HGW wet transfer Decals, some tips on using
I've recently tried HGW wet transfer decals and I totally love them, no carrier film, excellent printing and they do look truely sprayed on.
They work in a diffent way to normal decals, there's printing under a transfer sheet (similar to carrier film) when applied with Mr Mark Softener or setter it transfers onto your model and leaves the transfer sheet...well that's the theory
You need to cut from sheet, I usually trim 3 sides close to markings but I leave the 4th side a little more film to leave a tag (helps when removing the transfer film as I'll discuss later)
They work in a different way to normal decals, though you start applying by soaking in water to realease the film from the backing paper...I've found making a mix of 20% Mr Mark setter and 80% water for this better than just water, I keep it in an empty Vallejo bottle and put some on my cutting mat to soak them.
Whilst they are soaking to release I prepare the area I'm about to apply using Mr Mark Softener. MR Mark softener has a very high surface tension and forms droplets, its an aggressive substance and can damage paintwork (acrylics) and doesn't evenly distribute itself under decal like this.
I pour some into a dish, you'll see it forms a large droplet, add acrylic flow improver 1 drop at a time, you'll see it suddenly wets the bottom of your dish, stir and it's ready to use. When you brush this onto your model you'll see it now evenly wets the surface (doesn't damage paint the same like this).
Now you apply the decal like you normally would, possition and then use a cotton bud (Q tip in USA?) to remove excess fluid from under the decal. Roll cotton bud from side to side starting from center and work fluid out to the edge, wipe off excess fluid so no paint marking.
On coloured paints I've found it's still possible to repossition if quick, but found on metal you can't...best to be 100% certain on possition before rubbing down
Look to see all the decal is in contact with surface and that's it for now (as for panel lines, as long as they have sol in them, the meniscuss effect will pull the print into them). For larger decals I usuall lift each side of decal, just as possitioned, then use brush to apply more Mr M softener ensuring an even coverage (its important every part of print gets "wet" or it doesn't transfer and you get missing parts of decal).
Instruction say 6-8 hours to dry, smaller decals can be dry in a few hours, larger decals like roundals I usually leave overnight. Now you remove the transfer film (if you left a tag this makes it easier to remove. This usually comes off very easy, but if you feel resistance pull back on itself like you would with masking tape. Once the transfer film is removed you can clean the area using simple water and cotton bud
Most of us have micro set and sol, but unfortunately they aren't strong enough so use the MR Mark (these are excellent if forced to use Tamiya type thick decals).
I've always sealed these decals before any weathering, not risking destroying them.
You get spares on sheets I've had, I'd strongly suggest practice on a "Buster" before using on a project build
They advise Gloss clear coat on surface, I use Hataka lacquers (say that aloud 🙂 ) with Mr Color levelling thinners that dries satin/gloss (semi gloss/ gloss) so I don't clear, but if using AK with a Matt/ Flat finish you may need to. Or smooth surface with polishing stick ( I use Flory Models green/ white for this, but whatever is your choice).
Hope this helps,