Decal life? is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.



Hi all I went down to my parents place last week during the holiday and grabbed a bunch of stuff that I needed for the layout that I'm building. While I was at it I grabbed a bunch of old Harold King and Microscale decals that I thought would be useful for future projects, so my question is how long do decals stay good? I will assume the oldest are about 12 years old and I have kept them in the plastic wrap that they came in.


Long Winded Old Fart
I have found that decals tend to get rotten after a long shelf life unless they are kept in an airconditioned room all the time. What I mean about rotten, they lose their bonding. Some old decals get brittle or cracked w/age & are very unusable.


Entrepreneurial Teen
As long as they are stored out of direct sunlight and in a fairly cool and, most importantly, DRY environment, they should last for a long time. I have a bunch of older Microscale decals (maybe early 90s?) that seems to work fine. Just be careful as they may be a little more fragile than newer decals.


Thanks guys. They were kept in a pretty nice area, so I will just be careful with them if and when I use. Again thanks :)


If you start to use them and run into a lot of cracking, a coating of dullcote, or better yet decal bonder will fix them right up. I haven't really found a "shelf life" on decals.....I've bought "new ones" that had problems, and I have some that are 10 years old that work fine.


Running the MC & Buffalo
Dullcote should do the job as Josh said !! I had some that were 40 years old and they still worked fine after I coated them !

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