Tip Needed: I could use some decal help... Micro Set Wrinkling Wraps.

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.....OpenRocket's ..... "Chuck Norris"
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Mar 27, 2013
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I'll be honest here... While I prefer waterslide decals over self-adhesive decals (such as supplied by Estes) for LPR kits, they scare the bejezus out of me now. Many years ago, I had a clone of an Estes Maxi Icarus, with aftermarket decals supplied by a (now out of business) vendor. I followed the instructions provided by the vendor, coating the forward wrap (checkerboard) decal with liquid decal film, and using Microscale Micro Set to get the decal to lay down. Almost immediately, it wrinkled up, and despite all my efforts to get it to lay flat (while it was still very wet), but it wasn't happening. Eventually the decal tore, and all progress on that build stopped. The few rockets was able to finish before I came to China were done with vinyl decals (I have no problem using those). But never used waterslide after the failure on the Maxi Icarus. I have several rockets that are frozen in the pre-decal application state under mom's house.

Just now saw a video on a plastic model build (a Ukrainian SU-27 with pixilated cammo) and it uses waterslide decals (I've since lost the video (I've been slammed with end of term classes, combined with covering a fellow teacher's vacation)). The builder in the video said that despite the wrinkling of the decals after using Micro Set, they will dry smooth. Really?!!! Is that true? Can anyone confirm this? If it is, it would seem an important point to share with builders before they try waterslide wraps for the first time (or first time in a while).

Does anyone have a decal tutorial video (preferably with a time-lapse of a wrinkled decal smoothing out). This would do a ton to relieve my apprehensions, and get me back into active building.

If I had only seen this video before I tried my wrap... AND before I posted this thread...

Check out around the 8:55 minute mark. [EDIT- The video doesn't finish up with clear coating, and the decal doesn't look painted on to my eyes (it might when it was finished, but not at the end of the video).

Still... I'd love to see a rocketeer version of this tutorial (with unfilled spirals and filled spirals) focusing on wraps.
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Another good decal tutorial... Still haven't found a rocket specific decal tutorial.

The decal will wrinkle. I had read previously not to panic and not to touch it because the decal at that point is very soft and prone to tearing. So I left it overnight and voila! the next day it looked like it was painted on. Don't remember where I read not to touch it.
EDIT: Some clear coats will also wrinkle a set decal. Same thing - let it settle.
Are we confusing Micro-set and Micro-sol here? In my experience it is Micro-sol that produces wrinkling, and yes indeed the vast majority of wrinkles settle out as it dries. You don't want to touch it because the Micro-sol softens the decal film and it becomes very vulnerable to tears and stretches.

At some point, if the initial decal application is sufficiently bad, Micro-sol might not be enough to straighten it out. But in my experience it does a great job most of the time, and I use it on almost all my decals whether they seem to need it or not.
Micro-set/Micro-sol use is a two-step process. Typically, Micro-set is put down on the model before the decal is placed and if the surface is extra irregular, then Micro-sol can be used afterwards to help the decal conform.

Personally, I've never had great luck with Micro-* and use Solvaset instead. I've used it extensively on my model railroad equipment since lots of models have rivets, weld seams, ladders, etc. to cover and rarely had any problems.

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