Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Using Micro Set and Micro Sol

Hi all,
This week I decided to take some pics while I was applying transfers (decals) to my WB Terminators using Micro Set and Micro Sol from Microscale Industries and do a quick write up on how I use them.
I bought both of these a few years back. The purpose of them is to help the transfers stick and contour to non flat or irregular surfaces with no wrinkles and to give that "painted on" look, many professional Scale Modellars use both of these products and the finish is excellant. I'd figured if it's good enough for them it's good enough for my Word Bearers!!

The Micro Set (Blue) is the setter and the Micro Sol (Red) is the Softener. If you want a full description of how they work you can visit their web site for more details.

Microscale Industries ship all over the world without a problem, I had no problems when I bought mine direct from their web store (it can be tough to get these locally here in Oz).

Tools needed; Scissors, Scalpel, Tweezers, Gloss Varnish, Micro Set, Micro Sol, 3x Paint brushes (need to use seperate brushes for applying each of the products).

1. Gloss Varnish area transfer is being applied to. Transfers adhere to Gloss varnish better than any other surface. I would also apply the varnish the night before you want to apply the transfers, just to make sure the varnish is completely dry before you start.

2. Cut out the transfer from the sheet and then trim the excess film from the transfer. If you hold the transfer on an angle from a light source you will see the excess film, trim off the excess as best you can, but don't get stressed about it. Trimming the excess makes it easier to apply the transfer to small areas and makes it easier for the Micro Set and Sol to do their job. 

3. Dip the transfer into the Micro Set with tweezers and place immediately onto you cutting mat or tile (or whatever you use).

4. Brush on Micro Set onto the area where the transfer is being applied to, it doesn't need to be applied like a layer of paint so slap it on!!

5. Now check to see if the transfer is moveable on the backing paper (it only takes about 30secs), if it is it's time to apply the transfer. Using your tweezers to hold the backing paper in place on the area you wnat the transfer. Now use your brush with Micro Set on it to hold the tranfer in place while you slide the backing paper away, sometimes I had to use the back of the brush, this wont damage the transfer as long as your gentle with it.

6. Use more Micro Set to help position you tranfer if it's in the wrong spot. You will need to use plenty of it to flood the area the area again, but thats Ok as it doesn't damage the paint or transfer.

7. After a couple of minutes gently dab a tissue or napkin over the transfer, this helps to flatten out the transfer and gets rid of the excess Micro Set. It also helps the next stage.

8. Once you've applied the transfers to all the models your working on apply some Micro Sol. Let this dry over night. If there is still some wrinkling use some more Micro Sol until theyre gone.

9. You can now paint highlights or shade the transfer if you wish. Varnish the transfers at least once, you don't want these suckers to come off from wear and tear!!

The transfers have all been applied and a gloss varnish coated over the top of them

This isn't hard to do and the end result is a great finish!! I applied a Tactical Squad transfer to an Ultramrines shoulder pad on one of the bases and it looks like it's been painted on!! No wrinkles or scrunches! I'm very pleased with the end result. I'll make sure I take a close up photo of that shoulder pad as it's been Satin varnished, when I take the pics of the completed Terminator Sqd towrads the end of the week!

As usual if you have any questions or comments drop me a line...


  1. Hey Jase.

    Awesome tutorial! I hope you put it up into the FTW tutorials!

    This might actually lead me to use some transfers as the only reason I don't is how it is usually so obvious and almost looks like a sticker on your model but this gives me hope!!

    It would certainly be a lot quicker than always green stuffing symbols!

  2. Great Tutorial. Thank you for sharing. Please do it and post pics of the dullcoated figures as well. And maybe some Closeups of the decals?

  3. DJ - They really do look like they've been painted on, it somehow thins the decal and makes it flat to the surface. I was unsure before doing this but now Im 100% sold on the products. I'll send Ron an email and find out how I can get him to link this.

    Cannon - Thankyou for kind words. I'll be taking pics of the Terminators hopefully tomorrow. They've been coated in a gloss varnish, but the Ultramarine shoulder pad with transfer has been coated with a satin finish. I'll do my best to try and get a close up of that shoulder pad for you.

  4. I won't crosspost, but I just put up a tutorial on the exact same subject on my blog! We seem to agree on most things, although I don't see the benefit of soaking the decal in the Microset to begin with. Not sure what that accomplishes that soaking in water will not do.


  5. Sholto - Lol. I'm not sure that there is a big difference I just figured it would let the Micro Set to start its work earlier...

  6. It's great stuff, just be careful leaving the tip off if ya clumsy like me and knock it over that sucker empties faster than you can blink and say ohh C*%P. I put a thick band of blu tak round the base to stop it tipping if I've lots of decals to apply. Nice models BTW ;)

  7. I just bought the micro set stuff but almost half of my army has been decaled. And u know it looks bad. So can I paint micro set on already applied decal? Will it work? Thanks a lot bro.

  8. Hi anonymous, you should be able to use it, as long as you haven't varnised over the top of them already Just keep applying it until you happy with the results, let it application dry first and be mindful of the decal tearing as these soloutions do soften it.

  9. thanks. I've been trying this with my tactical marines. When i apply the transfer it has some heavy bubbles and the decal looks shaky. When I applied micro sol it softened down into some terrible wrinkles! if I brush on hard it began to tear apart. so, just apply the micro sol on and leave it there, and then apply again tomorrow and they will all be gone? Thanks a lot.

  10. Please disregard the above comment :D this thing work wonders :D the Emperor sent you brother :D just want to add that you need to be patient for the first application it look like the decal has been broken! But once dried it was perfect! And u need more than one application IMO. Great tutorial!

  11. I use this and found that a few coats of the red stuff after the original drying time thins the decal down even more. I then seal with Future Wash rather than the blue bottle which is a really nice solid finish. I have only ever used it on tanks though, so nice to see it here in use on some 28mm figures.