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Silkscreened Army Air Forces Shoulder Decal?

Jennison

Active Member
I’d like to have an AAF shoulder decal applied to my A-2, but I’m really not crazy about how the decals wear, with cracking, peeling etc. Are there any alternatives available besides having one hand painted on (I still want it to look like the decal)? Someone suggesting having one silkscreened, but I haven’t found anyone who does that as a service. Any sources here in the US?
 

johnwayne

Well-Known Member
How about an authentic felt patch?
Repro or original I think you get one easy enough, be it whichever one you like.
8th AF most common I’m guessing but 5th, 12th or 14th all nice patches.
Silk screen isn’t easy on a jacket sleeve as the method involves printing on a very flat surface so I imagine difficult to get right. Of course if you are capable/know someone who is then hand painting is an option but costly compared to a decal which is as original as you can get and can be aged easily if you so desire with a little wire wool or subtle abrasive flour/sand paper.
 

Jennison

Active Member
I have a couple of the MASH heat transfers along with the rubber block. Do those hold up better than water-slide decals by melting into the leather or something? I still don't understand how the original water-slide decals held up even as poorly as they did.
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
the wwll decals were a form of plastic, and most were applied with a liquid adhesive. the ones that were not applied with the adhesive are the ones you now see that have flaked entirely off. the ones applied with the adhesive were done at the factories and depots around, or after 1943, when they flake or were abraded off, there have left a darker ghost where they were. the ones that were not applied with the adhesive leave a lighter colored ghost.
 

Jennison

Active Member
Thanks Vic. Yoshi at MASH clarified that no adhesive or varnish coating is needed for the heat transfer decals. Do you know what makes those different?
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
Yes they are heat activated adhesive (not too much heat) and last well. Full instructions are supplied or on the MASH site. They tend to be more durable than the water slide versions. Prep is key. Mindful that most repro jackets here are babied and not worn while doing anything arduous anyway.
 

Jennison

Active Member
Thank you. I’m convinced. One last question. I’d conditioned the jacket with Saphir cream. Is that a concern in successful application? If not, how should I prep the area (aside from the MASH instructions)?
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
use a gentle soap to wipe down the area where you are going to place the decal. be sure to rinse lightly with fresh water to remove any soap residue. wait until the area is completely dry., like 24 hours. take your time when applying the transfer decal. look at pix of where they have been placed. usually they are placed on the left upper sleeve, appx 3/8"-1" down from the junction where the sleeve seam meets the edge of the epaulet. follow the mash instructions that come with the decal, and remember, once its on, its on. no turning back if ya screw it up. when done, show and tell.
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
some kind of saddle soap will work. use only a little, as the idea is to neutralize the leather dressing that you applied. oh and before you do the intended decal area, try the soap on the back of the pocket flap to be sure that it doesnt discolor the hide.
 
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