Orangeville, ON (James Doan) With the advent of custom decals, hand detailing has become a less common way to detail a model kit. The quality and accuracy of the most intricate writing and graphics can be easily duplicated with an inexpensive waterslide decal or dry transfer graphic. The number of suppliers is growing every year.

With input from some local modellers, we have compiled eight of the best common sense tips for proper care and application of decals.

1. Store your unused decal sheets in a photo album. The sheets can be placed in the protective clear pages and arranged in sections for easy reference. Sections might include race car numbers, license plates, flames, graphics, etc.

2. Cut decals from the carrier sheet with a small scissors or sharp hobby knife as close to the art as possible. The less clear film that is visible on the finished model, the better.

3. Before applying decals, carefully wash the body in a dishsoap and water mixture to remove finger oils and dust. Dry the body thoroughly using a lint-free towel.

4. While your decals are soaking in warm water, wet the area of the model upon which they will be placed. Once applied, the decal can be easily re-positioned before being burnished in place.

5. Air bubbles can be easily removed from decals. Poke them with a pin and press down around the bubble to remove the trapped air.

6. After burnishing a decal in place, gently wipe it with a paper towel moistened with a mild household cleaner. This will remove any fingerprints or setting solution.

7. Dry transfer lettering can be used for making your own graphics. Found in art supply stores, it comes in many styles, sizes and colours.

8. Old decals can be removed safely by soaking the model body in brake fluid. Wait until the decals are softened, then gently scrape them off.