Do you have a SDGr Belldandy? DD Mike Hatsune? DD Beatrice or MDD Maria? All these Volks dolls have something very special in common: they all require waterslide decals to complete their characters. This is a particular scary proposition for SDGr Belldandy as her decals require installation upon her face-up. If you were lucky enough to be able to welcome her in Japan, you could opt to have Volks place these decals for you (though I heard complaints about the decals being wonky!). For the rest of us it was up to us to figure out how to apply these items as she, frustratingly, came with no help or instructions. This was also when the Tenshi no Sumika LA was shutting down- SDGr was the last LE lottery available and Volks USA had internal affairs to worry about- not issues with water slide decals.
AND SO…I embarked upon this experiment and applied my waterslide decales to Belldandy with wonderful results… Until six months later then the decals came peeling off of her face. *cue sad trombone* When asked about how to apply them, I turned to someone who knew *a lot* about the topic. A person involved in scale models as well as a vast amount of dolls the user: BeyondTime on DoA. (This article also includes links as part of the amazon affiliate program. If you need to find these outside of Amazon, let me know and I will help you track them down!)
With many thanks and much appreciation come this tutorial via Wolf on the Dollfie Dreams forum/Beyondtime on DoA. These instructions are an edited and condensed version of our correspondence on the topic and, while focused on Belldandy, can be used towards any application on resin or vinyl.
You need the solvent, a setting solution, and a clean fine point paintbrush. All of these can be purchased for around $15 total and are very affordable. I included a link to a full set of decal solutions in order to achieve the best result. I used Micro-Set and Micro-Sol.
- Microscale Micro Set – Setting solution for decals (softens decal base and improves adhesion) … also used as a decal remover.
- Microscale Micro Sol – Setting solution for decals (softens decals to conform to irregular surfaces for a “painted on” look).
- Microscale Liquid Decal Film – Restore old decals.
I would use a brush that has never been used before to avoid transferring color. I highly recommend the nail brush set I mentioned in my other articles on ‘Needful Hobby Things’. There’s so much selection and if one brush doesn’t work for you, you’ll have a few other choices to find one that does.
You also have to cut the decal very close to the markings. The entire rectangle is one decal with multiple symbols on it, so you have to cut each symbol from the main body. The closer you get to the edge of the symbol the better it will look. A sharp x-acto knife is needed for that.
I’d recommend a brush over tweezers to move the decal from the sheet to the subject’s body. Once the decal is loose you can use the brush to slide it off the backing and onto her face. The most difficult part is holding an itty bitty piece of paper about the size of her goddess marks while you complete the move. Tweezers also work for holding the decal so use whatever feels best for you depending on your situation, feel and grip.
Once you have your items for application I would read the website, watch the video, and read the instructions on the bottles. If you haven’t applied decals before please read all instructions carefully before beginning to use these products! Please also check the links at the bottom of this article as they will give you tips from people who have been building models for a long time. You can’t over-prepare for this procedure.
The hardest part is positioning them on the subject and the solvent helps keep the decal wet and movable. If matching markings for an anime character, I’d suggest finding some screenshots from the anime so you can compare while you work. Be sure to carefully examine some screen captures of Belldandy and see how the markings line up on her face. You want to get the forehead one low and centered on her forehead. For the cheek ones I drew an imaginary line between her ear canal and the bottom of her eye and lined it up with that line.
Use Micro-Set to help loosen the decal and keep it in motion while positioning it on the subject. Micro-Sol fixes it after it is in place. Whatever you do don’t use Micro-Sol on it until it is in the correct position. If you do that and realize its in the wrong place you will have to scrape it off, and that will undoubtedly damage the MSC on the surface of your doll. You can safely put both solutions on her face where the decals are, but I was really careful to avoid getting it anywhere near her face-up.
Additional Tips & Tricks
- Don’t over soak the decal in water or will float free and be difficult to manage. If this happens use the brush tip to remove it from the water.
- Don’t panic if it gets on your finger, just keep it moist and slide it onto her face.
- You can paint it with Micro-Sol as often as you need to keep it sliding around. If it gets on your finger just paint a bit on it there to keep it moving.
- Decals are really fragile, so be gentle with it
- Once it’s in place be sure to brush any bubbles or folds out and double check the position before painting it with Micro-Sol.
- I recommend using two brushes, one for each solution!
It’s important to note that no matter what decal you are applying, there’s no perfect canonical way these markings are drawn. Animation studios often farm cell drawing out to multiple shops to meet deadlines, so look over some images and decide what positioning you like and aim for that. I think what’s really important is that it looks good to you- not achieving some arbitrary standard of perfection.
Need more advice?
✬A great guide for all things water slide decal is located at scalemodelguide.com. Please visit their website for even more advice on how to properly apply decals.
If anyone has the official Volks Instructions for Miku’s tattoos please let me know! I would love to translate them for everyone’s benefit and add them here. Thank you! ❤
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