How do you apply decals perfectly? (MG Freedom & A. Stri

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How do you apply decals perfectly? (MG Freedom & A. Stri

Post by Anonymous » Mon Mar 06, 2006 3:27 am

Hi!! I am new to this forum!

I wanted to ask you modelers in this board how to apply the decals for the MG Aile Strike and MG Freedom perfectly. Thx in Advance. I have already damaged a few and are desperate for answers.

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tetsujin
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Post by tetsujin » Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:11 pm

There are three types of markings commonly referred to as "decals" in the context of Gundam modeling. Only one type are actually what modelers call "decals".

The first type are the stickers. These are a no-brainer unless you want to make them look good. Making them look good is not something I have felt it's worth my time to learn - I'd rather just replace them with decals. But you can make them look better by trimming the excess clear film from around the mark, applying them over a clear gloss finish, applying them just once (not lifting them or moving them after positioning them) and not getting anything like dirt or fingerprints on the sticky side. Then when they're down you can attempt to hide the edges further by laying on more clear coat. The problem there is that the stickers are so thick that it'd take a lot of clear coat to really level them out.

The second type, the type I think you're talking about here, are dry transfers. These are little thin bits of vinyl printed onto a plastic sheet. To make them transfer onto the model you apply pressure to the sheet, causing the marking to transfer over to the model. To do it right, use this method:
  • First, with the marking sheet and its paper backing on a good surface, use a sharp knife to cut out the marking you want, isolating it from the rest.
  • Make sure the area you're going to transfer to is clean and ready. It can be a gloss surface or flat. Dry transfers are versatile that way.
  • Apply clear tape to the top side of the marking (the side that will face you, not the model, as you apply the marking). This will help you hold the marking, and then to keep it in place as you transfer it.
  • Carefully position the marking. I say carefully because if you start transferring the marking in one place, you can't move it.
  • Use the tape to hold the marking in place on the model. (But don't put the tape onto any other markings you may have already transferred!) Use a slightly dull pencil to rub all over the marking. As the marking transfers you should begin to see a difference.
  • Carefully remove the tape on one side. If part of the marking is still on the transfer sheet, you can lay the marking back down again, carefully re-align it, and possibly use the pencil to finish the job with minimal damage to the mark as a whole.
  • When the process is done, remove the tape and the transfer sheet. The mark should look good at this point. To make the mark sit more securely you can take the piece of backing paper that you cut out along with the mark, put it over the mark, and rub some more with the pencil. The mark shouldn't stick to the paper, but since the paper's more flexible you'll be able to burnish it down better than you could through the plastic backing.
The third type is actual water-slide decals. These are very rare in Bandai kits these days (Bandai recently started selling them separately), but for everyone else in the world they're the best compromise between ease-of-use, quality of the marking, and other factors. To use them you first give your model a gloss-coat finish. Cut out the mark from the paper, leaving extra space around the mark so you don't damage it while cutting. Then using a sharp knife you trim excess clear film off the decal without cutting the paper. (Cutting the paper can warp and crack the decal.) Soak the mark for about 30-50 seconds. Take it out, carefully take away those bits of clear film you cut loose. Then using a wet brush or something, hold the paper and push the mark onto the surface of the model. You can move the decal around for a while by dousing it with water and pushing it with the brush to get the best placement. You can then further improve the decal's appearance with decal setting agents, painting over with gloss coat layers to level out the decal, etc.

Dry transfers are probably one of the simplest ways to get a good-looking mark, as the marking is very thin and has no clear film around it, so pretty much immediately after application it looks "painted on" - and you can apply them to any surface, not just to a gloss coat - but it's a one-shot deal. If you mess it up the marking is ruined and unsalvagable. You'll have to scrape it off your model and start over with a replacement. Decals have a thin clear film on which the marking is printed that raises them above the surface of the model a bit - this border is especially visible if you leave boundaries between clear decal film and non-decal areas on your model. But the film is thin enough that you can hide this border successfully with gloss clear coats, if you do it right. Decals also give you some opportunity to correct your mistakes - after a decal is applied (so long as it hasn't been hit with decal solvent) you can re-wet it and push it around. Either type of marking, when well-produced and applied properly, should look as though it were painted on.

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filthbacteria
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Post by filthbacteria » Sun Mar 18, 2007 5:51 am

so today i thought i would take my first step in making the leap from HG to MG and picked up the strike noir. However, and i guess i was expecting this, it has decals. now i was prepared for water transfer decals...but these look different, in the manual they have them taped on and rubbed down to transfer (i think, i don't read japanese well...or at all really). am i totally mistaken, or are these just the dry transfer decals the post above describes. either way, advice would be greatly appreciated. i know learning from our mistakes is part of the game, but, i'd like to limit those, if possible.

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Post by PlasticFrog » Sun Mar 18, 2007 5:56 am

filthbacteria wrote:in the manual they have them taped on and rubbed down to transfer
That's dry-transfer decal alright. :)

As I understand it, almost all the decals that come bundled in MG kits are dry-transfer ones.
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Post by "Kamille! Kamille! » Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:22 pm

I'm prepared to sacrifice my dignity to ask this question.

The classic "avoid excessiv use of con-trol" decals are called waterslides, right? I always just peeled them off and stuck em on, only to have them peel at the edges years later...

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Post by Derringer » Sun Mar 18, 2007 2:06 pm

no, those are stickers.

Waterslides have only come in a few recent MG kits, while most are sold separately

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"Kamille! Kamille!
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Post by "Kamille! Kamille! » Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:54 pm

Derringer wrote:no, those are stickers.

Waterslides have only come in a few recent MG kits, while most are sold separately
Thanks.

I've never seen a waterslide then.

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Mwulf
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Post by Mwulf » Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:05 pm

Damn, I'd always ignored the dry transfers because I just automatically assumed they were like those damned water-soaking sticker things on U.S. models.... I had nothing but bad experiences with those when I was a kid.
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SNT1
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Post by SNT1 » Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:15 pm

Are you kidding me? Those Water-soaking things are the best type of decals by a significant margin!

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Post by Mwulf » Sun Mar 18, 2007 6:36 pm

Not when I was 11 they weren't. They were tools of the devil exported straight from hell! :x
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Post by Metal Legend » Sun Mar 18, 2007 8:07 pm

Water slide can be a pain when you start modeling

but those loverly dry bugger, you stick one on put a bit of tape on to make sure in doesn't move (optional :twisted: ) and you start rubbing away with a pencil or what ever peel it off....

and realise you slipped and getting the damn thing off is nigh on hard as hell....always leaves a mark or a little remender.
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Post by Duo » Sun Mar 18, 2007 9:35 pm

Mwulf wrote:Not when I was 11 they weren't. They were tools of the devil exported straight from hell! :x
Yes! I agree whole heartedly!

I alway had my dad put the waterslides on...


And a quick question.. The ones that come with the MG Ez8...I can't tell if they're the dry transfer or not, does anyone know? I don't think I ever tried, and now i don't want to mess them up if they're different then what I expect them to be.
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Post by "Kamille! Kamille! » Sun Mar 18, 2007 11:18 pm

Duo wrote:
Mwulf wrote:Not when I was 11 they weren't. They were tools of the devil exported straight from hell! :x
Yes! I agree whole heartedly!

I alway had my dad put the waterslides on...


And a quick question.. The ones that come with the MG Ez8...I can't tell if they're the dry transfer or not, does anyone know? I don't think I ever tried, and now i don't want to mess them up if they're different then what I expect them to be.
The dry transfers are on the sheet that is actually two different sheets, a transparent one with the decals and a backing one that separate. It does NOT have the many, small "avoid excessive etc" decals on it. It should have the "81" that goes on the Ez8's chest. For the RX-79[G] it was the sheet with the 0-9 numbering for the shield on it, but the EZ-8 doesn't have shield numbers, so... You'll be able to tell, though. The decals don't peel off, that's how you know.

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Post by ulnhyrr » Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:41 am

I refuse to use dry transfers or stickers. All the decals I use on my kits are all water slides. I like when decals look like they were painted on.

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