Decal help...

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Just received some very fine decals for a few clones from Excelsior - Thanks again, Astronboy!

I did read the "How to apply decals" instruction sheet that came with them. However, I was not able to locate any of the Microscale products mentioned at the local hobby stores. Returning home, I noticed my cloned Red Max staring at me decaless (as it has been for over a month)... So, I decided to give it a go...

1.5 hours later and mucho frustration later, I am done - and I only destroyed one decal in the process (Thank Heaven for spares!)

My problem was basically that I did not realize how thin these decals were - even though I left them on the backing, they still liked to crinkle. Especially problematic on the big skull roll pattern.

So, how can I avoid this crinkling - do I need to buy the Microscale products? Any help would be appreciated before I move on to my Cherokee-D.


Just completed - Centuri Excalibur Clone
Needing finishing - Estes Alpha Clone, Cherokee-D Clone
On the bench - Centuri ThunderRoc Clone (slightly modified for E)
Microscale coating won't really help that problem.

I get that too. Here is the problem. Thick decals don't "lay" down nice thay can't fit the shapes as easily so thin is better...but...thin is harder to work with.

The real trick is to use a little more water, let them soak a little longer and wetting the surface before you apply the decals.

I use toothpicks to gently "persuade" them into unfolding.

Remember the key words I used were "a little"!

Heck, I still screw 'em up too!

I've had good luck with the MicroScale solutions.

The Liquid Decal Film is good for making them easier to work with when you apply and position.

The key is to use the Setting Solution also. Once you have the decal applied and positioned, you gently brush on the setting solution. Wait a few minutes to let it soften up the decal...then with a moist paper towel gently dab/blot the top of the decal. It will suck right down and blend into the surface.

Works for me.
Hi Guys,

Yes, the decals are very thin, that is why I recommend a coat of the Micro Scale decal film.

I usually work out the roll patterns with a nice soft decal dedicated brush... like a #4 watercolor brush, and I add a few drops of liquid soap to the decal solution as a lubricant. I also paint a small amount of soapy water to the area that the decal will set. Then I apply the decal buy just tugging one edge off the decal paper, holding it gently against the rocket, and then sliding the decal paper out from under the decal itself.

I use the soft brush again to work out air bubbles, and small crinkles. Then I gentlys soak up the excass water with a tisse out paper towel.

I generally get *great* results by first applying a nice, heavy coat of Microscale Liquid Decal film, and then simply applying. I'll blot on more water with my finger if needed for fine positioning, and dab up the excess water with a paper towel - using the same, damp paper towel to "iron out" wrinkles and bubbles. I don't use setting solution, and I've had great results.
One note about microscale liquid decal film.....

This stuff can 'clush' or dry cloudy in high humidity. This happened to me this week.

Solution: apply in a well air conditioned room.
Of course, I meant to type "blush or dry cloudy'... not clush..
The solution to the "cloudy" clush...err...blush, is to wait for a dryer day and then just reapply a second coat.

I really like the thinner decals but they are a bit more work and require a bit more patience to work with.

The larger decals like the roll pattern on the Der Red Max are especially frustrating.

If you use too much water sometimes you tend to remove all the glue and the decals won't stick very well. Easy solution...Future makes a GREAT decal "glue".

Sticks 'em right down.

This was especially helpful on the Little Joe II corrugation.