More on Using or Restoring Old Decals

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by Alan Bussie Google+ profile

  • Introduction
  • How are decals made?
  • How can old decals fail?
  • Common problems and solutions
  • Making new decals

With fewer molds being run by fewer manufactures, many modelers are turning to the older kits to find desirable subject matter. The plastic usually ages well, but the decals can become troublesome. Most decals were not designed to last and time and environment can take their toll. Luckily, many highly experienced builders and collectors have been willing to share their hard-earned knowledge on saving old decals. I would specifically like to thank Jim Allen, Ken Friend and Larry Johnson for their contributions.

How are decals made?
Decal paper then and now is composed of a thin, strong paper with a thin clear film and water-release adhesive. The vast majority of decals from time immemorial were silk-screened. Silk-screening utilizes different screens for each color starting with the lightest and finishing with the black. The major reason for misalignment was always the backing paper which would begin to expand with each color. The rapid improvement of screening materials, backing papers and inks bring us the great decals we enjoy today which are still silk-screened.

Commercial Silk Screen Printing Press

Commercial Silk-Screen Printing Press

The wax-based toner printer ALPS is used by some specialty decal providers but the technology has been discontinued by Continue reading “More on Using or Restoring Old Decals”