. It works miracles on old brittle decals

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • 50 posts
Posted by PeteVS on Saturday, March 02, 2019 8:50 PM

Thanks guys! I know where I'm headed next week! Off to the LHS (which isn't that local, but...)

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Good ol' USA
  • 9,294 posts
Posted by AntonioFP45 on Sunday, March 03, 2019 8:32 AM

Doc, Kevin,

Thanks for posting those tips! YesBig Smile

I have some "new-in-the-pack" SCL locomotive decal sheets that I bought 8 years ago that I will, finally, be using soon (E-units). I've kept them stored in one of those white plastic drawer organizers from Walmart, but wonder if they will still be in good condition once I take them out.

As a precaution, I'll purchase a bottle of the Liquid Decal Film.

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 4,379 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, March 03, 2019 8:50 AM

AntonioFP45
Thanks for posting those tips!

.

Glad to help.

.

One of my best finds ever was this original set of VIRGINIAN AND OHIO decals from the 1970s. Liquid Decal Film saved them, and I was able to get a true treasure of a freight car.

.

.

.

I also have a lot of custom decals from Whit Tower's estate. I have lettered a few boxcars with these decals that date back into the early 1960s. These must have been well stored, because none of them needed any help.

.

Also, sometimes very older decals need to soak in water for more than an hour before the decal film releases. Never try to force them. Be patient.

.

.

.

.

I have acquired many sets of Donald Manlick and Rail Graphics custom decals from the 1990s. These never need any help.

.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • 50 posts
Posted by PeteVS on Monday, March 04, 2019 12:33 PM
Will Testors "gloss cote" work to strengthen the decals?
  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 4,379 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, March 04, 2019 12:56 PM

PeteVS
Will Testors "gloss cote" work to strengthen the decals?

.

Yes, it will make the decals less likely to fall apart. The down-side is that it seems to make the decal setting solution less effective.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    February, 2019
  • 50 posts
Posted by PeteVS on Monday, March 04, 2019 3:59 PM
Thanks all!!!
  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Good ol' USA
  • 9,294 posts
Posted by AntonioFP45 on Thursday, April 11, 2019 8:38 PM

Hi,

Thought I'd post an update.

I checked my "ancient" bottles of Microset and Microsol via the old fashioned "Sniff Test", LOL!Stick out tongue  The chemicals still have their odors. I can't remember exactly when, but I think I purchased them back during the 2009-10 period. Hard to believe but even though the bottles are nearly 1/2 full, I've decaled a lot of cars/materials with them.

But after reading this thread, I decided to go ahead and purchase a pair of fresh bottles, plus the Liquid Decal Film.  The bottles are slightly shorter in height but are larger in circumference, so they're all still 1oz containers. I have to admit though that the larger labeling on the older bottles is much more eye-catching and stylish. But, understandbly like any business, Micoscale is trying to keep expenses down.

Well, if the forumula is the same as in the older bottles, these should last me another decade or so! I'm also looking forward to trying out the Decal Film on some new-old stock decals for more passenger cars, cabooses, and locomotives.

Left: 2009 bottles                                         Right: Current

Liquid Decal Film

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


  • Member since
    March, 2002
  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
  • 9,927 posts
Posted by dknelson on Thursday, April 11, 2019 9:14 PM

This is a useful discussion because some of us remember when an excellent website called Great Decals listed so many providers of interesting and obscure decals, and now many of them are gone.  Thus the value of and need to use older decals (some not manufactured to the highest standards but rather were made by some dedicated modeler in his basement) is only going to increase.

By the way the Great Decals website is still around.

http://greatdecals.com/Decals.html

Dave Nelson

 

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: west coast
  • 4,643 posts
Posted by rrebell on Friday, April 12, 2019 2:34 PM

For dry transfers you can microwave them, works most of the time unless they are dirty.

  • Member since
    January, 2004
  • From: Canada, eh?
  • 9,187 posts
Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, April 12, 2019 8:31 PM

rrebell
For dry transfers you can microwave them, works most of the time unless they are dirty.

That sounds promising - any special procedures?   I've always been a big fan of dry transfers, but the number of suppliers is dwindling.

Wayne

 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 4,379 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, April 13, 2019 2:31 PM

AntonioFP45
Liquid Decal Film

.

When you first use the liquid decal film, I would suggest you try it on an unneeded decal first. It does behave a little differently than a regular decal.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Good ol' USA
  • 9,294 posts
Posted by AntonioFP45 on Sunday, April 14, 2019 5:58 PM

Kevin,

Thank you, I will follow your advice. I have quite a number of extra, older MIcroscale decals that I'll practice on.

It does bother me that (in reading other posts) that due to California's stringent environmental laws, Mircoscale has not been using the same types of opaque inks that they were employing back in the 80's. As a result, their decals do seem to be more fragile and less durable in long term storage. To me, Microscale's decals have always been the BEST and most precicse for modeling the prototype railroads. It's a shame that the company was forced to make compromises.

Being a small business, Microscale is likely entrenched in its current California location......but I certainly wish that they could relocate to another state (TN,MN, GA,AL,FL) where the DEP doesn't put a "choke-hold" on businesses that use chemicals responsibly and dispose or recycle them properly.

But staying on topic:  Currently, I keep my decal sheets on my bookshelf, away from sunlght, inside of a folder. Thermostat is usually set to 76°F or 77°F.  Although, appearance-wise, they're in "new condition" most of the ones I'll be using are 5 to 8 years old, so I anticipate using the Liquid Decal Film. Stick out tongue

 

 

SeeYou190

 

 
AntonioFP45
Liquid Decal Film

 

.

When you first use the liquid decal film, I would suggest you try it on an unneeded decal first. It does behave a little differently than a regular decal.

.

-Kevin

.

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 4,379 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, April 14, 2019 6:07 PM

AntonioFP45
most of the ones I'll be using are 5 to 8 years old, so I anticipate using the Liquid Decal Film.

.

I am currently (literally, as I am typing this) using decal sheets 20-30 years old. They need nothing, and are like new.

.

I doubt you will need to do much with decals under ten years old.

.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Good ol' USA
  • 9,294 posts
Posted by AntonioFP45 on Saturday, April 27, 2019 10:44 AM

Understood. However, there was one occasion where I attempted to use an Atlantic Coast Line decal sheet for one of my passenger cars. After soaking a passenger car number block in distilled water for a few minutes, it disintegrated as I gently attempted to slide it off of the backing paper on to the shell. 

It was only about 5 years old. Produced by Mircroscale for the ACL & SAL historical society.

I don't know if, perhaps before I got the sheet, it sat on a shelf exposed to heat or if the material may have been defective.

But in the future I'll play it safe. Wink

SeeYou190

 

 
AntonioFP45
most of the ones I'll be using are 5 to 8 years old, so I anticipate using the Liquid Decal Film.

 

.

I am currently (literally, as I am typing this) using decal sheets 20-30 years old. They need nothing, and are like new.

.

I doubt you will need to do much with decals under ten years old.

.

.

-Kevin

.

 

"I like my Pullman Standards & Budds in Stainless Steel flavors, thank you!"

 


  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 4,379 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, April 28, 2019 10:01 AM

AntonioFP45
It was only about 5 years old. Produced by Mircroscale for the ACL & SAL historical society. I don't know if, perhaps before I got the sheet, it sat on a shelf exposed to heat or if the material may have been defective.

.

That is unfortunate.

.

I had a similar experience with a set of NEW YORK CENTRAL decals from Microscale that I bought in the 1980s. The decals completely dissintegrated when they were soaked in water.

.

They were new, and I have no idea what happened. At the time I was young and had little experience with decals.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    May, 2008
  • From: Miles City, Montana
  • 1,473 posts
Posted by FRRYKid on Wednesday, May 08, 2019 2:54 PM

If you're not sure about brushing the Microscale Decal Saver, another option you can use is a spray can of Decal Bonding Spray from Testors. It is included as part of their decal creation kit and also can be purchased separarely. Stock number for the can is 9200. I use it on any decals that I purchase, no matter how new or old. I automatically use it with stripes.

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
  • Member since
    May, 2019
  • 6 posts
Posted by dextian on Thursday, May 09, 2019 10:04 PM

rrebell

For dry transfers you can microwave them, works most of the time unless they are dirty.

 

 
Interesting. How long do I need to put it in the microwave?

sample

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 4,379 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 10, 2019 11:27 PM

dextian
Interesting. How long do I need to put it in the microwave?

.

And... what power setting.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!