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Mike

Ultimate Decal Solution – Normal, Strong & Extra Strong

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Ultimate Decal Solution – Normal, Strong & Extra Strong

Ultimate Modelling Products

 

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Our friends at Ultimate have turned their focus on helping us get our decals to settle down, and recently sent us a triple-pack of decal solutions that as most of you will know already, cause a partial softening or melting of the carrier film in order for the decal to better conform to the surface of your model.  They're strictly for use with traditional water-slide decals, not for rub-down and carrier-film free decals such as those made by HGW and the like.  So far there's little penetration into the market of these type of decals though, so to all intents and purposes we'll be able to use these fluids on 99.999% of available decals.

 

Arriving in translucent plastic bottles with a white screw cap, they contain 35ml of solution, and they have their strength written on the side with the incitement to shake before use.  Who are we to disagree?  To test these new solutions I chose some left-over Tamiya decals, which aren't renowned for being the thinnest or easiest to settle down.  They're better than they were and are a lot less leathery too, but that's all ancient history now.  Decals settle down best on a glossy surface, so I applied a healthy coat of Liquitex gloss on my go-to test wing off an old Revell 1:72 Heinkel He.111, which is still wearing metallic shades from my last test, but is smooth enough to take decals with the addition of a clear coat.  The model has raised panel lines and a veritable trench of a gap between the wing and control surfaces, which will test their abilities.

 

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Each decal was treated exclusively with one type of solution, but you can mix and match if the weakest one fails to move the decal you are treating.  The fluid is clear and has a sharp acidic smell the further up the range you go, but other than being a bit unpleasant there isn't any reason to wear a mask unless you're working in a tiny area with no ventilation and happen to spill a bottle.  This leads nicely to my one concern – the bottle.  It has a very small footprint, so is easy to tip over if you are a clumsy oaf like me.  They've thought of that however, and have released a custom 3D printed base into which you can place your three solutions.  Incidentally, they also do one for the old Microscale solutions if have those.

 

To apply the decals, soak them as usual in water and when they are ready, place a dab of your chosen solution onto the approximate final location on the model with a brush, then apply the decal over it adjusting it as you go.  When it is in the correct position, expel the excess solution and any air from under it by your favourite method.  Mine is by rolling a cotton bud over them, taking care not to leave behind any fibres. Add a little more solution and if the decal needs time to adapt to the surface and settle down, leave the solution to do its work.  Extreme curves or panel lines may need another application or two as you see fit, always leaving it time to soften the decal so that it can conform to the surface.  Sometimes a gentle dabbing of a softened decal can be a benefit, but again you have to take care not to wrinkle or tear the decal, which may become very fragile during the process, especially if you are using the strongest solution.

 

The weakest solution (called "normal") is fine for flat(ish) surfaces with little work to do, or for decals that are susceptible to solutions.  Using a test decal on an old part is a good way to determine this.  The Strong solution is more suitable to decals over panel lines and on curved surfaces, while the Extra Strong is for the most difficult places to apply decals, or for the most intransigent decals that refuse to react to the weaker solutions.  They do exist, so everyone should have this "nuclear option" available, just in case.

 

So how do they work?  Very well in fact, but with a company name "Ultimate Modelling Products" you wouldn't expect any less!  Looking at the photo of the three decals above, I have numbered them 1 to 3, with 1 being the weakest Normal strength solution.  Incidentally and with the benefit of hindsight, the picture doesn't really do the settling of the decals over the panel lines justice, so apologies for that.  You can hopefully see that it coped well with the raised panel lines, as did the Strong solution, which also had to cater for some dust trapped in the varnish, which it did well.  The Extra Strong was used in the most extreme trench, and immediately softened the decal, which I managed to move slightly and had to reposition it.  This was when I tore the decal (my fault), which illustrates how strong the solution is.  You can still see the tiny break in the rearmost arm of the cross.  The first application caused the decal to settle into the trough, and a further application completed the job, with a little push from a cotton bud.  Mission accomplished, and with no drama or deviation from the instructions.  To clean the brushes, just swish them in water and make sure you recap the bottles immediately to prevent evaporation and spillage.

 

 

Conclusion

If you're in the market for a set of decal solutions to help you with your decaling, this is a good set and does exactly what it is supposed to.  There is also the option to buy all three with a handy base and wide brush, but that's out of stock at time of writing.  The info link below leads to the home page of the decal solution section

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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Great visual review - always good to have this kind of stuff in the arsenal.  The 3D printed holders are very cool.  Will be added to the shopping list.

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2 hours ago, Mike said:

They've thought of that however, and have released a custom 3D printed base into which you can place your three solutions. 

 

How kind of them! 

Or they could have been more helpful from the start and just used a short & wide bottle with a lower centre of gravity for their liquids. 

 

Lets get as much money out of modellers that we can! 

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1 hour ago, Tony Oliver said:

How kind of them! 

or you could just be... y'know, careful? :shrug:

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3 minutes ago, Mike said:

or you could just be... y'know, careful? :shrug:

Careful?

I'll have you know, we are modellers. We do detailed, pernickrty and pedantic,  but not careful :P

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30 minutes ago, depressed lemur said:

Careful?

I'll have you know, we are modellers. We do detailed, pernickrty and pedantic,  but not careful :P

And we do like shiny things if someone convinces us they are useful.

 

I've got a couple of Ultimate's 3D printed holders and they do serve a purpose but I remedied the problem of spilled liquid glue by attaching a Beatties Liquid Poly bottle to a very heavy drink coaster with a generous amount of Super Glue. 

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16 hours ago, Richard E said:

I remedied the problem of spilled liquid glue by attaching a Beatties Liquid Poly bottle to a very heavy drink coaster with a generous amount of Super Glue. 

Life.... uuuuh.... finds a way.... :)

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17 hours ago, Richard E said:

by attaching a Beatties Liquid Poly bottle to a very heavy drink coaster with a generous amount of Super Glue...

... which I'd spilt earlier ;)

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On 9/8/2019 at 9:24 PM, Tony Oliver said:

 

How kind of them! 

Or they could have been more helpful from the start and just used a short & wide bottle with a lower centre of gravity for their liquids. 

 

Lets get as much money out of modellers that we can! 

Seriously!?!   That's quite a cynical view of the world you have right there...!!!

 

Here's a challenge for you... I invite you to go and source a bottle exactly as you've described.  Here's your brief - It has to be around the 30ml mark, keep it affordable with the ability to purchase in smaller quantities and offering the protection to the contents with the correct chemical lining in the lid, it needs to be light and unbreakable so it can be shipped safely and affordably around the world (so, plastic basically), but not just any sort of plastic, it has to be the correct plastic container to carry the chemical contents.  It has to be easy to use, easy to handle and easy to store for customers.  You also have to be able to get a label on there with all the info you need to carry as well as visibly enhancing the product.  Let me know how you get on, can't wait to see what your results :D

 

We made the holder to overcome the problem of spilling the bottles, as we have provided solutions for other manufacturers bottles, which I and thousands of other modellers tend to do on a daily basis....  As with everyone, we're on a budget too and cannot afford the MOQ's the larger modelling companies can where they may have been able to have a bottle manufactured specifically for their product.  We're a small family run business...     

 

I am interested to know how many products you've brought to market to aid modellers and enrich their experience?

 

All the best

Lee :)

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14 hours ago, Ultimate Products said:

Seriously!?!   That's quite a cynical view of the world you have right there...!!!

So you’re one of the worlds first businesses that isn’t trying to maximise profits?  

 

Also playing devils advocate

(disclaimer - i’ve not checked your prices)

 

What if you offset the cost of a ‘custom 3d printed base’ against better bottle procurement? (In this example with a low CoG for spillage prevention, negating base)

 

Surely then 3 better bottles would cost less than 3 ‘standard’ ones plus a base? For a presumably small increase this would add another marketing feature to your product that it is ‘un-spill-able’ or what ever legal term you need to use incase of bizarre circumstances. [‘Act of god’ (pick any of 2,500) as some insurance policies state]

 

edit - 

 

If I have rattled your cage or believe I am talking nonsense please feel free to call me an idiot, I won’t take offence. 

Edited by Tony Oliver

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49 minutes ago, Tony Oliver said:

So you’re one of the worlds first businesses that isn’t trying to maximise profits?  

 

Also playing devils advocate

(disclaimer - i’ve not checked your prices)

 

What if you offset the cost of a ‘custom 3d printed base’ against better bottle procurement? (In this example with a low CoG for spillage prevention, negating base)

 

Surely then 3 better bottles would cost less than 3 ‘standard’ ones plus a base? For a presumably small increase this would add another marketing feature to your product that it is ‘un-spill-able’ or what ever legal term you need to use incase of bizarre circumstances. [‘Act of god’ (pick any of 2,500) as some insurance policies state]

You definitely have not tried to bring a product to market have you?

 

You were implying in your original post that we deliberately made the bottles that way so we could sell another product alongside!  Just to screw over our customers.  You couldn't be further from the truth!  This was definitely not the case and as I've said before, the holder was concocted to counter act the bottles 'spillability'.  

 

Don't forget, we also have to compete with all our competitors in this market so, we have to keep the actual product cheap enough for it to appeal to modellers.  I'll just reissue you my challenge above, get back to me after your research :D

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