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Discussion Starter #1
I have a decal question, I have an apollo spacecraft model from 1983. the decals look good still & they will go on the unpainted, white command module. My question is this, the white plastic is kind of shiney out of the box, What is the safest & best method for applying these small united states with flag decals to the plastic ? here is what i have to work with,
1- a bottle of model master enamel decal set,
2- a bottle of model master enamel clear gloss coat
3- a big bottle of future
4- a can of model master lacquer overcoat lusterless flat
5- testors dull cote clear flat lacquer overcoat
6- And NO airbrush. only paint brushes

what would be the BEST technique to apply these decals & then protect these decals and make them look right ? I have 1 chance to do this right because the decals cannot be had any longer since this is a rare kit. what are the correct steps to follow to make the decals look painted on ?
Thanks.
 

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Generally decals do not stick to bare, unpainted plastic. Or, they will just peel off since its so smooth and there is nothing for the decal to bite into. Plus it always looks like plastic... So I recommend painting the parts.

If you don't want to paint it, spray it with Testors Gloss Coat, and then apply your decals on top. I never had any luck with the Testors decal set/softener products. I would get some Micro Set/Micro Sol, or Walther's Solvaset. You apply Micro Set under the decal, and Micro Sol on top... and then don't touch it while it softens and draws the decals down. Solvaset goes right on top, and also softens and shrinks down the decal tightly.

Very old kit decals may just crumble when you put them in water. Plus they were usually poor quality back then. If you have a spare decal to test, work with that first. A coat of Testors Gloss Coat can help prevent cracking on the sheet. Then just cut each decal out really closely before you wet them.

You can buy better replacement decals for all of the old space kits from aftermarket companies.
 

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If you are worried about the decals disintegrating once they hit water you can do this.
Microscale makes a liquid decal film. you can get this and brush it on the decal then let it dry. You now must cut the image out around the image then wet it as normal and apply. I know guys who say they have used Future to do the same thing. Also I have heard some guys instead of using Micro Set or Sol decal setting solution, will just put Future on the kit under where the decal will be. As it dries the Future pulls down the decal. I would assume this would work well on bare plastic as the Future would help it adhere as well as settle down.

Max Bryant
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
i decided to have my builder use the tamiya fine white primer on the part & see if it turns out flat or glossy, then brush some future or clear gloss coat & let that dry and then apply the decal ontop, let dry a day or two & then brush some future or the gloss clear on top. Someone said brush a little future over the decal sheet and let that dry a day or two first. These decals are not available after market because they are the united states with the flag under that and the words united states are curved. I have been unable to locate those particular decals anywhere. see pictures. These are not my models but some i found on the web. Does anyone know what color silver the command module with the launch escape tower is ?
 

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Its hard to tell what colors they are... Some shade of Silver and Aluminum.

You might want to scan your decal sheet. This way, in case of an accident you can print more on Testors White and Clear decal paper. That works VERY well.

You sure you can't buy decals for whatever kit this is? Companies like Tango Papa, Realspace, etc sell decals for most/all of the old Revell/Monogram, etc. space kits. usually they are better and more accurate too!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
No, i checked, the curved united states with flag underneath is not available, & only the 1/32 apollo decals for the service module. we have an inkjet canon printer & never tried making decals.
 

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I would scan the decal sheet just to make sure...

Printing new ones is very simple although you might have to do a little planning. Since there is no white ink for most printers, you can't print white as part of your decal. So for the flags, you would print those on white decal film, and just cut them out. For the black lettering, print those on clear decal paper so you can apply them directly to the model and have just the black lettering with no background. Testors has decal paper in clear, white and mixed packages, and cans of decal sealing spray.

basically if you can scan and print a picture you can make decals... If you have any basic photo/drawing program (like free Gimp 2) you can also do things like correct colors, remove yellow background, etc. so your printed decals look better than the originals.
 

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My printer inks run when they get wet, which is definitely not good for decals. Are there any solutions to that issue?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have thought at times about printing decals on a sheet of adhesive backed printing paper, & then just peeling & sticking it onto the model. I know some applications would not work well, but maybe some others would.
 

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My printer inks run when they get wet, which is definitely not good for decals. Are there any solutions to that issue?
After printing out the decal sheet, it must be sprayed with a light clear coat as a sealer and fixative. And make sure the decal film is the right kind for your printer -- it's made in different types for inkjet and laser printers.
 

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Bert, try here: http://spacemodelsystems.com/ Rick Sternbach (yes, of Star Trek Fame) makes accurate decals for all the old and new real space kits, in every scale. They have been thoroughly researched and include all visible markings of the actual spacecraft, including tiny data stencils. Highly recomended ! BONUS: When you phone to place your order you will be talking to the man himself, Rick answers most of his calls!
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks for the help !! i will do that. I have ricks 1/24 gemini decals & they are the best. this decal for the early block 1 has a curve in it. it is for the command module itself and the only thing in 1/48 is for the service module with no curve in it however, those just might work as i have seen non curved decals on the command module when looking today.
 

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Remember just because the kit decal is a certain way doesn't mean it was that way in real life. Plus those old space kits are pretty inaccurate compared to the actual hardware used in space.
 

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Of course that whole kit is pretty FUBAR/FUBUF (F=Fixable). Thats the trouble with all those old space kits... they represent earth-bound, boiler plate mock ups so even trying to paint them to match the real thing is hard because the details are different (radiators, windows, etc.).
 

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I have thought at times about printing decals on a sheet of adhesive backed printing paper, & then just peeling & sticking it onto the model.
Stick-on LABELS??? Sacrilege!

Stick-on graphics are for TOYS!!!! :mad:

Actually, they work well enough for covering a plain flat surface, like this application:

 
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