Frequently Asked Questions regarding
the application of Alps decals:
Most of my decal line is Alps printed by me (with the exception of sets BN-1, ICG-2 and ICG-63 that are silk screened by Rail Graphics.)
1. What are "Alps Decals" anyway?
Alps decals refer to decals made with an Alps printer. The Alps printer technology was discontinued in the US over a decade ago, and the machines are no longer manufactured. One of the cool features of these printers was their ability to print white.
2. You say the decals are thin. How thin?
These decals are *very* thin. That means they are fragile. Alps decals do not have an overcoat. That means you need to apply them with care, and not use those old habits you are used to with other Manufacturer's thicker decal sets.
3. Do I need to apply some overcoat to the decal sheet before I use them?
No, not technically. BUT, if you are new to Alps-made decals, I strongly recommend you use Microscale Liquid Decal Film in conjunction with these sets. A small bottle is $3.00 at any decent hobby shop and will last you a long time. You brush it on. It will level out and dry clear. After about 20 min or so, you can cut out the decals and continue decaling as normal. (Clean your application brush with Isopropyl Alcohol.)
4. But I thought you said you don't need to overcoat. Why are you telling me to use the Microscale Liquid Decal Film?
Applying the Liquid Decal Film strengthens the decals, which allows you to get away with slightly rougher handling during their application. Since it is a top coat, it also protects the Alps inks from any type of lacquer-based clear coats or weathering you may apply after the decals.
5. Hey wait, you mentioned weathering. Can I weather my cars after applying the decals?
Yes, you sure can. If you are going to be using any type lacquer gloss, semi-gloss, or flat finishes, please save yourself the heartache and use Microscale Liquid Decal Film. (This includes things like Testors Glosscote and Dullcote products.) If you are going to use Oil paints, turpentine etc., again, please save yourself the heartache and use Microscale Liquid Decal Film.
6. I get the idea. Use Microscale Liquid Decal Film.
You got it.
7. Do you print decals for other roads? I need lettering for Z Scale C&NW Ore Cars.
Nope. There are companies out there that do print custom decals. Rail Graphics, Microscale, Kadee and others would love to hear from you and make lettering for what you need.
8. What setting solutions do you use to apply your decals?
I use the Microscale Brand Finishing Products. Micro-Set (Blue Bottle) and Micro-Sol (Red Bottle). If you wish to use other stuff like Champ Decal Setting Solution or Walthers Solvaset, please be careful. Straight from the bottle, these are strong solutions.
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