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Apply decals before or after clear coat?


Hemi Killer
12-28-2013, 05:57 PM
I just painted my F40 Monte Shell. I used Zero paint. I was going to paint the headlight buckets and the black trim around the side after I clearcoat. Should I apply the decals over the Zero paint, then clear coat, or clear, then apply decals, then clear again?

yelo
12-28-2013, 06:27 PM
I'd say after... Decals will be easier to apply on a level even surface (clear coat) than on a dull ruff one (base coat) AND in my opinion will be more authentique too, real race cars arent clear coat over the decals....

bradfordian
12-28-2013, 08:00 PM
Well if you intend to polish the paint after applying the decals you will need clear ontop the decals surely or else you will destroy the decals.
:)

Hemi Killer
12-28-2013, 08:55 PM
the paint will need to be clearcoated. I was just worried it would build up too thick if I clear, then decal then clear again.

freakray
12-28-2013, 10:01 PM
Unfortunately, there are a hundred different opinions on this.

Some points to consider:
- if you clear over decals you risk damaging the decals.
- if you clear over the decals and then polish the paint, you risk polishing through and damaging the decals
- IRL race cars don't have clear over the decals (interesting argument, since everything in scale looks different anyhow)
- IRL some race cars don't even have a clear coat on them (see Nascar here)

So, in my personal opinion, whether or not you clear over your decals is up to you. Me personally, I polish the paint and then decal and wax after decals.

stevenoble
12-29-2013, 06:47 AM
There are two basic methods of doing this if using Zero or any other base coat paints that dry flat finish, neither of which is wrong and generally down to personal preference and how you like to work. The first method is to prime, paint and then final clear coat to a finish, polish the finish to perfection, apply decals and then wax the decals, finished. The second is to prime, paint, apply a few very light clear coats, just enough to seal the base coat paints and stop them from marking. Then apply your decals, allow them to dry and then apply final clear coats to a finish and polish that to perfection.
Personally I prefer the second way mainly because the clear seals and protects the decals. I know most race cars are not cleared over the decals, but I think it just looks better if they are and gives a more uniform finish. The second method is more labour intensive than the first, so that's also worth considering before you decide which one to do. Also be aware that if you are going to do the second method where you clear over the decals then any window trim painted before the clear will end up with a gloss finish. I always paint the window trim at the end after all the clear coating is done, so that I end up with the correct matt or satin finish and not gloss..

Hemi Killer
12-29-2013, 08:21 PM
Thank you for everyone's input.

My ideal process will be: Clear, sand polish, decals. Then see how it looks. If the edges of the decals look nice, then no more clear. Trim will be done last, before decals I suppose.

I want to be very careful. I always have issues painting bodies and this car is nearly done. I don't want to screw it up.

stevenoble
12-29-2013, 08:27 PM
Thank you for everyone's input.

My ideal process will be: Clear, sand polish, decals. Then see how it looks. If the edges of the decals look nice, then no more clear. Trim will be done last, before decals I suppose.

I want to be very careful. I always have issues painting bodies and this car is nearly done. I don't want to screw it up.

The edges will depend on the quality of the decals. If they are nice and thin it shouldn't be a problem and you'll hardly see them. However, thicker decals will show, sometimes even after clear coating you won't eliminate the edges totally. Painting the trim before you apply the decals is correct if you are not going to clear them again. Just take your time and don't rush any of the stages and it should yield a good result. Post some pictures of your progress..

Hemi Killer
12-30-2013, 12:58 AM
Here is my WIP thread

http://www.automotiveforums.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=1078265

I have a similar build going with the R390 GT! which I all but abandoned because I screwed up the paint job several times.


They are the cartograf decals that come with the kit, they should be okay. I probably won't do them all in one sitting, so I don't have the urge to rush anything.


thanks for your help.

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