Tank Transfers

Classic short-frame models

Tank Transfers

Postby Otis » Mon Jan 18, 2021 7:55 pm

Having problems with modern urethane clear coat wrinkling up the water slide transfers for a 66 xlch. Been told to use less reducer, mist the edges first and allow lots of dry time. Hasn’t helped. Any ideas?
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Re: Tank Transfers

Postby psychwarlord » Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:21 pm

Otis wrote:Having problems with modern urethane clear coat wrinkling up the water slide transfers for a 66 xlch. Been told to use less reducer, mist the edges first and allow lots of dry time. Hasn’t helped. Any ideas?

I don't have a fix for you but I have just had the same problem. I purchased some water transfer decals from 'hdhummer'. They went on ok but once we put the a few light coats of clear on, small bubbles started to appear. Now after sitting for a month or so its got worse. It is only noticeable when you get up close, but still very frustrating. I wondered if there was still water trapped under there or the glue might not have gone off or gone bad?
I have been holding off doing the one on the oil tank till i can figure what the problem was. So keen to hear
Its a little hard to see in the pics
IMG_4171.jpg (22.86 KiB) Viewed 15362 times
IMG_4173.jpg (23.13 KiB) Viewed 15362 times
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Re: Tank Transfers

Postby wz507 » Thu Jan 21, 2021 11:02 pm

I feel your pain, as I’ve suffered the same wrinkled water-slide (WS) issues too many times in the past. Assuming the surface to which the decal has been applied was squeaky clean (no wax, no debris, no contaminants and prepped with 2000 grit paper), the WS was allowed to dry for at least a full day, preferably 2, you should be in a good starting place.

I note that many scale-model builders are adamant about using a “setting solution” during the WS application and claim this provides superior application/adhesion of the WS. One such setting product I am aware of is Walther’s Solvaset, which in my experience is a sufficiently strong solvent that it is clearly capable of wrinkling/distorting a thin WS decal. I would steer clear of this product for thin WS decals.

https://www.walthers.com/solvaset-decal ... 1ml-bottle

Another setting solution is Microscale’s MI-1, which to the best of my knowledge is a dilute solution of acetic acid (white vinegar) and in my experience, when used in minimal quantities does not distort WS decals.

http://www.microscale.com/Merchant2/mer ... ct_Count=1

The setting solution discussion above may have merit or it may be all smoke and mirrors, I clearly do not know which, but what I do know is that all my WS failures have occurred when applying clear, and more specifically, the clear upset the WS by swelling and distorting it to various extents. Perhaps this was because the WS was not adhered perfectly, but my intuition is that regardless of how perfectly the WS is layed down, you simply cannot apply a solvent-born clear that swells/attacks the decal and expect good results.

I had one painter tell me that his clear was solventless, (which of course it wasn’t) and it ended up damaged the decal like all the other clears have (small bubbles/pimples much like Psychwarlord described above).

I am not suggesting that I have an absolute solution for clearing WS decals, but I can offer the following thoughts, all of which focus on minimizing swelling of the WS.

Minimize solvent contact time by using the fastest solvent available
Minimize clear concentration to avoid thick, wet, slow drying layers of clear that can swell the WS
Use the fastest curing clear you can get to minimize the time between spraying and a cured coating (the cured coating can't hurt you but the liquid coating certainly can)
Use an airbrush for the 1st and 2nd clear coats to absolutely minimize the amount of material deposited (just a dusting each time) and allow it to cure well between coats

Once you have a well cured, non-swellable layer of clear sealing the surface of the WS, you can pour on the clear to whatever extent you want since it can no longer swell the protected WS.
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Re: Tank Transfers

Postby hayleyl » Thu Jan 21, 2021 11:55 pm

Hello all - the issue you are having is called 'frying' - it's a chemical reaction between solvents. Are the waterslide transfers in question screen printed? inkjet? or laser printed?
General rule of thumb, if WS transfers are old screen printed style, only use enamel paint and enamel clear. Modern solvents will react with older style screen print inks and soften the mylar material so much it will wrinkle while the base 'gum' remains the same. With older WS decals, the painted surface must be 100% dry (de-gassed)- enamel paint first, light enamel clear coat (wait till super dry) airbrush is a great idea for this, decal, light enamel top clear 1 or 2 coats, or what ever floats your boat. Critical that each layer is 100% dry or cured between each application. Patience will guarantee you'll get the best result.
Inkjet & laser printed WS decals using modern solvent based inks can be put over modern auto paint and modern two pack type clears work just fine as top coats. Good practice to put a light clear coat over paint, then sticker when using inkjet ones before final top coat. Laser printed WS decals seem to be a bit more robust. If you're using modern inkjet or laser printed WS decals, make sure they have been produced with UV stable inks. Hope this helps. Cheers Hayley.
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Re: Tank Transfers

Postby bill pedalino » Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:41 am

I read he above with great sympathy. I had the misfortune of applying the same exact gas tank decals shown above over new paint on my '64 CH. It took four unsuccessful attempts working with my body shop/auto restoration friend (and 4 ruined sets of decals) before I stopped trying to clear coat them. We used setting solution, no setting solution, room-temp cure, slightly elevated temperature cure, air brushing a very light, preliminary seal cost of clear, lower reducer concentration, etc., etc., etc., all producing he same failed result.

After some research, I arrived at the same conclusion that was stated above - the reducer in the clear interacts with the polymers in the decal and causes the expansion, mis-adhesion and bubbling. Oddly enough, it worked on the oil tank decal but not on the larger gas tank decal. I just got lucky with that one.

My research also led me to the learn that the water-slide decals that we used to get with our Revel car models when we were kids were a totally different product than those produced today. They were slightly thicker, made from different plastic compositions and had superior glues. In fact, in the early to mid-1960's Harley didn't apply a clear coat over the tank decals; they were that tough. I remember trying into to remove one from my first '64 CH when I was in my early 20's (MANY years ago) and I had quite a time of it. The 1950's and 1960's were considered the 'heyday' of decals in that industry. Not so much any more.

What I finally ended up doing was applying One-Shot clear sigh painters enamel over the fully dried decals and its lasted for almost 3 years now. It looks Ok. However, in considering myself a restoration 'purist' I stayed away from vinyl decals for authenticity. However. I recently applied them to my '79 shovelhead bobber noting that the detail and quality of the new vinyl decals is very precise. After applying them I'm very pleased with the final result. In fact, after clear coating the profile, while slightly higher than a water-slide application, is more than acceptable without any of the malfeasance associated with water slide. I'm a vinyl convert now.
bill pedalino
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Re: Tank Transfers

Postby murph » Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:52 pm

Just an FYI they never cleared over the decals in the early years. Birch white over the main color and slap on the decal.






Of course they will get trashed over time when you ride it at some point. I did clear over my 62 tank decals and it was a PITA
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Re: Tank Transfers

Postby wz507 » Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:13 pm

Since the last post here I had the opportunity to consult 2 professional painters that do motorcycle restoration work on the challenges presented by water slide decals and clear coating thereof. They both acknowledged that earlier in their careers they too had fallen victim to the insidious water-slide wrinkling defect when clear coating and had to devise means of avoiding it. Below are their suggestions to avoid wrinkling the decals. Although these professionals were completely unaffiliated (different parts of the country) their methods of circumventing the water-slide wrinkling were nearly identical. They counseled as follows.

Base paint must be very well cured (days)
Base paint must be prepped by sanding prior to decal installation (2000 grit)
Decal must be applied as smooth as possible with no bubbles or defects present (setting solution can assist here).
Decal must be allowed to dry fully (days?)
An intermediate coat (not final clear coat) must be applied over the decal

Painter 1 Intermediate Coat
Use House of Kolor Intercoat Clear SG100 thinned 2:1 as directed
Apply with conventional gun and dust on so light you can barely see it deposit

Painter 2 intermediate Coat
Use 1-Shot Sign Painters 4005 with 4007 curative and minimal additional solvent
Apply with an airbrush and dust on extremely light from decal borders inward

Many intermediate coats are required in order to fully protect the decal, allowing adequate dry time between coats to allow solvent to fully flash off
After decal is fully covered with intermeidtae coat and fully dried, sand with 2000 grit paper to smooth and blend decal edges to base coat
Apply preferred final clear coat

An important side note - both of the intermediate coats mentioned above are fully capable of swelling and consequently wrinkling a water slide if applied in a heavy wet coating which leads to extended "wet time". The above instructions are consistent with minimizing "wet time", i.e., the time solvent contacts the decal, which in turn minimizes the probability of the solvent swelling (wrinkling) the decal film. Swelling of the decal film is no different than using paint remover to swell an old paint film, thereby rupturing the bond between the paint film and the substrate below so it can be removed.
Once a sufficiently thick layer of intermediate coat is applied, dried and cured, a protective film is present atop the decal that is impervious to the final clear coat.

Hope this helps. Keep us posted as we are all interested in the ultimate outcome of your endeavor.
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