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Issues with Decalling on Certain Cars

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  • Member since
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  • From: Miles City, Montana
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Issues with Decalling on Certain Cars
Posted by FRRYKid on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 2:14 AM

Got a curious query for my Forum friends. Has anyone had problems trying to decal seemingly painted cars? The cars in question are one of ScaleTrains new gondolas and some of Accurail's composite hoppers. Anytime I've tried to put on Microscale's Micro Set it just beads up like water would on a oily surface. With the Accurail hoppers, I finally broke through with some Micro Sol but even that I let dry before I worked with the cars again.

Anybody have any ideas? I'm totally stumped.

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
Brain waves can power an electric train. RealFact #832 from Snapple.
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Posted by drgwcs on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 9:52 AM

I have never been a real big fan of Microscales setting solutions and even less of Testors. I lean to Solvaset. That being said is the finish semi gloss or flat on what you are applying them to? Decals stick best on a gloss surface. 

  • Member since
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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 9:57 AM

Ya my guess would be it's flat paint, not glossy. I've built several of Accurails "data only" kits so I could letter them for my freelance railroad; I always spray them with gloss finish first.

Stix
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  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 12:10 PM

FRRYKid
Anytime I've tried to put on Microscale's Micro Set it just beads up like water would on a oily surface.

I wonder if that's the problem...perhaps a wash of the body shell with dish soap and warm water, then a rinse, followed by air drying.  Any item that's been handled could have skin oils on it that might counter the effect of a decal setting solution.
I sometimes use Micro Set on small or fragile decals, but always follow-up with Solvaset.
I've not used Micro Sol, as Solvaset does the trick and is also more affordable.

As has been mentioned, decals are best applied on a glossy surface, and will look better if over-coated with another application of clear gloss to create an over-all uniform appearance. 
You can then finish-off with another application of clear coating:  high gloss, medium or low gloss or dead flat, depending on the supposed time any particular car was built and it's current "age" since then.
In most cases, I use a clear dead-flat overspray, followed up with appropriate weathering.
For rolling stock representing newer cars (or locos), a clear semi-gloss (mixed to your own specifications) will be more suitable than dead-flat or full-gloss.

(I do understand that you're not comfortable with using an airbrush, but if you give it a try, I think you would find it to be a great asset in making your rolling stock more realistic than any just-out-of-the-box piece of equipment.)

Wayne

  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 12:23 PM

I have suggested this product many times before. It is hard to get, but worth the effort to own some.

Daco Products Decal Setting Strong Solution

-Photographs by Kevin Parson

There is no substitute or equivilent.

This is one of those things that really is "skill in a bottle" for the modeler.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

  • Member since
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  • From: Miles City, Montana
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Posted by FRRYKid on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 2:50 AM

drgwcs

I have never been a real big fan of Microscales setting solutions and even less of Testors. I lean to Solvaset. That being said is the finish semi gloss or flat on what you are applying them to? Decals stick best on a gloss surface.  

The way I do my decals wouldn't work with Solvaset. I use the Micro Sol as a "float" to position my decals into place. You can't do that with the Solvaset as it "melts" the decal into place almost immediately.

The finish on the hoppers was a flat and I think the finish on the gondola was a flat as well. However, as I have said over the years, I must be doing something wrong when it comes to decalling as I am able to decal on a flat finish. (I've only had silvering twice and I have decaled over 200 pieces of rolling stock from just ACI labels and COTS panels all the way to complete lettering/relettering of the equipment. I paint and letter a vast majority of my own equipment as I both prototype model as well as protolance.)

 

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
Brain waves can power an electric train. RealFact #832 from Snapple.
  • Member since
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  • From: Miles City, Montana
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Posted by FRRYKid on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 3:17 AM

doctorwayne

(I do understand that you're not comfortable with using an airbrush, but if you give it a try, I think you would find it to be a great asset in making your rolling stock more realistic than any just-out-of-the-box piece of equipment.)

As to the making the stock more realistic, refer to the last few lines of my last post.

It's not a matter of being comfortable. It has to do with a whole list of factors:

  1. I don't have a good place for a vent hood. (A requirement to collect overspray and fumes, even with water-based paints.)
  2. Lacking said hood means painting outside with said airbrush and due to various climatological conditions, painting outside in Montana isn't possible for a good portion of the year.
  3. I don't have a compressor to power said airbrush. (They can be a bit expensive and I don't have a good place to put one anyway.) Propellant cans are even worse.
  4. I have gotten very good at brush painting. (I have gotten many compliments on said brush painting. I am also very good at dry brushing for weathering my cars and they don't require masking or a lot of setup if you want to paint a small spot. Brush painting makes doing mutli-color schemes easier, IMHO, because of less masking. I have masked in the past but I have found that it creates pains of its own: masking sure the tape has a clean edge, paint bleed, etc.)
  5. I don't have to worry about wasting paint if I thin too much for said airbrush. (Slight off-point, but I am not a fan of the pre-thinned paints as they don't brush paint well. Hoewver, I will work with them if that's the only way to get a certain color.)
  6. Cleaning paint brushes are easier than an airbrush. Again IMHO. (Only one piece to clean rather than the multiple ones on the airbrush. Additionally, less parts to lose if something happens.)
"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
Brain waves can power an electric train. RealFact #832 from Snapple.
  • Member since
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  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 7:41 AM

FRRYKid
Painting outside in Montana isn't possible for a good portion of the year.

Same here. The humidity is so high that I only paint with my airbrush about 4 months of the year.

FRRYKid
I have gotten very good at brush painting. I have gotten many compliments on said brush painting.

I don't know why the model railroading community in general seems to consider brush painting a compromise. Other groups of modelers don't seem to feel this way at all.

FRRYKid
I am not a fan of the pre-thinned paints as they don't brush paint well. Hoewver, I will work with them if that's the only way to get a certain color.

Same here. I prefer to thin my paints myself to get the exact consistency I want. I also thin my paints for brush painting.

FRRYKid
Cleaning paint brushes are easier than an airbrush.

Yes. I can clean up from a brush-painting session in very little time.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

  • Member since
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  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 11:06 AM

SeeYou190
FRRYKid Painting outside in Montana isn't possible for a good portion of the year. Same here. The humidity is so high that I only paint with my airbrush about 4 months of the year.

My paint shop is in my garage, originally a house and/or barn, roughly 180 years old.  I paint there year-round, using a portable electric heater in our Canadian winters.  We do get some heavy humidity in the summer, too, but I don't worry about it too much.

SeeYou190
FRRYKid I have gotten very good at brush painting. I have gotten many compliments on said brush painting. I don't know why the model railroading community in general seems to consider brush painting a compromise. Other groups of modelers don't seem to feel this way at all.

I'm also a very good brush painter, and don't at all consider brush-painting a compromise. 
Just before I got an airbrush, I had brush-painted over three dozen of these locomotives...

...which required both major colours to be applied first on the opposite portions shown in the photo above.  The well-dried paint was then masked as required, and then brush painted as shown above.  At the time this occurred, I was using the just-released Polly S paint, which required at least two coats of each colour to get good coverage, and that worked out to 8 coats per diesel.
When Pollyscale paint came along, the coverage, whether by brush or airbrush, was a lot easier and required less coats, too.

SeeYou190
FRRYKid I am not a fan of the pre-thinned paints as they don't brush paint well. Hoewver, I will work with them if that's the only way to get a certain color.

I totally agree with you on that one...not only do they not brush well, they also offer poor coverage when brushed.  I consider pre-thinned paints a rip-off, as it's easy enough for anyone to thin water-based paints, using either tap water, or, if necessary, distilled water - I use water from the bucket on my dehumidifier.

SeeYou190
FRRYKid Cleaning paint brushes are easier than an airbrush. Yes. I can clean up from a brush-painting session in very little time. -Kevin

That depends...I can clean my airbrush for a colour change in about 10 seconds, but a full-clean after a painting session might take a minute.

I should also mention that I have a good supply of high quality brushes on-hand, as many of my scratchbuilt multi-coloured structures are brush painted.

By the way, that logo on the cab of the diesels shown above, was hand-done using a very fine brush...on all 66 locos, including one in N scale.
Here's a better view...

I won't bother you again on the subject of airbrushing.

Cheers,

Wayne

 

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Posted by wp8thsub on Thursday, June 23, 2022 7:24 PM

FRRYKid
Anytime I've tried to put on Microscale's Micro Set it just beads up like water would on a oily surface. With the Accurail hoppers, I finally broke through with some Micro Sol but even that I let dry before I worked with the cars again.

I don't use Microset at all.  I float the decal into place with Microsol.  If it starts to settle in the wrong place I flood it with water and move it.

DSC04005

by wp8thsub, on Flickr

For example, all of the lettering on these cars, including the large roadname and slogan decals, was floated on with Microsol.  These were done over glossy TruColor paint, but I've done the same on Accurail factory paint with good results.

Rob Spangler

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, June 23, 2022 9:30 PM

FRRYKid
I use the Micro Sol as a "float" to position my decals into place.

wp8thsub
For example, all of the lettering on these cars, including the large roadname and slogan decals, was floated on with Microsol.

Well, it looks like I've been doing it wrong for over 60 years...I've always floated decals into place using only water - with good qality decals (Champ, f'rinstance), the decal can be re-floated, if necessary, 50 or 60 times, although it would seldom require a re-float more than three or four times.

Once the decal is in its proper place, I blot it using a clean soft cloth, then add a setting solution, either Micro Set (for fragile decals) or Solvaset for more robust decals.  In many instances, those applications might be repeated several times, until there's no indication of silvering or trapped air under the decal film.

Currently, I do decal work on gloss surfaces, then overspray the applied decals with a coat of clear gloss.  That's later followed-up with either a clear semi-gloss to represent a fairly new car or locomotive, or a dead flat clear overspray for an older car.  All cars, new or old, do get some degree of weathering, usually suited to their age and type of service.

Wayne

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