Decal Solutions

Decal solutions are designed to improve the adhesion of decals to the surface of a model and to help them conform to curves, panel lines and other surface features.
They fall into two categories:

Setting Solutions
These are designed to be applied to the model's surface by brush before applying the decal.

Decal Solvents
Decal solvents are designed to soften the decal to help them settle down into panel lines or to conform smoothly around curved surfaces.
They should be applied sparingly to the decal with a brush after it has been applied.

Microsol and Microset
Gunze Mr. Mark Setter and Mr. Mark Softer
Humbrol Decalfix
Other alternatives


MicroSol and MicroSet

If using these products for your decaling, apply them in the following order;

Set then Sol.

It tells you on the bottles as well.

MicroSet (Blue writing on bottle) is an adhesion enhancer and goes on the model before the decal.

MicroSol (Red writing on bottle) is only needed if the decals are lying across surface detail. It softens the decal film in extreme cases will actually deSOLve it so test on an unused decal first.

Repeated applications of Sol will also get decals to conform to compound curves. Don't touch the decals after applying Sol until they have completely dried again.

Both Sol and Set react with Klear. They'll turn dried Klear milky if you leave them pooled on it. Usually it turns transparent again as it dries, but sometimes it doesn't. They also react with wet Klear to make a sticky gel. Don't try to use the "puddle of Klear" technique for getting the decal down AND try to use Set or Sol to soften it at the same time. Klear should drag the decal down onto the surface as it dries anyway.

When you apply Sol, the decal will usually wrinkle alarmingly. Ignore it. Don't try to blot it down or smooth it out. Put the model in the airing cupboard and leave it for a couple of hours. It will go down again...

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Gunze Mr. Mark Setter/ Mark Softer

These are very strong solutions which were originally designed for Japanese decals such as the ones found in Hasegawa kits which can be quite resistant to Microset/ sol.
Mr. Mark Setter is the setting solution part of the system and should be applied to the model before the decal. It has some adhesive properties and quite often no decal solvent is needed
as it acts to draw the decal down tightly to the surface. Mr. Mark Softer is the decal solvent, and is much stronger than Microsol. Always test it on a spare decal before use. Never allow Mr. Mark Softer to "puddle"
on the decal as it will almost certainly destroy the area beneath. Don't be tempted to apply it repeatedly, allow it to dry for at least an hour before reapplying.

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Humbrol Decalfix

Another setting solution, albeit a poorer relation to the others available. Decalfix can stain paintwork if the excess is not cleaned up promptly.

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Daco Decal Solvents

Decal manufacturer Daco sell a range of decal solvents in various strengths from one that is much like Microsol through one even stronger than Mr. Mark Softer.
Great care is recommended when using the stronger versions of Daco solvent.

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Other Alternatives

Household white vinegar can be used as an alternative to commercial setting solutions. Some commercial setting solutions are, in fact, nothing more than white vinegar.
Some modellers have succesfully used Tamiya Acrylic Thinner as an alternative to commercially available decal solvents.
A little Klear brushed onto the model directly before applying a decal will draw the decal into the surface as it dries and contracts in much the same way as Mr. Mark Setter.

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