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Author Topic: Do you really need clear coat before applying decals?  (Read 209 times)

Offline digitani

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Do you really need clear coat before applying decals?
« on: October 07, 2017, 08:30:47 pm »
Hi,

I'm a total noob to modeling.  I have heard people say that you need to apply a clear coat after painting and before decals, but the guy at the hobby store told me that you don't.  So what do you guys say?

In my case, I am using Tamiya acrylic paint on a 1/1000 scale TOS Enterprise, if that will inform your answer.

If I do need a clear coat, what is the best thing to use?

Thanks so much!
-digitani

Offline LynnInDenver

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Re: Do you really need clear coat before applying decals?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 10:06:02 pm »
It depends on the "finish" of your color coat. Gloss color? Decal away. Satin or matte? Then clear coat with gloss. Gloss color, but the finish isn't smooth? Then clear coat with gloss. Decals go on best with a gloss coat, because it's smoother than satin or matte. A matte coat, you're guaranteed that the decals will "silver".

I would also highly recommend a matte coat over the decals, weathering and paint when you're done. A gloss finish can look grossly out of scale on some subjects.

Offline digitani

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Re: Do you really need clear coat before applying decals
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 10:16:59 pm »
Thank you so much!  Any recommendations on what to buy for gloss clear coat?

Offline LynnInDenver

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Re: Do you really need clear coat before applying decals
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2017, 08:05:17 pm »
Thank you so much!  Any recommendations on what to buy for gloss clear coat?

Stick with acrylic or lacquers for the clear coat. Both should work fine. Let it cure before applying decals. Enamels can be used, but you need to let that cure for several days before applying decals, and I'd definitely not recommend it for the matte overcoat, as finger oils can "reactivate" the paint slightly when handling.

Offline digitani

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Re: Do you really need clear coat before applying decals?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2017, 09:08:17 pm »
Thanks again!  I bought some Pledge Floor Care, the stuff that used to be called Future.  I have heard that it is a perfectly good acrylic clear coat for gloss.   I have not used it yet.  Do you think that will work well?  It is acrylic.

Offline LynnInDenver

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Re: Do you really need clear coat before applying decals?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2017, 09:31:17 pm »
Thanks again!  I bought some Pledge Floor Care, the stuff that used to be called Future.  I have heard that it is a perfectly good acrylic clear coat for gloss.   I have not used it yet.  Do you think that will work well?  It is acrylic.

Be careful what you put over it for a matte coat; Future can be reactivated by what, for any other clear coat, would be an innocuous solvent. My understanding is that Future works best as a straight top coat, where the intent is to have the surface be glossy. Remember, it was intended as a temporary, removable floor finish, the use of it for scale models is technically "off label". I have a bottle (old enough it's still labeled "Future", it came from my uncle's workbench), and my intent is to use it mostly for aircraft/spacecraft canopies.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 09:33:55 pm by LynnInDenver »

Offline scottminium

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Re: Do you really need clear coat before applying decals?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 07:53:59 pm »
I agree with Lynn wholeheartedly.  Future, and other acrylic clear coats, are great base coverings for decals.  I would recommend an acrylic clear coat before and after decals to seal and protect them from handling--drying at each step.  An acrylic 'matte' finish would be applied at the very last, if that is the type of finish called for.
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Offline greg

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Re: Do you really need clear coat before applying decals?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 12:53:10 am »
Hmm... I've never heard of Future "reactivating." If this has happened to me, I didn't notice. It's not as good for a final, high gloss finish, I've found. I ended up having to polish a car model that I'd done a final coat in Future. I used Tamiya's polish for that. I've just gone by the guide provided by Swanny's Models.

 




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