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Construction tip when applying the big decal
on January 30, 2012
I've built/designed flying model rockets and this one is well engineered (well duh, it's a rocket company!). There is one large decal that wraps around the entire rocket body and another arc-shaped decal that wraps around the entire capsule. So no painting is required (a nice bonus).
Here's a tip for applying the very large decal. It's easy to screw up and get buckles, a misalignment, or air bubbles. One mistake and you're screwed. To save yourself grief, get a wide container, fill it part way with water, add a drop or two of dish soap to the water and mix it (not sudsy). Run the large decal through the soapy water with the tacky side down trying not to get the printed side wet (a little is okay). Now apply the decal. Match the edge of the decal to the pencil line they've marked on the tube. Gently wrap it around avoiding buckles. As you work around, gently patting the applied area from the center outward to the ends using a dry paper towel. Work out air bubbles and excess water. Finally pat the entire surface until it's snug.
This technique has two benefits: you get a perfect tight finish (no trapped air), and second, you can always peel back and try again if you make a mistake. Just be careful not to excessively over-wet and keep the printed side mostly dry. Don't worry, this trick will not affect the adhesion of the decals.
Happy flying! Go SpaceX!