Rehabbing Old, Yellow Decals

by Joe Suszynski

Ok, you’ve had that kit sitting on the shelf for the past 25 years or you managed to acquire this two decade plus beauty from a dealer at a swap meet, etc. Sure, the kit is crude, it’s poorly detailed, it’s got rivets like a WW I tank and it’s really a model of a 1950’s jet, but it’s the only kit available of that favorite subject of yours. The last straw after looking at all the problems is that the decal sheet has all the decal film turned yellow. Well, it’s this last problem that might at least stand a chance of being fixed thanks to a little technique that I learned from ATP, who are the folks in California that sell airliner decals.

They say that yellowing is usually caused by chemicals in the paper carrier being absorbed into the clear coat. Setting the decal out on the sunlight for several days sometimes will reverse this process. This has worked for me on 30 year old Hawk decals as well as a 1970 vintage VEB sheet that had turned brown. A window sill with a southern exposure works quite well. Taping the decal to the window works better in the low angle winter sun. However, you’d better have double pane window without condensation or frost on it, otherwise the decal sheet gets wet and that’s the end of that.

Original text from “Techniques: Rehabbing Old, Yellow Decals.” Plastic Novelty Items, V4,N6.