Microscale decal issues

cfquinlan May 15, 2019

  1. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member

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    I posted this on The Inspection Pit a few months ago and didn't get many responses. Hoping more people see it here:

    I'm having issues with Microscale decals not softening and conforming to the surface of models (smooth or irregular surfaces). I can't seem to get them to adhere well, especially Amtrak stripes and white decal film sheets that have been printed within the last few years. They are also super brittle and break easily (even with the decal restore solution). I remember them being easier to work with in the past. Has Microscale started using a new formula or material that has changed the ease of use? Also, areas of the decal start to discolor when Micro Sol/Set pool on them, even in small amounts that one would normally use for decaling activities.

    I've included two pictures:
    1. Shows a test decal on a glossy surface after Micro Set and Sol usage. Note the decal has actually lifted off the surface of the model.
    2. The other picture (with a red arrow and circle) show the discoloration issue on the blue portion of the stripe.

    Anyone else experiencing these issues as well? And if so, any solutions?

    I'm at a complete loss!

    For troubleshooting purposes I've:
    Used Micro Sol and Micro Set (in that order)
    I've tried the Walthers solution too
    I'm putting the decals on a glossy surface

    Thanks for reading!

    v/r
    Chris
     

    Attached Files:

  2. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    How old are the decal sheets?
     
  3. wpsnts

    wpsnts TrainBoard Supporter

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    Perhaps contacting Microscale would get you some answers. What little I know it sounds like an age issue.
     
    jtomstarr likes this.
  4. Rich_S

    Rich_S TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Chris, I've never had this problem with Microscale decals. Where have the decals been stored prior to use? Did they get wet or were they exposed to high humidity? Usually Brittle decals are a sign of very old decals. It sounds like you've tried the most popular setting solutions, you've either received a bad batch of decals or a set of decals that have been setting on the shelf for an extended period of time. Like Dave mentioned above, I'd contact Microscale for any additional advice or possible solution to your decal issues.
     
  5. bman

    bman TrainBoard Member

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    I've used some pretty old decals from Microscale and Walthers. Brushing their Liquid Decal Film on these has worked well for me. I've also not had a lot of trouble getting their decals to lay down. I've also not experienced the discoloring either. Like others mentioned contacting Microscale is a good first step.
     
  6. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member

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    Guys,

    Thanks for all the answers. These decals aren't that old, only a few months. I have contacted Microscale and I'm waiting to hear back still.

    Chris
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  7. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    I'm curious what set your test decal came from? Amtrak?
     
  8. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member

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    It comes from the Amtrak Phase II Locomotives set, 60-423.
     
  9. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    That is a fairly new set so age shouldn't be an issue. I'm guessing no problems getting the decal to float off the backing paper?
     
  10. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member

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    Not at all. It just will not soften/conform to surfaces. I'm still waiting on a response from Microscale, but was told it might be a while because "they are busy."
     
  11. tehachapifan

    tehachapifan TrainBoard Member

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    I may have spotted the issue. I've only ever first applied decals using Micro Set and, after that dried, then applied Micro Sol. Did you do that in reverse or is that a typo?
     
  12. Run8Racing

    Run8Racing TrainBoard Member

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    tehachapi has a point. That's the way I've done it for model race cars, military models, trains, etc for a million years. And I never mix the two. I have brushes with blue handles and brushes with red handles. Some mentioned the age of the decal. From what I've found, if the decal is too old, it won't survive the soaking process. That usually leads to some very interesting combinations of words that can't be used here !!! :censored::censored::censored:
     
  13. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member

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    That is a typo. I used Set first, then Sol... whoops!
     
  14. sandro schaer

    sandro schaer TrainBoard Member

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    interesting. i use Micro-sol only. first apply a few Drops on the model, then apply the decal and apply more Micro-sol. this procedure helps solving the decals from both sides.
     
    SD35 and JimJ like this.
  15. Traindork

    Traindork TrainBoard Member

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    Is it possible you bought the decals just a few months ago but they had been sitting at a store for a few years, making them older than you think?
     
  16. dualgauge

    dualgauge TrainBoard Member

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    Could the store had them in direct sunlight. Sunlight gets hot. One hobby store had 2 engines that the shells deformed sitting in sun to long.
     
  17. cfquinlan

    cfquinlan TrainBoard Member

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    It's possible, but I've had this problem for the last few years on multiple sets from multiple stores.
     
  18. Joe D'Amato

    Joe D'Amato TrainBoard Member

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    So here is what I do. I apply the decals, wick the excess water away, let set a minute or so then apply Solvaset. Then I take a hair dryer, on low speed but hot and carefully warm the decal up. It softens the decal and speeds up setting and drying. It's amazing watching the decal snuggle down right before your eyes. The decal will pucker as usual but then it will flatten out and set down. Any place I have problems I re apply the solvent or prick the decal. You can reapply solvent several times to really get the clear backing to melt away on the edges. Honest, I've been doing this for 30 years and never had much of a problem blowing decals off :) This works especially well with older thicker decals. Be sure to clean the decal off with some water and a Q-tip to get any sediment off the application area, let dry again and then give it a few light coats of clear gloss. This will even the surface out and you won't have ugly shadows. Give it a go. PS, this will also work with the Micro Scale system.
     
    Hardcoaler and mtntrainman like this.
  19. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    The only time I've ever had 'edge lift' on MS decals was applying them directly over unpainted plastic. That consistently did not work. Nothing against MT, but it was on trying to put decals on MT undecorated boxcars - I quickly learned that even if the car was molded in the right color, decals had later issues with edge lift and silvering.

    I typically use Walthers Solvaset, that stuff is powerful, and you do not want to put it on and then make any attempt whatsoever to fix anything as the decal turns almost to a gel. If you do have bubbles appear, you have to let it completely dry, prick the bubble, and re-apply.

    My current technique is to either apply over a gloss surface or give it a quick shot of Testors semi-gloss, do the decals, then Dullcote it if it necessary.

    I have a LOT of really old decals subject to cracking and the liquid decal film is a lifesaver.
     
  20. santafe

    santafe TrainBoard Member

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    i had a problems try get the decals off in the water for 15 min microscale said they had same thing happen to them and sent six new sheets

    tom
     

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