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I bought some Testors Decal Set (the only 'set' they had) at my local hobby shop. As I understand it, this stuff is used to avoid the reflective silouette that the decal film gives once applied? Today I went to use it for the first time. I figured the stuff was applied after you apply the decal and it drys, but upon reading the instructions *after* the decal had dried (Insert embarassed smily face here) I read:

"Apply solution to buffed out surface.
Dip decal in water for 10 seconds.
Place on tissue for 1 min.
Position decal.
Reapply solution.
After 3 min blot decal using a moist tissue.
Reapply if necessary.
Wait 24 hours to apply protective over coating."

I have plenty more decals to apply, and the kit I'm working on is a practice kit so I'm not agonizing over my mistake, I just want to understand this process better. My old-time experience with waterslide decals was to soak. them in water until they curled up off the sheet of paper, then apply them and let them dry. This "soak for 10 seconds and place on tissue for 1 min" thing sort of baffles me. Will decals come off intact if I try that?

Also, the bottle has a warning "contains Acetic Acid" and it smells of vinegar. Is "Decal Set" simply a surfactant, i.e. dilute vinegar?

The non-lazy part of me says "just follow the instructions and see what happens!" but even though this is a practice kit I'd rather not have this screwed up as it's looking marginally good so far.
 

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I just used Mocro Sol & Set for the first time myself on a kit, & the instructions were pretty much the same, except for some time differences.

As for your question about the "Dip decal in water for 10 seconds, place on tissue for 1 min" method, I presume that 10 seconds is plenty enough time to soak the paper backing to the decal, then the time that it's placed on the towel is sufficient to losen the decal from the paper. I'm not a scientist in the method & madness of water, but I do this method & it works for me... though I leave it in the water for a few seconds longer, just to be sure! :D

And as for what the solution you're using asctuall is (diluted vinegar), I have no idea! I just buy it bacause it makes the decals look purdy & it supports my local shop! :roll:
 

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decal solutions

Prior to applying decals you need to spray on a gloss coat of some kind to give the decals a smooth surface to stick to such as, Testors gloss coat, Floquils crystal coat, or Model flex acrylic gloss coat. When I'm working with decals I soak them in a small dish of distiled, or purified water at room temperature, for what ever time I think they need. Then I place them on a paper towel to drain off excess water. When the're ready to apply I brush on some Microscale decal-set as a wetting agent on the area where the decal is to be placed, for the decals to slide around on to get it in place. Then I use a Q-tip, or corner of a paper towel to blot up excess fluid. The decals are usually dry in 15 to 30 minutes, I place one on my kit, then move on to the next, I try to do a good size area or side, by the time I get to the end the first ones are dry. Then its time for the Micro-sol or Walthers Solvast, this stuff kind of melts the decals making it soft, and in doing that the decal shinks itsself over detal items ,and snug down good and tight. If you disturb the decal when it's doing this it can tear. If there are any bubbles or an area that did not snug down poke it with a pin or point of an X-acto blade and reapply setting agent. Last spray on a coat of Testors dull-coat, Floquil Flat finish, or Model flex acrylic flat finish. Now with the Model flex stuff I have had it really dull the finish to the point the kit looked like it had been in the sun for 5 or more years. This last process will hide the seam where the decal meets the kit. One last point try to trim your decals as close as you can to the lettering or stripe of excess decal film. For doing long stripes or long rows of letters I cut the decal into pieces 2 to 3 inches long, Then apply one section let it dry awhile, the go back and apply the next piece. For letters I just butt the edges together, for stripes I slightly over lap the two pieces.
 

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Personally I never liked the Decal Set... and all it really is is distilled vinegar. So if you really want a better solution at a cheaper price, buy yourself a large bottle of distilled vinegar and wipe it on the surface of the model before applying the decal... it will work just as well.
 

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That Testors (small 1/4 bottle) decal set and ModelMasters decals set (1/2 oz bottle) have a mixture of distilled vinegar and some type of glue. Nowadays, the bottles have a warning, maybe due to Hobby Forums telling people thats it's just a $4. per 1/2 oz. bottle of vinegar. Gloss coat, drytime, light buffing, decal set, decal apply, few more strokes with brush, blot excess, drytime, final lacqer coat. I get best results with warm water rather than tepid, dipping decal for 5 to 10 secs., laying it momentarilly on a napking to blot excess waterm lay it on the model, slide the decal off.
 
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