Decal Love

Okay so I worked on the primary guard, found some old rubber pedal block inserts to make correct looking pedals, and bought another two-stroke road bike. I guess it's time to get over this decal hump before the flame dies down and I lose interest. Worse comes to worse, I sand these decals off and buy white decal paper and go that route. Remember the decals I printed were on clear paper so they were somewhat translucent and the areas that needed to be white were not. I decided to make a mask and put down a thin layer of white paint behind the decal to help the colors stay true and to reveal the white lettering and drop shadows. White is a color that doesn't print on decal paper(unless you use an obsolete Alps printer). Thus the need for a mask. Registration could be tricky as I would need to keep this white mask slightly smaller than the decal except where the white meets the edges. I don't want a white border where one shouldn't be. What a pain!....... but with the obstacles I've already faced, I'm properly motivated to do this. After carefully cutting a negative mask from one of the paper prints of the decal, I sprayed adhesive on the back and somewhat arbitrarily placed it on the tank. I had to add in a few areas in the center of letters to allow the yellow to show through the in the end. I broke out the old Vega 2000 airbrush from the modeling days and mixed some gloss white pretty thin. A spray can would have been faster but would have crept behind the mask easier if and when it lifted at the edges and would have been thicker - leaving a harder edge. Also, I enjoyed digging out my airbrush and compressor. 175psi would be a little overkill on this part. After painting, I removed the mask and rubbed off some of the adhesive from around the white. When the paint had dried, I wet sanded it lightly with 400 and soapy water to knock off any edges. Off to the basement to see if I had any setting solution. Found two bottles that were about 13 years old. A third was the really good stuff but it was dried up. FYI, setting solutions take decals to a different level. The dried up stuff, for example, literally melts and swells the decal after application and, if you don't freak out and wipe it off, it shrinks it back down conforming it to about any contour you give it. It's crazy stuff. These two are much milder but they are all I have. I cut the decal oversized as the slight excess would be clear. After soaking the decal in warm water with a drop or two of Dawn soap, I slid it into place and tried to register it with the mask. Don't forget to use a microwave safe bacon pan for soaking and spill the water wherever possible. I rolled excess water out from under the decal with an old tee shirt. Then came the Solva Set around the edges with a small brush encouraging it into any bubbles at the edges. I'll let it dry overnight then check for silvering or bubbles. A pin prick or Exacto slice and more solution usually solves that. The other side of the tank may be a little off as I reused the masking template and a "peninsula" of letters can be off by a one or two mm. I reinstalled the positive part of the mask to help. If this happened(I have yet to apply the decal to the other side), I'll slice the letters of the decal apart where needed and shift them to fit. No biggie and as Dad used to say, "You'll never see it on a galloping horse." Below is a shot of the side I applied. Registration isn't perfect but better than I expected. Just wait 'till they both fade to white after about a month! I don't hope to deceive anyone into thinking it's anything but a decal..... or that this is actually a Cyclone!