MicroSET and MicroSOL
In a previous post by Brother Captain Angelus I read about using Microsol for decals. Microsol is a clear liquid that softens decals. You “paint” it onto the decal after it has dried. It will usually get rid of the clear edge of the decal that you can see after it has dried. See the “501″ decal in the picture below.
Now Microsol isn’t magic. I found that if you apply it after you have already sprayed a matt protective finish on the model it won’t help one bit. I also found it to be marginally helpful in removing the clear edge of the decal.
I looked online and found that Microsol is actually part of a two-part set. MicroSET is the first part.
Microset is also a decal softener, but it also improves adhesion. When used together, Microset and Microsol essentially make the transfer no different than paint. When used as I describe below, I actually was able to apply a wash over the decal without losing any detail or having the decal move. This is important since usually the bright colors of the decals are a stark contrast to the darker colors of my models.
The first step is to completely paint your model, applying any washes, etc. You can dry-brush before or after the decal application. I usually dry-brush after so the brushing effects can be seen on the decals, too.
The next step takes some tweezers, a paint brush, both hands, and some coordination. You need to paint the Microset onto your model then put the decal on it. The problem is that the decal takes 30 – 40 seconds to moisten in the water and the Microset dries in about 20 seconds.
Open the Microset and get your paintbrush in one hand and soak the decal in water with the other. After soaking the decal for about 20 seconds, dip the paintbrush into the Mircoset and apply it to the area on the model where the decal is going. Then apply the decal.
Be careful with the decal as the Microset is actually softening it. Try not to have so much water and Microset that the decal flows off, but just enough to keep it moist. After the decal is positioned where you want it, use the brush to gently remove the air bubbles and smooth the edges down. Gently is the key word here. The Microset will soften the decal to the point where it will conform to the shape of the model. This is perfect for shoulder pads.
Let the Microset dry for at least five minutes, then apply another coat. You don’t need to use a lot, just enough to moisten the decal.
Wait another five to ten minutes, then apply the MicroSOL solution. Again, you are not trying to drown your model. You need just enough to moisten the decal.
When it is completely try (at least 30 minutes), you are free to do whatever you want. The decal is now no different than the paint. You can use washes or more paint over the decal or even apply a wash to tone it down a bit.
Here are some picture of this method:
A Google search will provide you with a list of places to get Microset and Microsol. It usually sells for less than $4 for one ounce (which will last you forever).