This tutorial will cover the application of decals/waterslide transfers using Microset & Microsol for the ‘painted on look. The first step is to prepare your model by washing it with warm soapy water and then drying it thoroughly. This removes any dirt or grease that may be on the surface of your plastic model, which can hinder adhesion.
What are Microset and Microsol?
Microset is a unique liquid for those who would like their model painted on. It can slightly soften any hard shell resin or glue, which will cause easier adhesion with your surface because tiny air bubbles are prevented from forming through better contact between both characters, eliminating any design flaws!
Microsol, the solution for complex surfaces. Microscale Decals can be tricky to work with and often require some help from an experienced modeler. Luckily there is micro sol! It completely softens your decal, so it conforms perfectly on any surface without distortion or bubbles- perfect for creating realistic models in scale 1:48th or less than a quarter-inch tall.
Microsol is an excellent product for complex surfaces, but it’s not always necessary when working with small or simple decals. If you have curved surfaces like the Space Marine shoulder pad in our example that need extra help sticking to their cornerstones, then Microsol will give that extra strength needed!
Micro Sol is a revolutionary setting solution for all things decal-related! It’ll help antiqued the paint on your kit, make it easy to cut through vinyl transfers, and let you puree paint lines without any hard work. Micro Set is an amazingly strong water-based adhesive that allows decals to conform perfectly onto its smooth surface with amazing results.
Looks like this kit might be one of those “best choices” you’ve made in recent memory!”
How to use Microset and Microsol
Decals are a cheap and easy way to add detail to your model. But they can be tricky to apply if you don't know what you're doing. That's why we're going over how to use Microset and Microsol for decal application, step by step!
How to use Microset
Microset is a liquid that makes the decal stick more quickly when applied with water. It also softens up some types of vinyl to form around curves better, like on helmets or tires (but not all). Make sure the surface is clean and dry before applying it because if there's dirt or grease on the surface, it will resist adhering to the decal instead of helping them stick. And remember-Microset doesn't work with wall decals! (It works with most, though!)
How to use Microsol
Microsol is a liquid that softens up some types of vinyl more than water does. It's made explicitly for applying flat-surfaced decals to curved surfaces like the ones on helmets or car bodies, but it can be used on other kinds of decals as well. Just remember not to use Microset and Microsol together because they soften things in different ways, and you could end up ruining your decal if you mix them after using one without knowing about it.
Step by Step: How to Apply Decals with Microset and Microsol
First, apply gloss varnish to the area where your decal will be placed. This step is crucial, and if you encounter problems such as a visible border or air bubbles in this phase, it's most likely that the surface was not smooth enough - so make sure you get an excellent glossy finish!
Allow drying completely.
Cut the decal out from the sheet with a hobby knife and, gripping it between your fingers using reverse action tweezers, dip into water for 10 seconds. If that doesn't work, just put it back in again for another few seconds until you can gently peel off without tugging at all!
As you get ready to apply your new decal, ensure that the area is clean and dry. Then brush some Microset on so it will stick better!
Place the decal on top of a small amount Microset. Leave for a few moments to allow it to soften before applying more paintbrush strokes overtop!
If you use a moistened (but not wet!) cotton bud, gently press the decal down onto your surface and remove any excess fluid. The Tamiya brand of Q-Tips makes this process more accessible because they're tightly wound, which will keep fibers from sticking in areas where they don't belong!
If you find stubborn creases or air bubbles on your decal, carefully prick them with a pin. Apply Microsol and allow it to dry thoroughly between each coat until the decal is completely flat!
Apply another coat of gloss varnish to seal it in. The film border should be completely invisible at this point, and you're suitable for all eternity.
So you want to do some shading washes on your model after applying the decals. That's a great idea! It'll help blend in and provide that perfect matte finish for those who will be seeing it up close or even give them an old painting look if they prefer more of an authentic feel. There are plenty of options: Lahmian Medium is one popular choice, but don't forget about using painters' oils.
Tips for using Microset and Microsol
- Start by taping the decal into position on the surface, then apply Microset to the back of the decal.
- Allow 45 seconds to dry before applying Microsol directly onto the decal, then remove excess water with a paper towel.
- What to do if you have air bubbles after removing excess water? Wait for at least 10 minutes before removing.
- Apply the decal solution directly to the model, then apply it to your surface. Allow drying for at least 30 minutes before applying the flat coat.
- If you are using gloss paint, try adding a layer of matte over it after letting your decal dry entirely overnight. This will help keep the gloss from peeling off when removing excess water!
FAQ About How to Apply Decals with Microset and Microsol
Where do you apply the decals first before applying Microsol?
There is no specific order in which you should apply decals with Microset and Microsol. You can do it either before or after applying the solution, depending on your preference. Make sure that any of them has entirely dried before using another to avoid damaging the first layer application.
How to remove air bubbles from the decal without damaging the decal?
To remove air bubbles, use a toothpick and gently poke the bubble until it pops. If you want your decal to stick better, use some moisture.
What are other ways to apply an adhesive decal other than using Microset and micro sol kits?
You can also use decal setting solutions from other manufacturers. Some of these brands include Mr. Mark Softer, Johnson's Klear-Kote, and more.
What if I have air bubbles after removing excess water?
Wait for at least 15 minutes before removing them using an Exacto knife and tape around the edges of the problem area. Ensure that there are no visible marks leftover from where you taped because the decal will be removed with it. Then apply the decal solution directly to the model, then use it to your surface after waiting another 45 seconds for it dry again.
Hi! I'm Richard Baker, a miniature painter who has been painting for about ten years. My website is packed with great advice that I've learned from both books and personal experience on building and painting miniatures.