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Why do Tamiya decals suck so bad....


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Finally I have to say something after years of dealing with Tamiya decals that are thick and will not conform to panel lines and such, I mean its really bad when you can feel the ridge of the decal on your model with your finger! Paying $271 for a Mosquito and the having spend more for decent set of decals and stencils that by all rights should be included in the kit. Can't they outsource them like other companies? Or make their own with new tooling not from the 1980's which I pulled an 80's kit out and compared the decals and I swear they are of the same tooling! I hope that Mr. Tamiya will read this.

Thanks for reading my rant

Denis

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I usually replace them, I have used them but I usually go AM just because I tend to not want to do the options in the kit as that is what a lot of people do.  I have found that they can be conformed into panel lines etc with solvent.  I have used them with no major complaint.  Sometimes I like the thicker nature.  For example if I am doing U.S. insignia decals I might want a thicker decal so nothing shows through from behind.  On a positive note airplane wise I remember when I built their P-51D the first time, I did build Petie 2nd with decals out of the box, one of my all time favorite p-51’s.  It had a nice two part decal for the markings I thought it looked great.  I think I used the kit insignias and the works.  There was not much a.m. at the time as I bought it and built it as soon as it was out.  

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Many years ago Tamiya, realizing their reputation for crappy decals, flirted with having "better" decals done in the US.  Unfortunately they used Lloyd Jones, and they were (like almost all of Mr. Jones' work) printed by a company called Colortone in Los Angeles.  In addition to really poor quality artwork, Colortone couldn't color match their way out of a wet paper bag, plus their decals were widely known for shattering at the merest hint of water.  Tamiya, justifiably, got a very bad taste in their mouth about it, and quickly abandoned the idea.

 

Of all the myriad things the Japanese have tried their hand at, and almost all of which they succeeded wildly (think transistor radios and cameras in the 1950s, motorcycles in the 1960, and passenger cars in the 1970s and beyond), printing decals has never been one of them.  It's a complete mystery to me why, given Japan's centuries-long history of producing incredibly high quality craftsmanship in things like the visual arts, pottery, lacquer ware, etc, they have never been able to master the art of silkscreen decal printing.  But they just haven't.  

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Well.....not everyone can be perfect at everything I guess?

Ive found the decals in their 1/12 bikes to be about the same as the previous decals as well. Thick and kind of nonconformist...little rebels that they are. Used all the decal solvents in my stash (even solvaset) with little improvement, until I used Tamiya “Mark fit strong” which kicked those decals butt to the curb.

might be (my conspiracy thinking here) their way of having everything under one controller...I’m sure I’m wrong though:innocent:

Edited by chrish
Typo
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The decals were the only thing that really let down my Tamiya Jolly Rogers Tomcat (the 48th scale kit).  The colour printing and colour density is actually quite nice, and they are very complete.  However, the film is really thick, and that is what spoils it.  This is especially noticeable on the black tailfins.  Applying a few coats of clear gloss and micromeshing the decals to blend them in helps, but I would need so many coats of clear there wouldn't be any panel lines left.  I think the film is deliberately printed thick enough for the average modeller to handle them with no problems, and they will snuggle into detail with the MrHobby decal setter and solvent, or Tamiya's own products.  Now, if Tamiya would print decals where you could remove the film afterwards....

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48 minutes ago, chrish said:

Well.....not everyone can be perfect at everything I guess?

Ive found the decals in their 1/12 bikes to be about the same as the previous decals as well. Thick and kind of nonconformist...little rebels that they are. Used all the decal solvents in my stash (even solvaset) with little improvement, until I used Tamiya “Mark fit strong” which kicked those decals butt to the curb.

might be (my conspiracy thinking here) their way of having everything under one controller...I’m sure I’m wrong though:innocent:

Many/most of their 1/12 bike decals (at least more recently) are farmed out to Cartograph.  They're great.

 

I find Tamiya decals to be incredibly inconsistent.  They are not always the same from kit to kit.

 

Sometimes they work fine.  Sometimes they are absolutely terrible.  Sometimes they are thick, sometimes not.

 

Sometimes they like to silver.


As a general rule,  I try to avoid using them.


They are, easily, the single worst aspect to almost anything Tamiya does as a company.

 

For a company that has equated its name with "excellence" forever, you would think they would do something about the decal problem.  But they are stubborn.

 

They tend to do what they want, when they feel like it.

 

 

Edited by ringleheim
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3 hours ago, boiss123 said:

Never tried Tamiya Mark Fit Strong is it good? Can you buy it in Canada?

I buy mine at the local hobby store (Express Hobbies) I’m not sure what’s in it other than PFM. But it does work... so far

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The setting solution(s) used are really irrelevant.  The fact is, that every Tamiya decal (and other Japanese manufactured decals) I've ever seen has been very thick, and often quite yellow.  That's the part of the process they've never seemed able to get a handle on, unlike many other decal manufacturers around the world (including the Chinese..).  I have no idea why that is.  I strongly suspect, although I have no evidence, that Tamiya and Hasegawa use the same company for printing.  I've asked, but have never found the answer to who actually does the printing in Japan.  It seems to be a closely held secret, even when it's someone intimately involved in the industry in Japan asking.

Edited by Jennings Heilig
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1 hour ago, Bob MDC said:

If you can get the original Mr Mark Softer/Setter that works. I also saw a clip of a Japanese modeller applying Tamiya decals using a "hair dryer" it worked !!

 

I almost always resort to using a heat source with Tamiya decals (either a hairdryer, or my own 'hot compress' method), and usually get pretty good results.

 

RdgQdg.jpg

 

These a decades-old kit decals from a Tamiya Rufe, coaxed into behaving with a hairdryer.

 

Kev

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