Sunday, July 24, 2011

Applying decals

Not much too update. Just managed to get decals applied on my marines.

As most of u have experienced, gw decals are not the friendliest to work with. Having come from the aircraft modelling hobby, gw's decals leave much to be desired. Their thickness makes applying them on rounded surfaces quite hard.

But i do love those assault marines arrows so here's how i got mine done.

1. Make sure the surface is clean of any dust. Just use a clean cloth to wipe the surface. Sometimes i use cotton buds.

2. I brush on a thin layer of future floor polish to the shoulder pads. I brush the liquid straight on. The gloss finish of the polish is vital to ensure that the decals have a smooth surface to adhere to.

3. You want to make sure the future polish is completely dry and was brushed on as smooth as possible. This is where my small portable desk fan comes in handy. No more hairdryers for me :)

They're relatively cheap. I got this while i was based in Bangkok for around RM15.00 Really helps when i need to dry paint faster than normal.

4. Here's my secret to making the decals conform to the rounded surface nicely.
Firstly, cut the decal sheet as closely as possible to the design.
Then make small cuts in between the arrows. For the skull, just make a small cut on the top.
Sorry that my pics aren't too clear for this shot. But i think u'll understand what i mean.

5. I use Humbrol's Decalfix to apply the decals. Its a 2 in one solution so you don't need 2 separate types of solutions like what microsol used to market. Not sure if they still carry those products where u had to buy 2 different types of chemical solutions for applying decals. This one has worked well for me.

Just apply a thin layer to the surface before applying the decal.

Apply another layer once the decal have been positioned.

Wait for it to dry.

Apply a few more layers if u find the decals need to adhere better.

6. Most of the decals should fit nicely after a few, say 3-4 layers of the decalfix. Remember to let it dry a bit in between layers. Basically the solution helps to soften the decals to adhere better. But since gw decals are a a bit thick, that's where the cuts i made earlier helps to slip and slide them to stick better.

7. If you have air bubbles on the decals after they have dried, use a sharp hobby knife and make small holes in the air bubble area. Be very careful not to tear the decal. Again my picture isn't clear but i pricked 4-5 very small holes on the affected area.
Then simply apply more solution until the decal sticks nicely.

All 15 marines done. My target is to get them completed painted by end of next week so i'm kinda ahead of schedule. Can't wait to paint the next element in my sanguine list. If all goes according to plan then next Saturday i'll start priming.

Have a good and productive week ahead guys!!


  1. Nice! Great tutorial and even better results!

  2. Wha? All this while I just soak them in water and transfer them, directly. I never knew 'Future' floor polish or Decalfix existed.

  3. echoing doc's sentiments here..
    although I did use gloss varnish on the future floor polish step..

    nice input to have, thanks!

  4. serious man..hehehe.

    You can get future at any ace hardware store. Trust me, u really want to get future. Not only can u use it as a gloss varnish, its magic when u use it on clear plastic(those clear canopy pieces).

    Its also water based so u can easily wash/clean it off immediately if u accidentally paint on too much or blots occur.

    And its quite cheap, smells nice (like apples).

    Not sure where u can get humbrol decalfix anymore. Used to get it a train hobby store in 1utama.

  5. You can get the Mr Hobby versions of decal fix and decal softener at "Toys & Hobbies" shop at Curve (the part with the movie theater). They do gundam type kits for the most part, but they do have a nice selection of Mr Hobby stuff