Painting Clear Decal Film?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Squidbait, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    I'm wondering if anyone has used paint on the clear decal films? I've got to do a couple of large colour panels that are trimmed in gold. I have dry transfer decals for the trim, but rather than masking and painting the background area, I wondered about the feasability of painting the film instead.

    Has anyone done anything like this? What kind of paint did you use, and how well did it withstand the waterslide/settling process?
  2. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    I've used Floquil paint airbrushed onto clear decal film, albeit on a very small scale. The paint stands up well to both the water and the decal setting solution - I use both MicroSol and Solvaset.
    [​IMG]

    The cleaner white area forming the background of the "WT" data is painted decal film. The number applied over that is from the decal set used on the balance of the car.

    You can also apply dry transfers to decal film. While I generally prefer dry transfers over decals, there are places where decals are better suited to the job. The car below illustrates this: the car is lettered using custom dry transfers, with the car number being made-up from individual digits. On the flat side of the car, this is easy to do, but the irregular surface of the car ends, along with the difficulty in holding the car steadily on-end, make this a more problematic task. I usually make up end numbers for a number of cars, including ones not yet built, in order to make it worthwhile to fire-up the compressor, as the decal sheet should be sprayed with a clear finish after the dry transfer letters have been applied to it. I line up a bunch of car ends in the spray booth, give the ends a coat of semigloss (Dulcoat and Glosscoat mixed 50/50), and spray the same on the "homemade decal". To avoid wasting decal paper, cut out the newly lettered area and stick it to a loop of masking tape before spraying. Make sure to let the decal dry for at least 24 hours, then use it as you would any regular decal. By the way, decal setting solution can be used on dry transfers, too, but remember to burnish them first, as best you can - this can help in areas that are difficult to burnish on account of raised or sunken details. The lettering on the sides of the car shown were slit at the board joints, the Solvaset was applied.
    [​IMG]

    Wayne
  3. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    Thanks Doc!

    That's encouraging. Here's the job I have to do:
    [​IMG]

    Since the tender, cab and walkway sides are pretty flat, without much detail, hopefully it'll work well. The only decals I can find for these locos are the CDS dry transfers. The gold piping is done in small segments... so trying to get everything lined up and straight on the model would be a royal PITA. :)

    If I can get them on clear decal film, so I can noodge them around until they're in the right place, the job will be much, much easier.
  4. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    That said, do you have a recipe for mixing CP maroon and CP grey using Floquil colours?
  5. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    I've had good luck using Scalecoat CPR Tuscan #69, and its gloss finish is ideal for decals. SMP Accupaint also makes CPR maroon and grey as used on CPR diesels. The first is AP-38 CPR Tuscan Red, and the grey is AP-43 CPR Gray
    I used the Scalecoat on this loco, and a number of passenger cars, too.
    [​IMG]

    Champ makes a decal set for CPR steam locos: SHS-127, and a striping set to go with it: EH-28SD.

    You should be able to mix Floquil colours to give you a suitable maroon and grey, also, but I hesitate to offer suggestions. ;):-D

    Wayne
  6. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

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    I don't suppose the Champ set includes the maroon background, does it? (wishfully thinking!) :)

    Nice job on that Pacific, btw! Is that a detailed Mantua? Or what?
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

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    I don't think that the Champ set includes the maroon, although I once painted a brass Royal Hudson that came with decals which did include the maroon panels. I turned out well enough, but I think that painting would've been easier.:rolleyes: :-D
    If you've got masking tape that's wide enough, lay out a length of it, face-down, on a sheet of glass, then lay a second piece directly atop the first. Use a straight-edge and a sharp pencil to lay out the panels, and use a compass to do the rounded corners. Use a sharp blade and a straight-edge to cut along the lines, doing the rounded corners freehand - the decal stripes should cover any minor discrepancies. By working on a double thickness of tape, you'll at least save some of the layout work by making the masks for both sides at the same time. Use either pencil marks or temporary bits of masking tape stuck onto the model to aid in positioning these masks, and be especially careful to not stretch or skew the large mask for the tender.
    You could get even better results by using the cut-out sections as masks when you paint the primary loco colours. After applying the primer, simply place the tape pieces that would otherwise be garbage (the tape counterparts of the maroon panels) in their appropriate spots, then paint the black/grey areas. Remove the tape "panels", and when the black/grey paint is fully dry, apply the masks over top of it, leaving the primered areas expose for the coat of maroon. This will result in the maroon paint's surface being on the same plane as that of the black, which will result it the stripes lying even flatter on the surface than they would if the maroon were applied over the black.

    Thanks.:) The Pacific started as a Bowser NYC K-11. Most of the detail parts are from Cal-Scale and PSC, and the CPR-style shrouding was cut from sheet styrene. The vestibule cab was built right over the existing cab, then any traces of the original which showed through the windows was trimmed away. The tender is from Tyco/Mantua. Here is a couple of photos taken before painting:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also installed a can motor and a NWSL gearbox, so she's a smooth-runner and pulls well, too.

    Wayne