AFT Decals 1/35th scale NATO and Modern Ammo Box Stencils

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AFT Decals 1/35th scale NATO and Modern Ammo Box Stencils

Post  sharkmouth on Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:23 am

AFT decals is a division of Archer Fine Transfers (note the acronym this name makes?). They will strictly be water slide decals and are good news to many which are uncomfortable or unable to afford dry transfers. The decals are VERY nicely done and represent a good value.


The photo shows the water-slide decal on the left with the two relevant dry transfers on the right. For $7.95USD, you get the equivalent amount of markings as $17.45USD of dry transfers!


The black on the warning diamond was not as colorful as the dry transfers but the rest of the printing was spot on.

This new series is highly recommended.

Water slide decals are printed onto a film which has water activated adhesive. This film is a clear membrane which may be spot placed or continuous on the complete sheet. It may yellow with age when not used. Should the decal have yellowed, tape to a window which faces the sun and the yellow should be bleached away in a few weeks.

The surfaces to which the decal is to be applied should be clean and free of any oils, dust, and grime. The former inhibits adhesion while the latter items will be seen after application of the decals.


Tools needed are tweezers, a soft wide brush, setting solution, solvent solution, blotters, scissors, hobby knife, gloss coat, semi-matte (satin) and/or matte (flat) coat. Several of these items are to avoid silvering, whereby air gets trapped under the decals.

Gloss Coat the area to be decaled. This can be a spot coat or the entire model. When weathering is to be very light, as in the case of aircraft, the full vehicle should be coated with the gloss clear paint. Heavily weathered vehicles, as in armor, can have only the areas being decaled coated. The purpose is to provide a smooth surface for the decals to be applied eliminating the microscopic air pockets which cause silvering.

Note that some decals do not react well to an acrylic under coat such as Future. If this is your usual method, please test on scrap when using decals printed by eastern European companies.

At this time, I fill a flat saucer with water that is very warm, almost uncomfortable. I cut the markings which I want to apply away from the sheet. If the film is of the continuous carrier type, I use a hobby blade to LIGHTLY outline the marking. The idea is to cut through the film and NOT into the backing paper. Going slowly and gently, you will feel when the films resistance gives in and the blade will be resting on top of the backing paper.

The area to which the decal will be applied is laid horizontally and decal setting solution is applied with the wide brush. The purpose of the decal setting solution is to displace any air and to pull the decal taut to the surface as it evaporates.

The decal is dipped into the very warm water ensuring the backing paper has been thoroughly coated. It is now placed on a paper towel to allow the backing paper to absorb the water yet the excess is blotted. I allow about thirty seconds for most decals, they tend to curl up and then relax flat again. The curling happens as the backing paper expands before the adhesive releases the decal, and then the adhesive releases the decal allowing it to return to a flat state.

Using tweezers pick up the decal. If it was of the continuous backing film type, try to remove as much of the excess clear film with the brush. Now, use the brush to slide the decal off the backing paper and onto the surface. The setting solution should cause the decal to float a little allowing you to position it exactly where you want. When in the correct position, use a blotter (the corner of a paper towel is my choice) to soak away the excess setting solution. If the decal moved out of position, add solution and move back then whisk the solution away once more.

Now is time to apply the solvent solution. This solution reacts with the decal film to soften and elasticize it allowing it to conform to any surface details without distorting the markings. The solution often includes vinegar as the solvent. Apply with a wide brush ensuring to cover any areas where surface details are found under the decal as well as the film’s edges. The decal may wrinkle up during this process. It is normal so do not touch it for at least a few hours.

I normally wait overnight and inspect the decals in the morning sun. I look for silvering (trapped air), ripped decal film edges, and solution residue – in this specific order. If there is silvering, a few stabs with the tip of a new #11 blade followed by a dose of solvent solution normally cures it. If the edges are ripped, I gently use the sharp knife to score inboard of the rip and use setting solution to loosen the torn pieces for removal. In both cases, I must wait for the solutions to dry before going to the third scenario and using a wide brush in warm water to wipe away any solution residue.

Once satisfied, I seal the decals with a finish coat. Depending on the subject, this may be a gloss, satin or matte coat. Then, I allow one week for the finish to completely cure before applying any weathering.

Regards,


Last edited by sharkmouth on Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:36 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : division, not subsidiary)

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Re: AFT Decals 1/35th scale NATO and Modern Ammo Box Stencils

Post  ShawnGehling on Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:37 pm

Saul,
Pretty sweet, Great review, they are a little modern for me, but I can see a lot of uses
for them anyways.
Shawn

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