Problems with Studio27 decals

Joined: August 29th, 2015, 4:23 pm

June 13th, 2018, 3:28 am #1

I've been using Studio27 decals for about a year and I just can't seem to achieve any success with them.  I'm mainly talking about their carbon fibre decals for F1 cars and other racers.  If anyone has any tips, I'd be very grateful given that I've become very frustrated with this brand and I've invested a large amount of money in several of their sets.  Here are the problems I'm having:

- resistant to setting solutions - don't settle down well (I've tried all the setting solutions I can get at my LHS - they do soften the decals but they never wrinkle up and settle down like a typical decal) 
- thick - they obscure detail
- brittle - they  break and crack very easily 
- don't conform - they don't settle into details or around contours - I have to crease them with my finger to get them to wrap around corners-this often results in cracks 

- I've taken to cutting decals up and trying to reduce the surface tension so they can lay down - this results in a patchwork appearance with many gaps

Like I said, I'm quite frustrated. I expect more from such expensive decals - they are extremely pricey.  Any tips at all would be appreciated.  I'm sure someone out there is getting good results...

Richard
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Joined: December 26th, 2007, 10:27 pm

June 13th, 2018, 11:17 am #2

I don't have any tips, but I can report almost exactly the same experience. I have concluded that they are just inferior decals. I plan to use the ones I have to make templates for other manufacturers CF decals.  Very disappointing.
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Joined: February 26th, 2005, 11:53 pm

June 13th, 2018, 3:15 pm #3

My only suggestion is to try using a hair dryer to soften them up.  But yeah, they sucked 20 years ago.  There used to be several alternatives but have not kept up with current products.
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Joined: December 26th, 2007, 10:27 pm

June 14th, 2018, 1:52 am #4

I tried a hair dryer and cloths dipped in hot water along with Solvaset, Micro Sol, Mr Mark Softer, and Tamiya Mark Fit with no joy. I was preparing to break out the Champ when I completely lost interest in the project. Are all Studio 27 decals sub par or is the poor performance limited to the CF decals. 
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Joined: August 29th, 2015, 4:23 pm

June 14th, 2018, 2:57 am #5

rlhart13 wrote: I tried a hair dryer and cloths dipped in hot water along with Solvaset, Micro Sol, Mr Mark Softer, and Tamiya Mark Fit with no joy. I was preparing to break out the Champ when I completely lost interest in the project. Are all Studio 27 decals sub par or is the poor performance limited to the CF decals. 
Well, I've only used six sets so my experience is limited - they were all CF sets - all the same though: brittle as heck.  Unfortunately, I have 13 more to deal with.  I may try using them as templates for another brand of CF decal but that's even more money - may be worth it to avoid an anurism.

I hate to bash a model company because I'm grateful that there are people out there who produce so many great products for a hobby that is always in jeopardy (ie. kids don't build models like when I was young) but in this case I'm particularly disappointed because Studio27 are just so expensive.

I will say though that they are beautifully printed and in perfect register.  They also have a minimum of carrier film around the edges.  I think the research they do is pretty good too - I've tried to find reference photos of F1 cars and good detail shots are very hard to find.

Anyway, Dear Studio 27 - please consider a partnership with Shunko or Cartograph - please!
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Joined: August 29th, 2015, 4:23 pm

August 18th, 2018, 7:31 pm #6

Hi Everyone,

I've been working more with Studio 27 decals and I am having more success than before.  Yes, they are still difficult to work with but I have discovered a few tips.

- Use warm water - this one is a bit obvious but sometimes I get lazy when applying decals and I let the water get cold.  I bought a coffee cup warmer to keep my water warm - works great and cheap on Amazon.  These decals release really quickly when the water is warm.  They release very slowly when using cold water.
- Keep the surface of the decal bathed in setting solution.  Don't let it puddle or bead up though - just keep lightly rubbing it over the surface for 5-10 minutes and the decal should soften up well.  The more complex the curve, the longer this will take.  Don't rush though since these decals crack up easily if rushed.
- These decals don't wrinkle up and then settle down.  Sometimes, after the setting solution has evaporated but before the decal loses plyability, I use a finger to push them down into recesses or around corners - need to be very careful doing this so the decal doesn't stick to your finger or break under the pressure.  
- Make a photocopy of the decal sheet - not the placement guide but the decal sheet itself.  This allows for easier identification and (there are usually more than 100 decals in these sheets).  Another advantage is if you accidentally ruin a decal, you will have a template to make a replacement.
- When cutting out the decal, be sure to leave the ID number of each decal attached - its easy to lose track and the placement guide is often difficult to use to identify the decal you need.
- Sometimes you have to slice into the decal to get it to conform.  Its better to think about this in advance of placement since its diffucult to do neatly once the decal is on the model.
- When there are multiple small decals that are used for complex shapes, its usually a good idea to place the small ones first since the larger ones will often overlap and cover the edges of the other decals.  This approach provides a neater appearance.


We'll, I hope these tips will be of help to some of you.  It takes a lot of patience to work with these decals but at least good results are possible.  If I discover any more tips, I'll be sure to share them.
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Joined: November 17th, 2006, 1:18 pm

August 19th, 2018, 6:02 pm #7

"I've tried to find reference photos of F1 cars and good detail shots are very hard to find.".

Look at the Japanese modelling magazine 'F1 Modeling'. I get mine from HLJ. 15-20 bucks (+ about 10 postage), a quarterly, lg format (think fashion magazine slick), glossy, clear, big images, printed on hi Q paper. An art mag actually. About 3-5 months behind current F1 schedule race coverage-wise . Some old F1 car 'articles'. Esp if driven by Jpn drivers or it's a Ferrari or Lotus. All Jpn, even the captions, but it's the pics you're really after. Superb! Tons of mega OCD details of each car/team. Few full car shots actually. Almost all close-up details. Heavy on the 4-5 top teams but 'lesser' teams given space too. A few build pgs too by the GREAT modeller Akihiro Kamimura.

Also the annual "Technical Analysis....Formula 1" by Giorgio Piola. No photos. All super great color technical dwgs. Make sure you get the English edition. They also come in Italian, German, etc, I think. Pub'd since the mid 80s. I've been getting mine from Amz USA recently. From a Brit bookshop before. Usually 25-35 bucks. Just this yr went to 50 bucks per but now covering two seasons instead of one. Guess the author-artist is getting old and no longer wants to face a yearly deadline??

I used S27 cf sheets (full sheets, not 'pre-cut') yrs ago for a 20th McLaren AM (pe, resin, etc) kitchen sink build. If I recall, the S27 cf sheet ran thick and I bathed 'em (the cf ones, not the markings) in Solvaset. Baby'g 'em (gently pushing/poking w/ a big brush, cotton balls and Q-tips) thru the whole process. I used warm/hot water for the dip-soak but no hairdryer. I only use a hairdryer, sparingly, w/ some metal 43rd builds. Sol, Gunze or Micro solvents are usually enuff.

There are tons of CF/kevlar sheets out there. Or were. Jpn, US, UK, French, etc. I favor the US Scale Motorsport and Jpn Model Factory Hiro sheets. The MFHs may now be OOP tho. I've collected a ton from a doz printers over the last 30 yrs or so. Check Grand Prix Models in England and HLJ in Jpn. EBays too. All are different. Thickness, printing sharpness, pliability, reaction to setting solvents, etc. Some, like MicroScales, are kinda lame but can still be used w/ my sci-fi vehicle and SF3D-MaK builds.
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Joined: August 29th, 2015, 4:23 pm

August 19th, 2018, 10:23 pm #8

Thanks for the info - much appreciated
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Joined: December 26th, 2007, 10:27 pm

August 20th, 2018, 12:42 pm #9

I appreciate the info, but putting that much effort into making a set of $30 decals perform as advertised is not what I want from the hobby.
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Joined: August 29th, 2015, 4:23 pm

August 20th, 2018, 9:40 pm #10

rlhart13 wrote: I appreciate the info, but putting that much effort into making a set of $30 decals perform as advertised is not what I want from the hobby.
I hear you bro - I think I'm on week three of putting these things on.  Almost done though :)
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