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Just out of curiousity, what do you apply first? Do you apply transfer stickers on a model before or after you hit them with a spray of gloss varnish? Just want to know, I finally got my striking scorpions fully painted, and just want to finish 'em up. Thanks!
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I'ld do the transfer first; it should adhere better, be protected and lose that shiny outline if you do it transfer first.
Up, up and away!
Ultimately it doesn't matter too much - but having done quite a bit of research and even more decal sticking... :rofl
I have found that it is better to put down a brush on coat of gloss varnish to the surface of the area where the decal will go. This will even out the surface and lessen the air bubbles you can get under decals.
After you apply the decal and it dries I would then apply another layer of gloss varnish to "protect" it.
To go even farther - here is some more helpful hints:
I have found that using a decal softner really helps mold the decal over the surface. This is especially useful over curved surfaces. I personally use a product called Micro-sol and Micro-set, that I picked up in a local model railroad store.
Another thing I do is when the decal is applied and has dried, I go ove it very lightly with an x-acto knife blade and lightly scrape any raised areas of the decal. Usually this isn't an issue with flat surfaces but curved surfaces can sometimes leave raised bunched areas at the edges of the decal. They should scrape off very easy.
Afterwards I apply the protective coat of gloss varnish.
Last but not least - I then spray the area with Testor's dullcote to get rid of the shine completely.
Here are some decal examples for you:
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Without having Slorak's depth of experience, I'll vouch for his method as well. I do a coat of gloss, then put on any decals and pen, then another coat of gloss, then dullcote.
Yeah, laying down a good gloss coat before adding decals is one of the most important parts of a really nice decal job. Flat paints tend to be slightly rough, and the decals just can't conform to every little imperfection - they're not paint, after all. This leaves little pockets of air trapped under the decals, resulting in your decals silvering and ruining the effect you're after!
A good gloss coat gives the decals a nice, smooth surface that's easy for the decals to adhere to, drastically improving the odds of getting it right. If you don't want to spray the whole model, a brush on type lets you get only the areas you need - Future Floor Polish (Klear in the UK, IIRC...) works wonderfully and it's dirt cheap - a real hidden jewel of the modelling world!
And as Slorak said, Micro-sol/Micro-set are excellent products - highly recommended!