I see champ decals on auction sites but I am not a bidder since I think they are too old and decrepit. Any guidance on this?

Hokie 71

Chief of Operations, Free Union, Blacksburg, and Albemarle Railroad (FUBAR)

Original Post

Generally good to use, but whenever in doubt clip off a bit that you are not going to use and test for stability.

If they fail the test, overspray decal completely with Dull Coat or Gloss Coat, wait for it to be fully dry, and then use.

I've had more problems with other brands failing over time than Champ.

Not captains of industry, not makers of things, keep your vulgar monies! We are a justice sandwich, no toppings necessary. Living rooms of America, do you catch my drift? Do you dig?

I personally have never liked the Champ or Walther's decals as much as Microscale or Hearld King, as their film stock is a little bit thicker. And any time you coat old decals with either a liquid film or a gloss spray, you're making them even thicker, so it becomes more of a challenge to hide decal cut lines.

I don't know what road name you are looking for Hokie, but here's my list of current decal supply sources. The most recent I discovered is Tichy and they have quite a variety. I have yet to try them but I am planning on it.

This below is the railroad index page. Click on the road name listing in the long box on the left under "DECALS." Or click on "BY CAR TYPE"...


Next, scroll down to the bottom of the page for the decal line...


These folks have updated their websites recently. For the Highball decals, click on the photo of the train item type. There's also a photo link to the Industrial Models O scale decals, which I included below...



The following are mostly HO, but there's a few O scale sets...


Still others for consideration...





I have Champ decals that were probably printed in the 90's that are still good. However, they've been stored in a closet within an air conditioned house. Buying old decals off of auction sites can be problematic since you don't know how they've been stored. Any decal left in an attic for 20 years is probably no good.  The last decals Champ printed have white labels with the contents printed on the label. Those have the best chance of being good. The ones that have the contents printed directly on the manila envelope are really old and are probably in poor shape.

Spraying an old decal with Dullcote or covering them with Microscale's decal preserver will help keep the decal from disintegrating, but I've had some old decals that I coated curl around their edges when applying them to the model. No amount of decal set would make them flatten out. Bottom line is if you can find the decals you're looking for in current production, buy those.


the biggest issue I have with old stock Champ decals is the paper itself gets old and yellow, causing the film to yellow- if you're putting these on a light colored car, it will not work with yellow decal film. It cannot be resolved either. Just an FYI here....

Jeff Sohn

Good info.....good thread topic.

One of the thoughts I've had about acquiring old decals is their potential for use as a 'master' for replication.  In other words, with all of the computer enhancement programs available for artwork, photographs, copies, etc., I would think that, if for no other purpose, the old decals might come in handy for computer printing new ones?  Anyone had experience doing this?

One of the reasons I ask is with reference to the old Strombecker wood kits of streamlined passenger trains with an E7 diesel.  I built them as a kid.  Dad fussed/fumed as he helped me get the HUGE diesel decals onto the wood body.  I remember the first decal set for the UP engine literally disintengrated/shattered into a bazillion pieces when he tried sliding it off the backing paper!  Of course, back then (65 years ago?) you just wrote to Strombecker and they sent a new fresh sheet.....which Dad cut each large decal into about three pieces for easier maneuvering.  Turned out beautifully!

Of course, as goes life's circumstances, at some point all of my Strombecker models...trains, planes...became part of an urban Mt. Trashmore.   What was I thinking?  Certainly not that someday those 'works of art' would become desirable again!

Anyhow, I've acquired a couple quite excellent kits of those Strombecker streamliners.  The decal sheets are quite nice.  But I'm loathe to put them in water without a backup plan....like trying to duplicate them.

Again, any experience as such?

Re the comment about clear sprays and decal film solutions on old decals....   I've done that a couple times with fairly good success.  And, yes, they end up having a film 'witness' that's impossible to eliminate entirely.  But, in the absence of a more recently manufactured decal set that has the same....or better....graphics for that singular project, it's just one of those compromises I'll gladly accept.  (After all, they don't call me 'Lucas Gudinov' for no good reason!)

And I certainly would follow Martin's (mwb) advice testing your second-life decal strategy on a bit of the sheet you would not have a use for anyway!

Oh yes, one other thing about decals...especially the older versions.  I once read an article in another modelers magazine.....having a lot of competitive quality builders' inputs....that the aging discoloration is often due to the adhesive layer.....between the artwork film and the backing paper.  Ergo, their technique is to float the decal off the paper, carefully turn the film over, and using CLEAN water and dedicated soft bristle brush to wash all of the old adhesive from the film, then float it onto the model into a drop of Future (clear acrylic).  Can't say I've tried this myself, but (a) sounds like a good idea...with experience, and (b) you couldn't argue with the author's results judging by the photos of their finished models!!!!!  OTOH, for a shaky-handed septuagenarian like moi, it's far down the list of "new experiences in life and patience" on the bucket list.

FWIW, always...


(a.k.a., Lucas Gudinov)

Good information, opened my eyes on a number of new ideas.

Still going through the list of resources, many new ones there.

My plan is to find a unique champ that is in The category Ken mentions and try some of these ideas. KDs thought on scanning old ones and reprinting seems it would work on color (of course none of us can print in white anyway😊).

Hokie 71

Chief of Operations, Free Union, Blacksburg, and Albemarle Railroad (FUBAR)

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