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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, :wave:
I am close to the point of applying the decals to my polar lights TOS enterprise. I have one built already but on that one when I applied the decals and sealed them with a dull coat they silvered pretty bad. :( The model was painted a gloss white and I've read that you have to have a gloss coat to apply the decals to or they won't stick. Can someone tell me how to apply the decals so I don't have the problem of silvering? This model is looking much better than my last and I wan't it to look the best when I'm done.
 

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I recently completed this same model, my first completed Star Trek model in many years.

Do yourself a favor, and read up on using Future floor polish as a clear coat. This was my first experience with it, and I was very happy with the results.

One of these days I'll get some decent pictures taken and post it up here.

Eric
 

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First put a coat of Future floor polish on your model, preferably with an airbrush (you can also use Testors Gloss Coat, available in spray can at most hobby shops). After this drys, use Micro Set and Micro Sol to apply your decals (also available at most hobby shops. Instructions are on the product). I usually put another Gloss coat on after the decals dry, for good measure, but it is not strictly necessary. You can then spray with dull coat, and you should have no silvering.
 

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Good advice, Cappy.

I'll add that you need to BE PATIENT with this process. You won't finish it in a day. The gloss finish that you apply the decals to must be well dry -- give it at least a day after you apply the last coat. Also, give the decals a day to dry after applying them before you put any other finishes over them.

The reason for applying decals over a gloss finish:

A property of surfaces called SPECULARITY refers to how smooth or rough the finish is under microscopic conditions affecting the surface reflections of light, but not color. A surface with a high specular nature will be very shiny and smooth. A low specularity will be dull to the eye and, under a microscope, very ROUGH. This roughness of a dull finish will allow AIR to become trapped under the skin of the decal. As the decal dries, it is actually sitting only on the topmost surface of that flat finish. Light is now reflecting off the decal, some passes THROUGH the decal, and reflects on the backside of the decal. Result... SILVERING. By applying the decal to a high gloss, i.e. high specular finish, you give it a smooth surface to evenly adhere to. Light is no longer reflecting through the back of the decal.

Cappy D gave some more good advice: decal setting and solvent solutions are the tools of the serious modeler. What they do is attack the laquer film on which the decal is printed, causing it to soften and settle into the surface over which the decal is applied. As you can see from the issue of gloss vs. flat finish, the better the decal conforms to the surface, in both visible and microscopic detail, the more the decal will look PAINTED ON instead of just hastily stuck in place.

A phenomenon that many people notice is that when you apply a gloss finish, your paint colors will tend to slightly DARKEN. The reason, again, is specularity. That high gloss finish will reflect a percentage of light before it reaches the pigments of the paint itself. Less light reaching the pigment, less light is reflected as color. Think of it this way: you look in a mirror... what color is the mirror? Since essentially ALL light is reflected on the SURFACE, no light will reach the backing to reflect any color of the mirror itself.

Now you can go and tell your doubting friends of the highly technical and scientific nature of model building.
 

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decal help

Rogue pretty muched summed it up. Try decal softening solution after you have given the decals a day to dry. Polly Scale makes a good one, so does Micro Sol. you may need several thin coats to get the decal to 'snuggle down'. Fine scale Modelere mag runs usually one article a year on how to work with decals
http://www.finescale.com/fsm/default.aspx?c=i&id=125
is a article from their website. Hope it helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great advice people, I will keep you posted on what happens. I am going to spray the gloss coat tomorrow. Wish me luck. :wave:
 
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