Monday, 3 June 2013

Problems with shiny decals

My second attempt at this blog, as my phones blogger app swallowed the first attempt!

If you've read back over my blog, you'll know I am a big fan of decals on my 15mm mini's. As much as painting and the various painting techniques have been something I've worked on during this project, I've also developed my technical modelling skills.

One issue I have had when using decals is one such technical issue. Some of my models have a 'shiny' area around the decal I have applied, and despite many coats of matt varnish it just will not go away.

Here's an example.

Having done a little research to try and find a cure for this, I came across the actual cause.

It seems that when applying a decal to a painted surface, the paint makes the surface of the model grainy on a microscopic level. When the decal is applied onto this, it creates microscopic air bubbles. These bubbles reflect light, causing something called 'silvering'.

It seems that the way to avoid this is to make sure you put a layer of varnish down before the decal. The varnish provides a microscopically smoother surface which prevents the air bubbles forming. There are also some decal solutions that I am going to pick up (Vallejo make some called Decal Fix and Decal Medium). The Decal Medium prevents air bubbles forming, but I think I will also be making sure I do no more highlighting after the matt varnish!


  1. Jamie micro sol and micro set are the best also trim your decals as close as you can. the stars scalpel out. I'm starting a heavy week but can help you out sunday evening

    ALso a little gloss where you are putting the decal helps and dissappears after your matt coat. I would recommend Revell Matt no.2 (not Humbrol) brush on Matt. it's enamel but is the best we have found so far to matt our figures.

  2. Thanks for the comments Paul - the Vallejo ones are a good bit cheaper!

    I try to stay away from scalpels due to an accident trimming a Forgeworld kit a long time ago. Pricked my thumb and in moving my hand away sliced through one set of Jeans and about a half inch of thigh...

    Not sure there is anything can be done help wise, the decal is now under several coats of varnish. And doubt it can be fixed! Just have to learn from the mistake. If you think you can help, by all means!

  3. OK, No worries Jamie, The micro sol and set we have and we're not doing kits at the mo so you could borrow.

    So you don't use scalpels at all? I'm impressed, I couldn't do our hobby without 1.

    Hope yer Gala Day went well! ;)


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