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Easy question about decals and clear coat

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zeotherm

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Sorry for what is probably a very basic question, but I want to help my kids pretty up their rockets ahead of LDRS. In what order should I do clear coat and decals? Clear coat first, then decals; or can clear coat go over the decals without ruining them? Thanks!
 

James Duffy

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Generally speaking, apply the decals first, then apply clear coat. If possible, test the clear coat using scrap material onto which you have applied the same paint and some spare decal material, as some overcoats will attack decal film.

I would avoid the Testors overspray and stick with art-grade acrylic overspray. Recently I have been using the Krylon UV-resistant clear overspray, based on a suggestion from Jim Filler.

James
 

FatBoy

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...and use very light misting coats.
 

Micromeister

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Generally speaking, apply the decals first, then apply clear coat. If possible, test the clear coat using scrap material onto which you have applied the same paint and some spare decal material, as some overcoats will attack decal film.

I would avoid the Testors overspray and stick with art-grade acrylic overspray. Recently I have been using the Krylon UV-resistant clear overspray, based on a suggestion from Jim Filler.

James
Ditto James. I've also found using Krylon workable fixatif #1306 as the sealing coat helps before using the more agressive UV-resistant clears. I've passed this on to Jim several times but sometimes he forgets things LOL!

Krylon UV Clears(1305Gloss,1309Matte,1306Fixatif)_02-05-16.JPG
 

K'Tesh

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Sorry for what is probably a very basic question, but I want to help my kids pretty up their rockets ahead of LDRS. In what order should I do clear coat and decals? Clear coat first, then decals; or can clear coat go over the decals without ruining them? Thanks!
Whatever you do DON'T use ACME Brand Clear Paint...

But seriously... From what I've read, generally speaking you want decals to be applied to a glossy model, then after application, clear coat them to seal them. Flat paint has a texture to it that gives it the flat appearance, and that texture gives the decal a place to silver (where the air that is trapped under it causes it to not look correct). Gloss finishes are smooth, so there's no air trapped underneath.

For clear coating, lots of people use whatever Future Floor Polish is calling itself these days. Problem with things like Testor's clear coats is that it has a problem with yellowing over time.

Here's a useful thread I read over on FSM.
https://cs.finescale.com/fsm/tools_techniques_and_reference_materials/f/20/t/86551.aspx
 
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mpitfield

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I have seen the clear scrape off shiny decals many times and so I adopted the following protocol which works well.

Prime, sand, fill sand, prime ,sand, paint, sand, paint sand, sand, sand some more, sand to 600 wet, apply decals, sand over the decals lightly just to remove the shine and flatten down the edges a bit. Then clear, block-sand over decals to get rid of the high points then clear, wet sand to 2000, polish with 3 step automotive polish, then wax.

It is a lot of work, and not for everyone, but it does yield great long lasting results.

See you at LDRS...it is coming up fast!
 

Trident

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When I find a flat paint I like, and decals are required, I apply a gloss coat over the flat paint, apply decals, and then use a flat/matte clear over them to return the finish to a flat finish. (decals applied onto flat finishes look pretty bad.). I swear by Krylon UV-Resistant acrylic clears, in both gloss and matte.

Here is an Interceptor nose cone. Edges of decals don't show, and overall finish is flat.

 
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neil_w

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Dumb question time (after I point out that nose is beautiful):

Rather than paint flat, apply gloss for decals, then apply flat clear coat, why not just paint gloss in the first place, and the flat clear at the end? Would seem to save a step. Is there a difference in the final result?
 

K'Tesh

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Dumb question time (after I point out that nose is beautiful):

Rather than paint flat, apply gloss for decals, then apply flat clear coat, why not just paint gloss in the first place, and the flat clear at the end? Would seem to save a step. Is there a difference in the final result?
Military colors are generally not available in flat colors as it makes the color matching more difficult. Also, hobby paint manufacturers know that people are going to gloss coat the models (we have to to get the decals right), so they don't bother making them in gloss (and it also makes us buy more paint (the clear)).
 

neil_w

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So, in that case, if it's a color that's readily available in either finish (let's say black) is there any advantage to starting with flat, or should I just use the gloss black I already have, and then do the matte clear at the end? I'm trying to figure out if it makes any actual difference in the final result. Is there anything that should guide me other than whether which finish I can get my preferred color in?
 

K'Tesh

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So, in that case, if it's a color that's readily available in either finish (let's say black) is there any advantage to starting with flat, or should I just use the gloss black I already have, and then do the matte clear at the end? I'm trying to figure out if it makes any actual difference in the final result. Is there anything that should guide me other than whether which finish I can get my preferred color in?
If you are building something like a scale model of an aircraft or armor, you might want to go with flat. In rocketry, if you are a weight weenie (or working on something that could be seriously affected by the weight of paint (I'm looking at you D powered Saturn V's)) again, flat. Gloss paint is self leveling, and slightly thicker (and thus heavier) which makes capturing details (such as panel lines) problematic. For the vast majority of rockets, gloss paint (when decals are going to be applied over it) would probably be the better option. No decals being applied? Then use the paint with the finish you desire, and clear coat over it (or not).
 
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neil_w

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Fair enough, thanks. I'll get a chance to try it out with an upcoming flat rocket or two.
 

Trident

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Dumb question time (after I point out that nose is beautiful):

Rather than paint flat, apply gloss for decals, then apply flat clear coat, why not just paint gloss in the first place, and the flat clear at the end? Would seem to save a step. Is there a difference in the final result?
Good question, I should have clarified. Many spray paints I use (mainly military colors) can only be found in flat. The color I chose for that Interceptor-E is a flat aircraft gray.

Also, I won't use Testors clears. I have an Orbital Transport that was coated with a Testors Dullcoat. After about 5 years it looked like it was airbrushed with thinned brown paint. It has a ugly brownish tint all over it. I've had no issues with the UV-resistant Krylon Clears. I've used them over about every paint type with no issues.

Update: should have read all the other replies first! K'tesh answered it for me.
 
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Micromeister

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Good question, I should have clarified. Many spray paints I use (mainly military colors) can only be found in flat. The color I chose for that Interceptor-E is a flat aircraft gray.

Also, I won't use Testors clears. I have an Orbital Transport that was coated with a Testors Dullcoat. After about 5 years it looked like it was airbrushed with thinned brown paint. It has a ugly brownish tint all over it. I've had no issues with the UV-resistant Krylon Clears. I've used them over about every paint type with no issues.

Update: should have read all the other replies first! K'tesh answered it for me.
Trident:
That ugly yellow/brown testors clear can be removed completely without harming the underlaying white with 3m Finessit-II. I had an interceptor with the same Testors Gloss clear problem I've also had the yellowing issue using Krylon #1301Clear. With the exception of the decals the white is back to prestine white.

I've been using Krylon 1305 & 1309 Gloss & Matte UV resistant clear since it came out and have run my own sun & UV yellowing tests since 2001, To date neither as shown any sign of yellowing or discoloration in all that time or on any of the many models or decals coated with the Krylon UV clears.

One other note: I make all my own decals both Inkjet and Alps printed. All are first sealed with another Krylon product Workable Fixatif #1306 which is a sealing clear forumlated for use on Charcoal, pastel, pencil and other oil and water color painted. as a sealing coat it helps protect the freshly printed decals from the harsher thinners in the UV clears.

009b3_Interceptor 3pic comparison(128dpi)_08-12-06.jpg
 
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Christopher

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Hello everyone. This is another great thread. I am in the painting phase of my Air Commander. I have primed the 1st stage and the nose cone with white primer. I uses 400 grit and I sand, prime,sand, prime, sand, prime. The pieces look great but I am going to prime one more time, the 1st stage in a dark gray and the nose cone will be the same. I really like the way the primer came out, nice and smooth but flat. I took a test piece of balsa and followed the same procedure and then use white enamel over it. 48 hours later the enamel is still tacky. Now that I have read what Trident does (When I find a flat paint I like, and decals are required, I apply a gloss coat over the flat paint, apply decals, and then use a flat/matte clear over them to return the finish to a flat finish. (decals applied onto flat finishes look pretty bad.). I swear by Krylon UV-Resistant acrylic clears, in both gloss and matte.) I may try that unless someone has a better answer as to why the enamel is still tacky after 2 almost 3 days.
 

stickershock23

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I always recommend clear coat over decals.. this protects them for LOTS of bad things..

like any paint TEST FIRST..

and make sure you are CLEAN before you try it.. I typically wipe with clean cloth and rubbing alcohol.. you'd be surprised how much oil from your hands just from touching you will get!
 

Rex R

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some enamels can take a month or more to fully cure...usually you can apply paint after a week of curing.
Rex
 

Micromeister

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A little Clear coat chemistry is in order here:
Clear coats are generally lacquers. while most rattle can paints are enamels, modified enamels or Acrylic enamels. Just about everyone knows that enamels go over lacquer based paints or primers but applying lacquers over enamels are an easy way to ruin a paint job. This is not to say one can't apply Lacquer based clears over well dried enamels. It must be Mist applied first coat, allowed to dry then follow up coats can be applied.

I have to say NO rattle can clear coat protects anything! because all rattle can clears contain NO pigment there are no interlocking platelets. all Rattle can clears become brittle very quickly after curing. Just Handling, Bump and landings can and will cause, cracking of these dried films, If it happens to be over a decal it will lift and remove part of the decal along with it.

I do NOT recommend Clear coating entire models anymore. I do use Krylon UV resistant clears and 1306 Krylon Workable Fixatif to Seal and protect freshly printed decals before cutting and applying.

After the decals are applied and completely dried, I strongly recommend application of a coat of "Pledge with Future" as a protective coating. Future retains a good amount of flexibility after curing making it a much better choice then even the best clear coating.

PS: Automotive clear top coats are a lot better but still chip.
 

neil_w

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Micro,
Future is great for gloss, but what do you do for matte coating these days?
 

Micromeister

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Micro,
Future is great for gloss, but what do you do for matte coating these days?
Well: that's were we have to bit the bullet and use Krylon 1309 UV resistant Matte clear. It's not what I'd rather but if we need a flat or matte finish Krylon 1309 is always my first choice.
 

Lowpuller

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Where do you buy it?

I've found it online but don't want a case or the shipping charges.
 

neil_w

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Michaels has a pretty full line of Krylon although I haven't specifically looked for the clears.
 

Lowpuller

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I have checked both my local Micheals and Hobby Lobby, they have clear just not matte.
 

Micromeister

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Our HL carries these Krylon Clears in the Art Dept. They are not in the Paint Dept.
Also true for Micheals: not with the spray paints but rather with the art sealers and clear coats. My local has it on the bottom shelf on one of the center isle.
 

Trident

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Trident:
That ugly yellow/brown testors clear can be removed completely without harming the underlaying white with 3m Finessit-II. I had an interceptor with the same Testors Gloss clear problem I've also had the yellowing issue using Krylon #1301Clear. With the exception of the decals the white is back to prestine white.

I've been using Krylon 1305 & 1309 Gloss & Matte UV resistant clear since it came out and have run my own sun & UV yellowing tests since 2001, To date neither as shown any sign of yellowing or discoloration in all that time or on any of the many models or decals coated with the Krylon UV clears.

One other note: I make all my own decals both Inkjet and Alps printed. All are first sealed with another Krylon product Workable Fixatif #1306 which is a sealing clear forumlated for use on Charcoal, pastel, pencil and other oil and water color painted. as a sealing coat it helps protect the freshly printed decals from the harsher thinners in the UV clears.
Good to know about the 3M product for removing discoloration. I'll also have to check out the Workable Fixatif. I haven't had any decal issues with the UV-Resistant Clears on any kit decals or aftermarket like Excelsior or Tango Papa. But I've gone easy and used light coats.
 

Lowpuller

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I have checked HL online and can only find the following but not 1309???

ImageUploadedByRocketry Forum1485486464.645131.jpg
I can't fin a number on this one.


ImageUploadedByRocketry Forum1485486479.699075.jpg
This on is 1311.

??????
 

Lowpuller

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I found this one at Michaels online but again no number.

ImageUploadedByRocketry Forum1485486672.036112.jpg
 

Micromeister

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UV clear numbers are listed on the product lable generally on the side of the can.

1311 is not one of the uv clears and Does yellow with age! Stick with 1305 Gloss, 1309 Matte and 1306 Workable Fixatif. all three are in 6 year on-going sun exposure tests that to date have shown NO yellowing tinge at all. 1311 started to show signs within the 2nd year.
 
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