Vinyl Graphics Workshop - RC Groups
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Mar 08, 2010, 02:22 PM
Capt.Crash's Avatar

Vinyl Graphics Workshop

I need some help in appling my first set of vinyl graphics.

This set is rather complicated as can be seen in the attached pic.

I can't find much on the subject in the boat threads, so I thought a new thread might help me.

I need the do and don't of how to apply this expensive eye candy.

I look forward to hearing from all you experienced modelers.

Last edited by Capt.Crash; Mar 09, 2010 at 08:03 AM.
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Mar 08, 2010, 03:27 PM
USA'd ex Brit
toesup's Avatar
Are you going to attempt the checkerboard in vinyl?...

.... or just the name?...
Mar 08, 2010, 04:23 PM
Capt.Crash's Avatar
The whole deal....I have the checkerboard graphics and it will be quite the challenge to figure out how they go. Right now I need the experience of how to actually apply them. I'm undecided on the soapy water (wet) method or just go for it and put em where they first touch. I can't find anyone who has actually used this set of checkers. I have a week before my paint will be dry enough...maybe I'll figure it out by
Mar 08, 2010, 04:39 PM
Retired for now
I've not used any vinyl graphics before but I can tell you that it's way better to be able to move them around some while putting them on. I assume you can use soapy water ,slide the graphics around to where you want them and then squeege the water out. Vinyl sticks instantly and easily tears when you try to pull it up to move it. I'd sure want to use the water if it were me. Pete
Mar 08, 2010, 05:28 PM
Registered User
I have seen sign guys that do vans use a sheetof somesort of low stick paper over the letters and then peel off the backsid of the vinel I think they use window cleaner to move it around and sqeagie it out when it it is all set and then slowy peel back the low stick paper. I would call a sign shop or Cali graphics or were you bougth them from
Bob Big
Mar 08, 2010, 06:02 PM
Restful User
Jacques Flambeau's Avatar
You have a yellow-painted boat and you want to put the black checkreboard squares on it? What is the brand-name (or source) of the vinyl graphics? We need a littlr more info on what you are using.

There are compound curves on the hull and it's going to be a bit tricky to get everything to line up just so.

Mar 08, 2010, 06:36 PM
Restful User
Jacques Flambeau's Avatar
Been wracking my brain... in the '80's there was a guy who did amazingly beautiful Monokote (heat-activates aircraft film covering) work. Wrote a book or two on the secrets. I've got one, somewhere. Although you are using vinyl graphics, the layout work will be the same. Anyone remember his name?

Anyways, finding Monokote techniques will be the key, IMO.

Mar 08, 2010, 07:34 PM
USA'd ex Brit
toesup's Avatar
Originally Posted by Hoghappy
The whole deal....I have the checkerboard graphics and it will be quite the challenge to figure out how they go.
That's an understatement!

I would paint the boat yellow and then paint on the black squares.. that's going to be a lot easier than trying to line up 'squares' on all those compound curves... plus, the square's are not square...
Mar 08, 2010, 09:25 PM
Registered User
Non square question. What in the world is that thing behind the drivers head? Some sort of early aero design?
Mar 08, 2010, 09:29 PM
I'm tired.....
jjac's Avatar
You need to mask the vinyl with some masking first. If it is a good grade of vinyl it will conform to the curves of the boat. Look on ebay and buy a small bottle of rapid tac and spray the boat down with it apply vinyl and squeegee the vinyl down. On some of the tighter curves you can wave a heat gun over the vinyl for a second or two to make it more pliable. I am a sign guy and do vinyl everyday! Been building signs for 15 years now.
Mar 09, 2010, 12:28 AM
Registered User
mr_impervious's Avatar
The guys on Two Guys Garage spray blue Windex all over where they're going to put the vinyl graphic. This lets them reposition a little bit, then when it is in it's place they squeegee the liquid out. They use an Xacto knife to open air bubbles out and for curves.

I'd try this Windex method on a scrap piece first, though. Just in case.

I'd also check the import car tuners websites. Those guys are putting vinyl graphics everywhere. They should be able to help.
Mar 09, 2010, 12:48 AM
RC boat Rock Star
Instead of using soapy water you can use a Windex type of glass cleaner or windshield washer fluid, the latter being cheaper as you're going to be using a lot on a design like that. It does work well as my sister and brother-in-law have a laser cutting business and after I told my bro-in-law about windshield washer luid that's all he uses now when putting vinyl lettering on store windows.
Avery makes a good vinyl or Top Flite's TrimKote which is easier to get unless you go through a signmaker's shop.
There are some people who can do wraps for your hull also but from what I've seen, that can be tough to lay on.
Mar 09, 2010, 08:01 AM
Capt.Crash's Avatar
Originally Posted by Bill Harris
You have a yellow-painted boat and you want to put the black checkreboard squares on it?
Originally Posted by Bill Harris
What is the brand-name (or source) of the vinyl graphics? Wesley's Custom Graphics
I've read that you do NOT want to use anything with ammonia in it like Windex because it will ruin the tacky on the vinyl....but I also hear from others that Windex works pretty good.

I read that I need to mask a piece of tape across the top of the piece to be laid then fold the graphic over using the tape as a hinge to keep things lined up. That may work on some pieces but I don't know about masking on top of newly laid vinyl for some of the other pieces.

I remember doing the "monocoat" graphics on a few planes back in the day and I used soapy water for that, but that was also on a wing surface that was fairly flat, or a fuselage that was mostly flat.

420TEE the thing behind the head is a head rest. A lot of the boats at this period of time used this configuration. The reason I chose this boat to build is because of that headrest and the cool graphics. I started a build thread here:

It seems there are a number of articals available on the web...I guess I should have done a search there first, but having that info here is not a bad thing. Below are several sites that I found with useful information.

Here is where I'm at on the build.

Last edited by Capt.Crash; Mar 09, 2010 at 08:13 AM.
Mar 09, 2010, 08:54 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
I have a friend who is pretty big into Bardahl. Let me ask him.

Mar 09, 2010, 09:01 AM
Registered User
CornelP's Avatar
Windex is ok only for decals... it will ruin the glue.
I would say use some soapy water (dish detergent is very good...). Cut the graphic into 3 or 4 main parts, to apply easier. Think about the angles of view of the boat to make sure that a small error will not show.
I suugest you cut as in the attached pic. Use plenty of soap, better if you use a spray for it, and make sure you mark before applying, just a thin line with a pencil is enough. I do not know what transfer media you have, but the paper based one is a bit better. The transparent vinyl one is very good when positioning, but a nightmare to flex on surfaces....
Two more suggestions: buy another set of graphics, just in case, and, if were you, I would still do this with an airbrush, much easier and more precise...

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