Decals and Systems

At the risk of causing some confusion, I’ll post a photo I took before The Big Hellcat Disaster of ’17 (TM). It looks like this:



This is a decal after it was applied, and then brushed with Micro Sol. Now, here is a question for the gentlemen assembled. Is this a problem? Consider your answer carefully. Click the audio below for some good music to think by.


The answer is that it’s probably not a bad thing, but whatever you do, don’t try to fix it. Just sit back and relax. If I had followed that advice when I had the “sparkles” incident on that Hellcat, then things would have gone better, I think. At least, my manic attempts to “fix” the problem wouldn’t have made the problem worse and worse, finally resulting in the death of the patient on the operating table.

I have a sizable decal stash. Many of them are as old as the hills. In order to use them, I have to give them a coat of Microscale Liquid Decal Film or they will crack, split and break up. The problem with the Liquid Decal Film (LDF) is that it may attack the decals, and it will not wash out of the brush if you let it dry just a little bit too much, and it dries VERY fast. So I use cotton swabs to apply the LDF, even though the application process is a little more difficult. You can also get cheap, disposable brushes for this.

The LDF can create problems, so it’s not a “fix all” for everything. It’s just one more tool. The same thing is true of Microscale Micro Sol. Micro Sol may wrinkle the decal up, and when you come back the next day it may be a perfect job or the wrinkles may still be there– in other words, a mess. You never know. You may brush the LDF on a thirty dollar set of Isradecals and the stuff may dissolve the blue pigment (and there’s a LOT of blue in Israeli markings). So you take your chances.

To me, this is all part of the hobby. In fact, setbacks ARE the hobby. Perfect success every time does nothing and means nothing. You have to face failure or the successes have no value. Unfortunately, we don’t often hear this type of thought applied to plastic model kits. We read elegant prose that soars to heaven concerning trout fishing or gardening, such as:

“What makes a garden beautiful is when its best inner potential is brought to fulfillment, and in so far as this is achieved a certain spiritual luminosity begins to pervade the whole.”

Why don’t we ever encounter these noble sentiments regarding a scale model? Is it just too far out? Not manly? What?

I’d say the answer is that the reason we haven’t read about the spiritual aspects of plastic model building is that most of us are just not willing to to out on a limb and say it out loud. Gardening, photography, trout fishing–these are respectable hobbies, with the potential to ascend into art. Our hobby isn’t. It’s feet are stuck in the mud, I guess. And as long as we believe that it is so– it will be so.



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