Discussion in 'Scratch Built' started by neil_w, May 28, 2019.
Updated white decal sheet art:
Why six if the partial discs?
I bet he's allowing for goofs and second attempts. Or maybe there is a Plasma Dart III in the works.....
Yup, just extras. For very small ones like that I'll often print multiple extras just to fill in the space which would otherwise be wasted. For big stuff usually only one extra. I'd always rather err on the side of too many, because what I don't ever want to happen is to have to stop in the middle because I just messed up a decal and have to wait until I can print another. That also would tend to motivate one to try to make do with a messed-up decal rather than just chuck and try again.
Laser or inkjet?
I've used inkjet in the past and was not happy with the clear-coating part of the process (for various reasons). This time I will be trying laser decals for the first time.
I wish I had half your skill with making decals. Are you using the paint program you told me about?
Yup, I do everything in Paint.net with the one exception that I needed to do the tail-cone wraps on Alcubierre using GIMP because I needed its radial filter for that.
I muddle through but struggle mightily with graphics design.
Well, 5 days later, indeed this is one of my better white base coats. Best indicator is sharpness of the reflection:
It's not perfect, but more than good enough to obviate the need for sanding.
Tonight I masked it up, ready for black paint:
This was neither the hardest nor easiest masking job I've done. The curves where the warp tubes join the rear transition was the worst.
I am not sure if my cockamamie paint and mask scheme on the fins will work out well or not. We shall see!
No clue when I'm going to have an opportunity to paint the black. Weather will clear up next week, but not sure if I'll have an opportunity (actually, now that I think about it, maybe I will.... hmm)
All that bright green, yellow, and blue looks pretty good; just fly it like that!
Laid down the black top coat today. In contrast to the white, it did not look very good going down. Plus a gnat landed on a fin right as I was spraying.
Temperature was warm and humid by human standards but within recommended range on the can. We'll see how it goes!
My black went down better than I thought. No problems other than one area where I didn't get complete coverage, and a few bits of overspray that were cleaned up with a Magic Eraser.
Not shown here, the mask lines around the joints between the warp tubes and the rear transition are not super-clean, but I'm satisfied with them because they were super hard to do. Not even sure I'd know how to do better next time. Maybe frisket.
Here are the unmasked mounting points for the warp containment cage pieces:
That seems to have worked.
There's a bit of black touch-up work and decals, but I'm going to give it some more time to cure before that stuff (only been 3 days for the black coat).
It occurred to me that there are plenty of decals that go on the white areas, which are now about 2 weeks old. So today I did still more decal art tweaks, and attempted to print on the office laser printer. That... was not completely successful. I'm having a weird problem that I've never had before, with the upshot that I have only a half sheet of decals. But that included the big main body decal with the name and stripes and windows, which I decided to apply. I also got the warp core decal and some of the nose cone stripes, so I'll do those as well while trying to figure out my printing problems.
Oh what a pain that was. Trying to get it properly centered and straight was infuriating. I *think* I got it OK. The Sunnyscopa decals seemed to handle pretty well, so that was good. No clear coat is a huge quality-of-life improvement vs. inkjet decals. I eventually got it into decent position and hit it with a layer of Micro-Sol, and... didn't take a picture. It looks terrible and crinkly when first applying the Micro-Sol, so I'm gonna wait until it's dry before photographing.
I would suggest using Micro Set or Micro Sol only if needed. If you can get good adherence without silvering using plain water then it's not necessary. If silvering occurs you can try Micro Set first, its the weaker solution compared to Micro Sol. Micro Sol is usually used when conforming decals to uneven surfaces, like corrugations. It softens and melts the decal film. Just my 2 cents.
What's the downside? I tend to use it liberally, and find it is wonderful at eliminating wrinkles, and also making the edges virtually disappear. In this case, I had a large decal which, after spending a good bit of time working it into the correct position, had plenty of fine wrinkles here and there, especially in the clear part over the top that joins the two pieces. After a good helping of Micro-Sol, the wrinkles are all gone and the decal has basically disappeared:
(sorry for the fuzzy pic).
I did notice two or three remaining bubbles; after puncturing them I'll apply another layer of Micro-Sol to help those areas sit back down.
Again, if there's a downside to using it I'd really like to know about it.
As for Micro-Set, which I didn't use on this decal because I basically forgot until it was too late, I don't believe there is any reason not to use it all the time. I'm also not entirely sure what it accomplishes; I haven't been able to notice any difference in decal behavior with or without it.
1) you can see in this picture that the black laser print is not as deep black as the black paint, but it's pretty good. I think it'll look a bit better after a gloss coat is applied; the laser-printing on the decal is not particularly glossy so there's also a finish mismatch.
2) Looking at this picture, it looks like the black bar bends a bit upward toward the right. Possible I flexed the decal a bit when applying it; that was not noticeable while I was working on it. Wherever those stripes land, I will place the cockpit to match.
3) I'm very glad I made that whole thing (including both sides) one big decal. Placing the two sides individually would have been a nightmare, due to the need to match up with the cockpit.
4) I'm also very much happier (so far) with the laser-printed decals vs. the inkjet-printed. These handled more like regular decals, without the extra thickness of the clear-coated inkjet decals. And I appreciated that the Micro-Sol was able to work its full magic on this decal without being blocked by the clear-coat. Also thumbs-up on the Sunnyscopa paper, seems totally fine.
What you'd have done is 1) position one side decal, B) position the cockpit against it, then iii) position the second side decal against the cockpit.
What you did is better.
Yeah, that woulda worked.
I'm not sure, but I'll settle for "good enough". It was not an easy decal to work with, given its size. I also handicapped myself by not wetting down the tube before applying the decal, to give myself more time to work (normally Micro-Set accomplishes this for me, but as mentioned I forgot). I think it landed in the correct place, more or less.
Aha! Gotcha! You lie!
So you do notice a difference in decal behavior!
Summon the Inquisition!!!
That looks really good, I'm anticipating this part where all the finishing touches come together.
Do you anticipate any issues putting in the plasma decal, since you're confined on either side by those centering rings?
Water would accomplish the same in this case. Just having some sort of additional wetness on the surface before the decal is applied, to give it more time to adjust.
Always appreciate a proper MP reference though. Bring out the comfy chair!
No, in fact I expect that one to be quite easy, since there's no freedom of placement; it can only go in one way, in one position (famous last words?) Also, because it'll be inside the cage, defects in that decal won't be as easy to see as with many of the others.
That does mean, doesn't it, that the decal must be cut to size with more than the usual need for precision? And isn't there likely to be some tiny mismatch where the ends meet? I guess you'd put that directly under one of the cage dowels to hide it.
Yeah, but it's just a rectangle, so pretty easy.
Yes. I tried to size it as precisely as possible, but there's no way it'll be perfect. Now that I think about it, it would be a good reason to us white-backed paper for that one (my initial print was clear). That would serve to minimize the visibility of the seam. Hmm. Think I'll try the one I have, and if the seam looks gross I'll reprint that on on white paper.
The seam will be under the launch lug cage dowel, which is the bottom of the rocket, least visible.
Nose cone decals took some effort but worth it. End result is a pretty darned nice looking cone, very good realization of the OR render.
Picture shows alignment marks I put on the shoulder, using a fin wrap. I then sighted down the cone, attempting to align the entirely flexible decals as closely as I could along the sight line. Mostly worked, although a couple of them got a little warped right at the front:
File under "not noticeable unless you're really going out of your way to look for it."
Definitely not noticeable unless you're looking hard.
I must have missed it, how did you print decals for the nose cone and get it around the compound curves? You've got some techniques that I'm curious about.
Is narrow enough that doesn't have much compound-curviness to conform to. Finish with some Micro-Sol and they're down flat as can be.
I would certainly avoid large decal patterns that need to be applied in one piece, or the compound curves will indeed become a problem.
None, other than water is cheaper than decal solutions. But if they solve a problem that water cannot, then by all means continue using it.
As for the Micro Set not having any apparent effect, I'm guessing that may be because home printed decal paper may be a bit thicker than screen printed waterslide decal film. At least the ones that I use.
I find the Micro Set is great at preventing silvering of thin decals on flat or fluorescent finishes.
You still have to blend the different decal and base paint sheen with a clear coat.
And Micro Sol is great at melting decals into uneven surfaces. Makes the decal look painted on.
Ah. I don't soak the decals in it. I generally brush Micro-set onto the surface before applying the decal, and then brush on some Micro-sol afterwards. At the rate I'm going, those two little bottles will last... I dunno, forever?
I know that some folks soak the decals in Micro-set rather than water. Not I.
As an aside, I also wonder if Micro-set is much different from plain old vinegar. That's what it smells like...
No no, not suggesting you soak it in the solution! I'm talking about laying a film of water down on the surface. As I said if the decal solutions solve a problem that water does not, well...
I believe they are acetic acid solutions, which would be what vinegar is.
Any idea how strong? I've never encountered these products before (I don't do a lot of decal work, but that may change) but I'm sure white vinegar has to be cheaper a specialty hobby product. Vinegar could be placed in a plant mister. (Or a plant missus; I'm not trying to be sexist, but I just don't think it would work as well.)
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