Decals SOS

Antares JS

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I bought some downscaled Alpha decals from Tango Papa, and went to put them on my downscaled Alpha last night. I thought the colored parts seemed a bit weirdly thick but whatever, no problem. I've pretty much mastered waterslides at this point.

At least, that's what I thought until I dipped the first decal and went to put it on. The clear parts of the decal disintegrated rapidly and the color parts curled into tiny tubes. I haven't had such a hard time with waterslide decals in years and it made for a miserable night. What's worse, I woke up this morning and checked the rocket out again, and some of the decals lifted off the surface and curled up! I made myself late for work this morning trying to fix them again to no avail.

However, before denouncing these decals as crap, I decided to tap the hive mind here and see if someone knows something I don't, and I'm the one doing something wrong with these. Anyone with experience with Tango Papa decals want to chime in?
 

Antares JS

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I sent an email this morning, but it will probably be quicker if someone on the forum can give me a tip or two and it will save me the trouble of trying to comprehend an unfamiliar voice over the phone.
 

Antares JS

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Micro Set/Micro Sol?

Wish I had thought of those last night, but the last time I used them was in 2019 for my Saturn V. I should have some lying around somewhere. I can give them a shot tonight to try and repair the messed-up ones. If that works out I can use them on the remaining decals I didn't try to apply yet. Micro Sol in particular will probably help a lot with the curling.
 

ArthurAstroCam

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Wish I had thought of those last night, but the last time I used them was in 2019 for my Saturn V. I should have some lying around somewhere. I can give them a shot tonight to try and repair the messed-up ones. If that works out I can use them on the remaining decals I didn't try to apply yet. Micro Sol in particular will probably help a lot with the curling.
I wrote to him the other night, as he just sends the decals with no instructions. Given the expense of them, it's as if they should put them on for you. But, the website has a video tutorial which I plan on watching before I put them on.
 

Antares JS

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I wrote to him the other night, as he just sends the decals with no instructions. Given the expense of them, it's as if they should put them on for you. But, the website has a video tutorial which I plan on watching before I put them on.

Where is this video tutorial? I just took another look at the website and didn't see it.
 

Antares JS

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on his website, go to the top menu, FAQ's how to's. Scroll down to video by tap plastics.

Ah, I see the confusion now. You're looking at something completely different: Stickershock23's vinyl decals. The videos on his website are great and helped me a lot with my first order from him, but his advice won't apply here.

Because the decals I wanted were small and multicolored, I went with waterslide decals from Tango Papa.
 

ArthurAstroCam

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Ah, I see the confusion now. You're looking at something completely different: Stickershock23's vinyl decals. The videos on his website are great and helped me a lot with my first order from him, but his advice won't apply here.

Because the decals I wanted were small and multicolored, I went with waterslide decals from Tango Papa.
Oh, I see. An entirely different breed of cat. You get my point, though. For my vinyl Citation Patriot decals, I spent almost as much for the decals as I paid for the rocket itself. Without a single letter of instructions.
 

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IIRC, Tom used to recommend some sort of clear coat - either liquid decal film or a clear spray. I thought they came with instructions regarding that, but it's been a while since I've used his decals. I know that Excelsior Rocketry (later Sandman) required a clear-coat, and they used ALPS printers for water-slide decals.

In any case, if they're printed on a ALPS, I would expect the ink to be waterproof, as it's thermal transfer technology. I wonder if the process has changed since the sale to CMR?
 

Antares JS

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Tango Papa did reply to my email. My problem may have been that I was cutting the decals too close to the edges of the colors and using water that was too warm. I replied to him specifically asking if a top coat was needed, but I don't think that's the issue as the colors definitely didn't disintegrate or run upon being dipped.
 

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... The clear parts of the decal disintegrated rapidly and the color parts curled into tiny tubes. I haven't had such a hard time with waterslide decals in years ...

I can appreciate the frustration; I had this happen to me with some of Tom's decals in the distant past. If I recall, the problem at the time appeared to be some dodgy decal paper; the film was too thin. To be clear, I've had excellent results with Tom's decals in the past, but have had, on occasion, the odd bad one.

Based on your description, it sounds like you may need to remove the applied decals and lay down new ones. A good way to lift applied decals is with just a piece of scotch tape. Hopefully some new decals will get the project back on track.
 

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IIRC, Tom used to recommend some sort of clear coat - either liquid decal film or a clear spray. ...

In any case, if they're printed on a ALPS, I would expect the ink to be waterproof, as it's thermal transfer technology. ...

ALPS pigments are indeed waterproof; the value in clear-coating them is to protect the print from scratches, flaking, and general wear. One would clear-coat them following application on the model.

Generally I've found ALPS pigments handle Testors clear-coats well (Future/Pledge acrylic floor wax also); there is a risk of wrinkling with hotter clear coats, like Rustoleum Crystal Clear.
 

Grant_Edwards

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Generally I've found ALPS pigments handle Testors clear-coats well (Future/Pledge acrylic floor wax also); there is a risk of wrinkling with hotter clear coats, like Rustoleum Crystal Clear.

I'm curious: what does "hotter" mean in this context?

Is the curing process for some clear coats significantly exothermic?
 

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Here's the deal... Old decals become brittle, and may have microscopic cracks that are not visible while the decal is still dry and on the sheet. A layer of MicroScale Liquid Decal Film restores the old decal and holds it together. When you wet your decal, if you wet it upside down you can press it on the bottom of your container to help reduce the curling you have. MicroSet helps the decal move on the subject while you are positioning it. MicroSol is a "hotter" (meaning it has more solvent) compound that "melts" the decal. The decals will wrinkle, but you have to relax, and realize this is part of the process. Sit back, and let it do its thing.

I have yet to find a model rocket tutorial... But this one is good. Remember folks... YouTube is your friend.



 

Antares JS

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Tango Papa replied again and informed me that no decal top coat is required, but a clear coat is recommended after application (obviously).

I'm going to dig out my micro set and micro sol and see if there's any way I can salvage the decals I put on last night that were curling up this morning, then I will use Tango Papa's tips to put on the ones I haven't put on yet and see how much of a difference it makes.

If I can't salvage the problem decals, at least it's only $8 for a new sheet to try again.
 

Antares JS

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Oh, I see. An entirely different breed of cat. You get my point, though. For my vinyl Citation Patriot decals, I spent almost as much for the decals as I paid for the rocket itself. Without a single letter of instructions.

*shrug* Vinyl decals aren't cheap and the instructions are readily available on his website.
 

John Brohm

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...

I'm going to dig out my micro set and micro sol and see if there's any way I can salvage the decals I put on last night that were curling up this morning, ...

You may find that the adhesive has dissolved on the curled up decals, in which case you may want to try some decal adhesive to stick them back down. Tamiya makes a decal adhesive for just such a problem.
 

Antares JS

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Having just decal'ed up my BT-5 Alpha using Tango Papa's advice and had little trouble, I can definitely say the problem was with me. Unfortunately the BT-20 Alpha's fin decals were not salvageable and will have to be replaced. Again though, only $8. Not like ruining a Stickershock product.

20220301_185421.jpg
 
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I bought some downscaled Alpha decals from Tango Papa, and went to put them on my downscaled Alpha last night. I thought the colored parts seemed a bit weirdly thick but whatever, no problem. I've pretty much mastered waterslides at this point.

At least, that's what I thought until I dipped the first decal and went to put it on. The clear parts of the decal disintegrated rapidly and the color parts curled into tiny tubes. I haven't had such a hard time with waterslide decals in years and it made for a miserable night. What's worse, I woke up this morning and checked the rocket out again, and some of the decals lifted off the surface and curled up! I made myself late for work this morning trying to fix them again to no avail.

However, before denouncing these decals as crap, I decided to tap the hive mind here and see if someone knows something I don't, and I'm the one doing something wrong with these. Anyone with experience with Tango Papa decals want to chime in?
So the launch of a real rocket got delayed due to a decal issue? 😂
 

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Most likely bad decal paper……krylon crystal clear is what I use for top coat…..
 

Antares JS

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So the launch of a real rocket got delayed due to a decal issue? 😂

These Alphas are not planned to fly until June, so no.

As a side question, has anyone tried a full colour laser print on normal paper as a full body tube wrap? Did it work? What glue did you use?
Norm

Not mine but one that I recalled because of your question: https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/oops-i-launched-my-tiki-drink.158767/
 

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As a side question, has anyone tried a full colour laser print on normal paper as a full body tube wrap? Did it work? What glue did you use?
Norm, I have used mailing label stock meant for a laser printer to create graphics for my Rockets. The full sheet is basically a white sticker that feeds through the laser printer. Then I cut the graphic out, remove the backing and stick it on my rocket. The only problem I have had is minor wrinkling due to high humidity swings. I have tested spray clearcoat over the top of them and even placing them under fiberglass before I wrap a balsa wood fin. I use laser printed labels for my “everyday” scratch builds. But for my important rockets projects I love Stickershock!
 
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Norm, I have used mailing label stock meant for a laser printer to create graphics for my Rockets. The full sheet is basically a white sticker that feeds through the laser printer. Then I cut the graphic out, remove the backing and stick it on my rocket. The only problem I have had is minor wrinkling due to high humidity swings. I have tested spray clearcoat over the top of them and even placing them under fiberglass before I wrap a balsa wood fin. I use laser printed labels for my “everyday” scratch builds. But for my important rockets projects I love Stickershock!
Thanks for that great info.
I can get an A3 vinyl sticky label printed for 10 Au$. This was for a post tube 83mm OD I'm using for a bigger Red Max build. I'll invest the $10 and see how I go. Thought I'd at least get the body tube pretty. 😁
Norm
 
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