How to remove a decal from a helmet and apply a new one

Message 2852, Jun 12, 2001
Hello Shark, Thanks for the tips on decal applications. I think your idea of using the dilute Vinegar solution is good; although I have not bothered to find out the exact chemical formulation of the commercial decal setting solution (Solvaset) that is available here in the US for this same purpose, I would not be surprised if it is similar to the composition of Vinegar (dilute Acetic Acid).
The use of tea instead of coffee to create an 'older' appearance is also good. Thank you for these ideas and suggestions.
Best wishes, DocBoink

Message 2851, Jun 11, 2001
> If you want to have an "old decal" it's better to put it in the water
> with some tea drops(it is better than coffee because the tea is more
> "refined").
I started with that and discovered that the effect was negligible.

Message 2835, Jun 11, 2001
Dear collectors, I'm just back to my office desktop from the week end to read your suggestions, "heads up" and "beware of...". I very appreciate your considerations about the decals for the early types of helmets. As you know I'm a military modeller maniac, too, so I would give to you some suggestions for a correct applications of decals.
1) use a not shaped tweezer to put the decal in place
2) drying the decal sofly with a cleenex paper
If you want to have an "old decal" it's better to put it in the water with some tea drops(it is better than coffee because the tea is more "refined"). This is use for modelling old vessel sails , too.
For a superb decal-work I suggest to add some vinegar drops to the water (and tea), because the vinegar transforms the decal in a soft and delicate clear film. I use this techniques on my models and you can find these infos in every military modelling magazines.
Hope this could be useful for you!
Bye, Shark

Message 1294:
Hi All, I have two questions about decals.
1. Does Solvaset work on water borne decals and on adhesive backed decals.
2. Can anyone explain how to use the Solvaset. Do you soak the decal before or after you apply it? What are the steps in putting on the decal,etc?
Thank you all,in advance,for your help and advice. Best regards, Mark Finkelstein

Message 1171:
Thanks for this information, Rich (on use of Solvaset solution for decal setting); I'll go hit up the local hobby stores again (and this time will not take "Duh..." for an acceptable answer). Cheers, DocBoink

Message 1167:
The wet type. Thank you. Mark

Message 1166:
At the risk of being tedious, were these the 1950s wet decals, or something with an adhesive backing? Rich

Message 1164:
On one I used the hairdryer method and on the other I used a decal remover (solvent) to remove the decal. The solvent method was a little more delicate and time consuming. Thanks to all. Mark

Message 1160:
I found it necessary to use Solvaset on the large meatball- it really helped it to conform. Actually, a modelbuilder friend did the work-- I just watched and "aaahed" occasionally. That brand is available in many hobby shops. Rich

Message 1156:
One additional comment on decals, as long as we are on the subject. Removal of old decals and MilSpec reflective tape has been addressed quite well, but I am curious about others' approach to and/or success with application of large decals to complex compound curvilinear surfaces, such as flight helmet shells. Application of decals is a straight forward process when application is to a perfectly flat surface. However, when the decal is a large round one (for example) such as the USAF winged star/US Air Force emblem used on early P-series helmets, the is sometimes a problem encountered in getting the decal to conform smoothly to the curved surface of the helmet. In the accompanying information obtained with the Scalemaster/Fox-3 reproduction helmet decals, mention is made of the technique of using a setting solvent to achieve this fully conforming effect.
My questions for the group are:
1) has anyone ever found the need to actually use a setting solvent in applying these large-area decals to a P-series helmet, or has complete, conforming adhesion been satisactorily achieved without the need for resorting to a setting solvent?
2) Local hobby shops--even ones that specialise in catering to those who build complex radio controlled wooden scale aircraft models--seem not to know anything about setting solvent solutions, despite Scalemaster and Fox-3 insistence that these are commonly available at "better hobby shops"; has anyone a specific brand that they have used and feel comfortable with in decal applications to their helmet shells?
3) Has anyone specific examples of problems encountered in this (decal application) process or run into difficulties that were not fully anticipated?
4) Finally, what specific steps have been taken by others to protect the decals after they have been successfully applied to helmet shells undergoing restoration or rebuilding (i.e. application of a clear top coat or transparent matte finish spray, etc.)? Thanks and good night, DocBoink (Boink out till tomorrow).

Message 1155:
Share with us exactly how you accomplished this, please! Rich

Message 1153:
Thanks to all for the advice on decal removal and installation. The removal went well and when I get the new dacals I can install them. Thanks to all of you. Best regards, Mark Finkelstein

Message 1148:
Do not remove from the backpaper. (yet) . Rich

Message 1142:
Rich, When you say "soak it in coffee" do you mean remove it from the backing paper and then soak it or soak the decal and backing paper. It may seem like a dumb question but I don't have an unlimited supply of new decals and I don't want to waste one. Thanks for the information. Best regards, Mark

Message 1141:
To remove the labels it is quite easy. Use your wife's or your girlfriend's hairdrier. Chose the hot position and then use it very close to the decals. They will peel off in a blink of an eye. No solvent or sand paper required. All the best and ciao Moonbeam

Message 1138:
Any type of solvent is likely to remove underlying paint as noted prevously. For those with equal parts patience and zeal, I think the best plan is VERY fine sandpaper using the wet sanding technique. Be sure to have a replacement decal handy. Soak it in coffee before application to yellow the clear portions. Rich

Message 1131:
Hi Bluelight14, At our website under the "How-to" button you will find my first helmet article. Here you will find some advices how to remove reflective tape from helmets. Maybe this will work on decals too. First heat with a hairdryer. Then peel off the decal with a sharp knife. Remove glue particles by using a clean fuel (like the Zippo Lighter fuel). Best regards, Sven Scheffers

Message 1130:
Hi Mark, That might be a difficult one. If you get desparate the plastic modelling community use "Pollyscale Decal and Paint Remover" or "Strip-a-kit", but these two agents would also take away some if not all of the paint in the areas where applied. I haven't tried them myself, but since they are used for delicate plastic models I would guess that they wouldn't be too hard on a helmet. Cheers, Bluelight 14

Message 1128:
Can anyone tell me how to remove an old USAF decal from a helmet without damaging the surrounding paint. Thank you. Best regards, Mark Finkelstein