On The Bench 75: Enterprise B/Excelsior Project part 9 by Don Matthys

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Many of the small panel detail colors are accomplished with decals. The decals were created on my favorite drawing program Adobe Illustrator using scans of the models and pictures of the studio model as a reference for size and colors. Then they were printed out through an ALPS color dry micro dot printer. This method of decals as color is a great time saver and far exceeds the tedious task of masking and spraying the color panel areas which are mostly a light blue. The decal art even features minor shade variations of the light blue areas.

These custom decals are available from Don Matthys

Since the ink of an ALPS printer is adhered lightly to the clear decal film and sensitive to minor scratches of the pigments a coating of Microscales Super film is given to all the color graphic surfaces of the design prior to decal application.

Decal application then proceeded on by cutting close to the edge of the color. Microscales setting solutions of Micorset and Microsol are compatible to the Micromark decal paper. Even the stronger decal setting solution of Walthers Solvaset is compatible to the decal film and ALPS printer inks. But even still the application of decals is a tricky procedure and a process that is not to be rushed.

Some comments about the AMT kit provided decals are in order as well. On the AMT kit decals of the Excelsior which are screen process printed. (Silk Screen) I note that some of the color is off the clear carrier film so Superfilm was applied over the graphic and applied as the decal call outs from the kit instruction sheet.

The Enterprise “B” decals are four color offset process printed and on a thicker clear carrier film. I also note that the Enterprise “B” decal comes with “pre- yellowed” decal adhesive so when applying the decal make sure most of the yellowed adhesive is washed away before applying to the model. Just cutting close to the image will keep the yellowed adhesive off the model. Once again I found the setting solutions used on my DLM graphic decals are compatible to the kit supplied decals. Other ships can be named differently with different registry numbers using decals from  Web Games.

Decals were applied to the bottom of the Primary Hull first

Then to the top of the primary hull. The Thruster array panels (yellow triangles, red pinstripe are put in placed first and allowed to set. Then sections of thin blue lines applied are trimmed and set into place on the outer beveled edge of the Primary Hull.

On the top of the Engineering hull the panels are painted a MM Light Ghost Gray and gloss coated then panel detail decals are applied one section at a time.

After all the decals are set and dry in place they are inspected for air bubbles. (silvering) To get rid of any silvering the area is poked with a new sharp point of an #11 blade and a setting solution of Walther’s Solvaset is brushed on and let to dry. A reinspection is made and the procedure is repeated as needed.

When I was satisfied with the decal results a light coat of Microscales Clear Satin is sprayed on the entire surface of the model.

On to part 10

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