|Applying Decals on Silver and Plated Metallic Surfaces|
BY CHRIS PALOMAREZ
|Decal film is visible when a decal is applied to a metallic finish before using a clear top cote first.|
Over the past few months I have received a few questions about the best approach to Applying decal over silver and metal plated surfaces. What happens is the clear film becomes visible when applied to a silver or metallic surface. I pitched this question to the modeling community since I hadn't had first hand experience with applying decals on silver or plated finishes. Mark Roach gave the following advice:
"The problem with most metallics (especially silver) is that any solvent-based clear applied over the base finish will cause the metallic particles to re-float to the surface creating a blotchy finish. The metallic paint (silver, gold, etc.) needs to be clear coated in order to prevent this and the resulting "silvering" under the transparent portion of the decal.
The only real answer I've found is to clear coat the metallic finish first with an acrylic clear gloss - Future Floor Wax* works great. If the decals are being applied in a predefined panel, you can just brush a smooth coat of Future in the panels that are to be decaled. For a final over-all finish, if you want something other than flat, I would recommend shooting the entire car with an acrylic finish first to seal the metallic particles in place. You can then overcoat the acrylic with whatever solvent-based finish you desire.
Plated or bare metal surfaces do need some kind of clear finish first to have something for the decal film to meld in to. Solvaset will dissolve the decal film, but when it dries, the film is still just sitting on the surface.
If it's a factory painted surface, your safest bet is to apply a coat of Future Floor Wax*. On real plated or bare metal surfaces, the Future also works fine, but you could also use a solvent based clear first as there would be no reaction with the metallic pigments that paint has.
In any case, the surface needs to be really clean (especially with Future Floor Wax*) in order for it to flow out smoothly. Finger-prints and any surface oils will cause the Future Floor Wax* to repel from that area. If for some reason something goes awry with your Future Floor Wax application, it can be easily removed using any ammonia-based window cleaners such as Windex and not affect the original finish - but once it has cured, it's there to stay.
Some people have reported hazing using Solvaset on decals applied over a Future Floor Wax* clear coat. This is usually caused by the Future Floor Wax* not being fully cured first - count on overnight for full curing. If this does happen, apply another coat of Future Floor Wax* over the decal and the hazing should go away.
The one thing I can't stress enough is that you let the Future Floor Wax* cure fully before using any decal setting agents on it - let it set for a good 24 hours.
I don't know the chemical make-up of decal setting solutions, but there's something in them that will dissolve Future and remove it if it's not fully cured. Also, don't scrub the decal solution or work it around. Apply it and leave it.
Using Micro-Set under the decal can also help as well if the decal is being applied over objects like panel lines and rivets."
Thank you Mark Roach, you can visit his custom paint website here:
* Future Floor Wax is more of an acrylic paint then a wax. The word "wax" might confuse the application to modeling. It has been renamed in 2007 please review this note on the SC-Johnson website.