How to avoid typical issues with decals like silvering

How to avoid typical issues with decals? In a word: masks! From silvering and misaligned decals, to very thick and fragile old decals – you can really get rid of these issues just by using masks. Of course, not every decal can be replaced with a mask and it is not always possible. So, how about reducing the time for cutting, soaking and gluing the decals? With the pre-cut masks, you have more time to take good care of the choice of paint type, color and brand. The pre-cut masks can be used a number of times if handled properly and if stored justly, so even if you make two exactly the same models – you can use just one set of masks instead of buying more decals.

To choose when to use masks instead of decals is usually easy and it is mostly related to the desire of avoiding the usual issues that can appear when using decals. For instance, let`s take a look at a couple common mistakes or issues that may appear when using decals:

  • Problems with very old decals. They are usually very thin or very thick, but not normal. Some very old decals might be yellowish or some kind of discoloration might be clearly noticeable. The decals in the very old kits are much more vulnerable to cracks and even they can easily break apart if not handled carefully.
  • Applying the wrong decal setting solution or applying it in a wrong way. Some decals require a minute or two for soaking in a softening solution, but other decals require more time. So, you may want to use a stronger setting solution and thus risk to damage the decal. Other decal setting solutions can cause an unwanted effect to the base coat of paint or lacquer.
  • Silvering is a common problem with just about all the decals, except for the best decals from the highest quality. If you don`t use any kind of setting solution – then, the unwanted silvering effect may appear easier.
  • Very difficult or impossible alignment. This could happen with the very long and spacious decals, which require to apply water or decal setting solution onto quite a larger surface of the model. In this case, the big decal could easily touch a dry painted surface and stick to it quite persistently. Aligning such a decal to its exact place could be quite a time-consuming exercise.

These are only the main issues with the decals, which could easily be avoided just by using masks. There are numerous options to replace a huge big decal with a mask, for example – you could make your own template with masking tape. Some kits have sheets with pre-cut masks included in them, such as the Eduard`s Limited Edition kits. Some online stores sell only masks as optional upgrades for a variety of models. Or else, try the DN-models masks, which offer a wide choice of applications – from typical canopy masks to paint only the frames, to masks for big and difficult camouflage patterns.

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The application of the masks is easy and sometimes quite trickier, than using a simple decal, but the final effect will be much more realistic. It`s just how the vehicles are painted in the real world – by applying coats of paint over templates or masks. Also, the choice of paint could be trickier, but if you do it properly – you could get an even better effect than with the normal decals.