Decal Debacle

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by RobertInOntario, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I just bought a set of Black Cat CN decals to place on a box car that I spray painted brownish-red.

    I should say, first, that the two main CN decals -- the 1950s herald and main CN wording -- went on very easily and look great. Before painting, this box car had tacky ads and cartoon graphics on it and now it looks much more realistic! :mrgreen:

    The problems arose when I tried to apply the very small lettering (re weights and years). These decals are tiny and the point size of the text is extremely small (I'm guessing 5 point or smaller). These were so small and flimsy that I just put a few down and I think I will skip the rest. At 47, my eyesight for doing close-up work isn't what it used to be :cry: and I simply found this to be too tedious.

    Has anyone else found this or have any suggestions? I'm using the blue and red Micro Set and Micro Sol and these help a lot.

    Next, I plan to do some weathering.

  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Rob: one way to to take the section of decal and float it on a drop of water on the boxcar until you have it in position. Then use a paintbrush or a rolled up corner of tissue to absorb the water and drop the decal in place. If you're doing a car number with individual digits, you need to let one set before you start the next.
    Of course, I haven't done decals for years.
  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks again, David. Actually, the smaller lettering (on the other side) went on better than expected after I posted my message. I still try to emply the technique you decribe, but it is very difficult when it's one row of 4- to 5-point letters! Thanks, Rob
  4. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Robert, do you wear glasses? Or, should you wear glasses? :rolleyes: :-D Either way, a great way to help see what you're doing is an Opti-Visor. You should be able to get one at any good hobby shop. For really fine detail work, a jeweller's loupe is also useful.
    For decalling, I use a #11 blade in an X-Acto to cut out all of the individual decals for a car, then place them, face-up, on a paper towel. This makes them easier to pick up with tweezers. For small decals, and particularily for single digits for the dimensional data, I grasp the decal with the tweezers, then dip it in some distilled water, then place it, again face-up, on a sheet of glass. Small decals will release from the paper very quickly, usually a few seconds. Use the tip of the tweezer to slide the decal partially off the backing paper, then grasp the free edge of the decal with the tweezers. I like to dip it into the water again, to remove any excess glue residue, then touch it to the side of the container to remove most of the water. Use a brush to place a little Micro Set on the car where the decal is to be placed, and, also on the back of the decal, then set it in place. Allow a few seconds for the decal to soften, then lightly blot with a lint-free cloth: this will remove most, but not all, of the liquid, leaving enough for you to use the tip of the tweezer to jockey the decal into position. When it's where you want it, blot it again to squeeze out any air bubbles and the rest of the liquid. When the entire car side has been decalled, I like to apply some Solvaset to really set the decals.
    When in doubt, always follow the decal manufacturer's suggestions, although you may find some tips more to your liking for use with other maker's decals. For larger decals, I like to use the tweezers to place them on the surface of the water, letting them float until the backing paper drops away. Try to not sink the decal when you go to fish it out. :mrgreen: For very small decals, most tweezers are too clumsy: instead, use the tip of an X-Acto blade, either the flat or the dull edge, to pick up and maneuver the decal. I usually place small decals onto the sheet of glass dry, then dip a finger into the water, and deposit it on or near the decals. Be careful when blotting to not accidently pick up the decal, too. ;)

  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Wayne. All of this is very helpful, especially with regards to the #11 blade, using distilled water and an opti-visor. I have another set of decals to apply to another box car so I'll try to implement these suggestios tonight.

    Thanks again,
  6. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    I agree with doctorwayne in pretty much all regards. I also keep a paper towel handy (usually just a small pice). Once I wet the car down and slide the decal onto the water, I'll just touch the corner of the paper towel to the water bead, sucking the water out from under the decal. At that point, there' just enough water under the decal to position it.

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