Not strictly a drone or model aircraft question, but I have seen multiple questions here about painting models, and this is also about the aesthetics.

When clearing my deceased cousins house, I found several plane and car models he was in the process of building 30 years ago, but he never finished them.
In 1992 he got in a motorcycle accident, which shattered his right hand leaving him with severely restricted movement of that hand. He never got back into building models, because of the loss of dexterity.

As a tribute to him I would like to finish those models.

What has me worried are the water-slide decals.
There are a bunch of them to be placed over painted areas (Humbrol enamel paint).
They have been stored at room temperature in a closed (dark) cupboard all this time.
I have used some 5 year old decals in the past without any issues, but these are 30 years old.

Would these still be usable after 30 years or is it better not to try to put them on at all?


It's probably safe to assume that they will no longer work. This source suggests that water-slide decals have shelf life of about 3 years. "After a few years the glue holding the decal onto the paper breaks down, fusing decal and paper together."

Because there is some variation between different decals from different manufacturers, they may last slightly shorter or longer than that in storage (like 3-5 years), but 30 years is probably too long. I think it's worth trying out one of the smaller decals just to be sure of whether it will work or not.

  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking along the same lines myself. It’s good to have a second opinion. And thank you for that link. I didn’t know about that and it is interesting. $\endgroup$ – Tonny Oct 18 '20 at 8:48

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