Disappointed in stickers

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Tramper Al

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So I am still in an initial BAR phase, and am having to adjust to things like plastic nose cones (which I don't care for), plastic fins (which are growing on me) and bigger E-G rockets (which are great!).

Today, though, I went to finish two skill level 1-2 Estes kits (Patriot and Redstone) and found that they employ not water-applied decals, but peel and apply stickers. I am just not liking the look at all, with this big shiny plastic patchwork over each rocket. I have just stopped working on the Redstone, as it had me putting black and white stickers over the fin area. White stickers on white paint, I kid you not. In that case, I think I will back out, tape and simply paint the black on. I just yesterday finished a 13mm engine ASP V2 in black and white and it came out looking very good.

I am going to have to start checking which kits have these stickers and avoid if possible. I would like to build more NASA models, though, and I know they will rely heavily on some decal or another. I am thinking about maybe the Semroc Saturn 1B next.

Have people figured out a better way to apply/cover these modern Estes stickers so that they look decent? I just not feeling it for the stickers right now.

Thanks!
 
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eedetail

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Gordon at Excelsiorrocketry.com prints waterslide decals of most Estes kits..

I have bought from him several times, he is reasonable and fast.
TimE
 

TopRamen

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My Estes Patriot Sticker Decals developed Wrinkles, so I had to carefully peel them off and re-apply them. I also had to use some clear Tape to hold down the ends. My Estes Crossfire however had nicer sticker Decals.
I agree with you about not liking the Looks of the Patriot Decals.
 
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shrox

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I don't like stickers, I think the fact the Aerospace One has stickers greatly detracted from it. Oh well, I wanted waterslide decals.
 

foamy

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I'm with you on the sticker/decal thing. I've put them on exactly one rocket, a tiny 220 Swift. Otherwise, I omit them or go to Gordy (Sandman) at Excelsior. What he doesn't have is rare and he can produce most anything you might want or need. Excellent products. Look no further.

For HPR, you may want to go with vinyl. I can't see it on LPR or smaller MPR. Sticker shock has an excellent reputation though, I've never had occasion to use him.
 
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GregGleason

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You are not alone. When I got back into rocketry and opened a kit with and saw them ... I was more than a bit disappointed. I'm "old school" so I expect waterslides, not stickers.

Thankfully there are options out there and I have taken advantage of the third-party decal options. Also, I have made my own decals and it is not that hard to do, it just takes some patience. Most of the graphics on the rocket below were from decals that I designed, printed, and applied.

Initiator.Before.Launch.jpg

Greg
 

Maxx Mayhem

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Got one of the Gnomes on sale. The stickers seem not to like the chrome tube. I had the old patriot also. When I tried to remove the stickers, i took off a good bit of the tub as well. A couple of tubes of ACC, a bit of sanding and I blended the fin can with the now smooth BT and then I polished the plastic cone to a nice finish. I think I defeated the whole E2X deal...:lol:

IMAG0562.jpg
 

Micromeister

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Boy do I agree with you about Vinyl Stickers!
However they are nothing more then Adhesive backed Vinyl just like Avery, 3m, Arlon, etc. The Trick to applying any vinyl is the use of a wetting agent applied to both the ADHESIVED side of the sticker & on the model where the sticker is to be applied. Wetting agent is nothing more the Dish Washing detergent (2 drops) in a Pint of water. I use an old spray bottle to keep my wetting liquid handy for all kinds of vinyl applications. Generally I've found the usual Chinese kit vinyl stickers are a bit thicker and less flexible then standard ( US manufacturer) vinyls. bit they all can work well if applied with the wetting agent, then squeegeed out starting from the center of the sticker out to the edges. after initial application let the vinyl sit for an hour or so then re-squeege the stickers again starting from the center out. If you have a sticker on a compound curved surface it will likely lift along the edges. A small amount of Thin CA on a toothpick tip can be used to permanently afix this problem area.

Like just about everyone here I also prefer Water Slide decals over any Vinyl sticker. But sometimes on Larger Models, Upscales and such Stickers sometimes make sense. If you don't want to use the Kit provided stickers and have access to a scanner and ink-jet printer you can alway scan and print your own on waterslide decal material as long as the sheet is given a couple good coats of UV resistant Clear or Microscale decal clear liquid flim.
 

asheriff

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Is there a reason manufactures include peel-and-apply sticker rather than waterslide decals? Is one less expensive than the other? Or do the easier (i.e. skill level 1) kits have peel-and-apply since they're (in theory) easier for a beginner to apply?
 

stickershock23

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Is there a reason manufactures include peel-and-apply sticker rather than waterslide decals? Is one less expensive than the other? Or do the easier (i.e. skill level 1) kits have peel-and-apply since they're (in theory) easier for a beginner to apply?
Peel and stick can be done in large numbers DIRT cheap they also last longer after being made. waterslide decals (before applying them) will deteriorate semi quick cheapie printed on clear plastic will last a WAY longer time. so for a manufacturer that is a way better investment!

Waterslides (like from Excelsior) are AWESOME for smaller (estes size) rockets they are clean clear and apply easy, and the price is right. contact Gordy he will do you good no matter what.

and yes when you need bigger stuff Vinyl is the way to go... and I am always here to help you with that!

Good luck with your project I hope it turns out better than you want!
 

Daddyisabar

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I will not be defeated by the kiddie stickers they put in the Estes kits. If the kids can do it, so can I. On the Estes Patriot the stickers make it a skill level five finish, no problem.

I've done a wet, full body vinyl wrap on the 2.6" Black Brant that was later quality inspected by a seasoned vinyl sign installer. As a wee BAR I have seen the cheap water slide Chinese decals on the Big Daddy crack to pieces when placed in water.

No wet methods on the Estes Patriot, only dry with a one shot sick, a real man's job. Lightly pencil mark the straight alignment line. Put the frog tape on the starting edge. Carefully peel using an Xacto knife to hold the back side. Never touch the back side with your big oily adult fingers. Feel the Force flowing between you, the sticker, the rocket. Carefully align the tinniest corner edge of the sticker with the line, this is the last chance you have to move it. Use the frog tape to hold the perfect initial placement line. Carefully pull and wrap the sicker with the skill of a surgeon. Remove the frog tape, place down the end. Perfect alignment around back, no bubbles or creases on the thick sticker. Press sticker down with your professional sign installer hand squeegee. Like on Kung Fu you have walked the rice paper with out leaving a trace, you have heard the grasshopper by your foot. You have mastered Skill Level One Kiddie Stickers!

Do not fear the peel and ply sticker, for fear is the mind killer. Love the stickers as you did as a child reaching down to the bottom of the cereal box. Remember Captain Crunch is always on your side.
 

bradycros

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I will not be defeated by the kiddie stickers they put in the Estes kits. If the kids can do it, so can I. On the Estes Patriot the stickers make it a skill level five finish, no problem.

I've done a wet, full body vinyl wrap on the 2.6" Black Brant that was later quality inspected by a seasoned vinyl sign installer. As a wee BAR I have seen the cheap water slide Chinese decals on the Big Daddy crack to pieces when placed in water.

No wet methods on the Estes Patriot, only dry with a one shot sick, a real man's job. Lightly pencil mark the straight alignment line. Put the frog tape on the starting edge. Carefully peel using an Xacto knife to hold the back side. Never touch the back side with your big oily adult fingers. Feel the Force flowing between you, the sticker, the rocket. Carefully align the tinniest corner edge of the sticker with the line, this is the last chance you have to move it. Use the frog tape to hold the perfect initial placement line. Carefully pull and wrap the sicker with the skill of a surgeon. Remove the frog tape, place down the end. Perfect alignment around back, no bubbles or creases on the thick sticker. Press sticker down with your professional sign installer hand squeegee. Like on Kung Fu you have walked the rice paper with out leaving a trace, you have heard the grasshopper by your foot. You have mastered Skill Level One Kiddie Stickers!

Do not fear the peel and ply sticker, for fear is the mind killer. Love the stickers as you did as a child reaching down to the bottom of the cereal box. Remember Captain Crunch is always on your side.

... :grin:
 

foamy

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...snip Do not fear the peel and ply sticker, for fear is the mind killer. Love the stickers as you did as a child reaching down to the bottom of the cereal box. Remember Captain Crunch is always on your side.
I've always hated Captain Crunch. Perhaps there's a correlation.
 

Daddyisabar

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Estes, Quest, Sunward, Noris, Cosmodrome, Rocketarium, DynaStar and many others I am sure I am forgetting. STICKERS, STICKERS, STICKERS. Oh the pain and suffering!:cry:
 

chrism

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I don't like stickers either! I don't think they are easier to apply than water-slide decals. At least with water-slides you can reposition them. Try that with a sticker and you end up pulling paint off the rocket. I like Custom rocket company, they have great kits for the money but they use the dreaded stickers.
 

JStarStar

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Is there a reason manufactures include peel-and-apply sticker rather than waterslide decals? Is one less expensive than the other? Or do the easier (i.e. skill level 1) kits have peel-and-apply since they're (in theory) easier for a beginner to apply?
I think mainly it's ease of application; waterslide decals are tough to apply without tearing for kids who haven't done much model-building.

Estes is mostly going for casual or entry-level rocketeers, the vast majority of whom won't be entering scale craftsmanship contests. The vinyl stickers look 'OK' to the 'average viewer' even if the experienced high-level modeler may sniff at them.
 
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rosko_racer

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Tramper Al

I may have a solution for your MR concerns but not for your Patriot. I have two PDF files with wraps to turn your MR into the MR7 or MR8. You will have to add a piece of BT to extend the Main BT to the correct scale length for these wraps, I just do not remember. Put the wraps on then figure out what is the extra BT length. They scream details and look cool! Drawn by Eric te Groen.

View attachment 159921

View attachment 159922
 

astronwolf

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Water slide decals are screen printed using a solvent-based ink, and solvent-based anything is slowly being phased out of industry in the United States. So companies are using stickers where ink manufacturers probably came up with compatible, less-toxic, more water-based inks. The Chinese-made decals that cracked up on someone probably didn't have a clear coat printed over the top, or they used a cheap lacquer ink instead of a more flexible enamel ink, or both.

-W
 

Tramper Al

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Thanks all for the pdfs and other suggestions. I am thinking of trying out the DIY route. Certainly the paper is available, and it seems some have have pretty good success using their color printer and clear coating. If that worked, I'd be set anytime I had stickers in hand or could find an image file online. It would also be very useful for scaling projects, I imagine.
 

Rich Holmes

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Thanks all for the pdfs and other suggestions. I am thinking of trying out the DIY route. Certainly the paper is available, and it seems some have have pretty good success using their color printer and clear coating. If that worked, I'd be set anytime I had stickers in hand or could find an image file online. It would also be very useful for scaling projects, I imagine.
One drawback to DIY decals is when you want something with white in it, and a clear edge. That requires printing white, which can't be done except with an Alps printer that you can't buy any more and requires Windows XP to run, or so I understand. (But if you don't need clear edges, you can get white decal paper.)
 

boomtube

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If you are going to purchase decals from Excelsior it is best to wait until you have a bunch of them you want then place one great big order; otherwise the S & H charges can be a bit steep. You could easily pay as much or more in shipping and handling than for the cost of a single set of decals.

Of course this applies in a lot of cases not just with Excelsior. He does produce great product; I bought and used quite a bit of his stuff.

Now if you are anything like me and are not that great with decal application it probably wouldn’t hurt any to buy two sets of whatever decals you’re after. That way you can screw-up a couple and have instant access to backups and the rest can go into a box awaiting the inevitable day you’ll need them to cover up repaired crash damage.

As for the “Stickers” supplied with all too many kits these days. Some are good and some just stink on ice. The good ones can be applied with care and look very good. The bad ones just need to be tossed.
 

kpklein

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I have used blank decal paper from Micromark. I is simply printed with a copying machine or printer, you must use one of two types of decal paper they have for copyer, inkjet or laser printer. The larger lettering or graphics are better with the vynil cut or printed lettering. Beeing a sign maker/painter, I have used vynil and hand painted lettering on my models.

The wet application of vynil is a good idea for getting everything lined up properly, but I usualy just tape it in place and adheer one end, then the other if it is a wrap.
 

matthewdlaudato

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I've successfully used clear waterslide decal paper from decalpaper.com (http://www.decalpaper.com/product-p/l825c.htm). Works well with my HP Color Laser Jet Pro M175 MFP. 'Clear' means, the decal material itself is clear lacquer film (backing paper is white).

Used recently to print new decals for my vintage Starship Enterprise - the originals were shot and literally fell apart when I tried to apply. In a rare moment of clear thinking, I stopped what I was doing after I had only cut out 2 decals from the sheet, so I was able to scan the rest. In the process of redrawing the two that I cut out and damaged, after which I will scan and call myself very lucky. Haven't applied them yet, but I expect that they will behave.

If anyone can recommend vinyl decal paper that can also be used in a laser printer, much appreciated. I'd at least like to try to make some and then judge whether I care for them.
 

cosmodrome

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To be honest, I've never been a fan of them either. Problem for me is price. If anyone can point me in the direction of a printer that can at least get close to what I pay for decals now I would certain look into changing over. Not really a big fan of printing them myself (would have to get a new printer first) but will look into that too. Looking real quick I find paper at about $0.80 a sheet, like I said, not really wanting to print my own, by I'll mull it over. If anyone can point me to a good printer for the job...
 

Daddyisabar

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Vostok 10.jpg

Yep, it is a sticker and I even had a water slide but it was smaller and I wanted the folks to to see the CCCP on the far away HPR pad. Just had a hard time a stickin' anything on that green paint, need better technique and some micro sol to melt the water slides down.
 
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Bill S

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Sorry for the necro-post. I read this post, and tried to go to Excelsior Rocketry's website, only to find it is entirely in some Asian language. I suspect the website was taken over by hackers or something. It looks as if the next search listing, one for Sandman Decals, has his product...

As for home-made decals, I've tried using some white backed decal paper, and of course, spraying with acrylic clear coat. The problems I've always encountered are these: 1) In order to prevent the water-based ink from bleeding as soon as I put the decal in water, I've had to apply 4 light coats of sealant, which makes the decal rather thick and less than willing to conform, even with using Micro-Sol. 2) I always, always get many small air bubbles forming once the decal has been applied and the air bubbles rolled out with a Q-tip.

How do you guys manage to create your own decals that don't have either of these problems?
 

samb

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Sorry for the necro-post. I read this post, and tried to go to Excelsior Rocketry's website, only to find it is entirely in some Asian language. I suspect the website was taken over by hackers or something. It looks as if the next search listing, one for Sandman Decals, has his product...

As for home-made decals, I've tried using some white backed decal paper, and of course, spraying with acrylic clear coat. The problems I've always encountered are these: 1) In order to prevent the water-based ink from bleeding as soon as I put the decal in water, I've had to apply 4 light coats of sealant, which makes the decal rather thick and less than willing to conform, even with using Micro-Sol. 2) I always, always get many small air bubbles forming once the decal has been applied and the air bubbles rolled out with a Q-tip.

How do you guys manage to create your own decals that don't have either of these problems?

As far as Excelsior and the Sandman is concerned, this thread on YORF has a fairly recent update:

http://oldrocketforum.com/showthread.php?t=18027
 
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