17th August 2015
At last – decal time 🙂
One of my favourite parts of any build is the decaling. It means that all of the prep work has been done, the painting is complete and it’s time to bring the model to life!
The Revell Hunter kit comes with an impressive decal sheet, so much so that I have to remind myself that this 1/32 kit cost less than £30.
There are a lot of stencils with this one – about 150 if you go by the numbers on the decaling sheet. In the photo below you can see the extent of the stencil decals, and this doesn’t include the wings!
Anyway, I’m not going to show you step by step the application of each and every decal – suffice to say it took quite a few sessions to get them all on there…
With this one I’m doing her gear down, and she has the RAF identification number in large letters over the gear doors. This will require some cutting of decals.
The easiest way I found to do this was to tape the two parts of the gear door together, and lay the decals between the wing and the gear door. It was then a simple matter to draw the outline of the gear door onto the decals using a pencil.
Here you can see the pencil lines on the under wing decals showing me where to cut…
And a few swishes of the scalpel later, the decals are cut and ready to be applied to the wings. I’ll decal up the gear doors later when I have painted them.
Here’s the underside completely decaled up. Amazing how all those stencil decals melt away in the photograph – you’d hardly know they were there, but when I do the close-up photos later they should help bring it to life.
In terms of decal setting solution, I started out with Micro-sol (my usual first weapon of choice) but for the Revell decals it didn’t quite have the power to suck the decals down into the detail.
To get the decals to conform I ended up using a Solvaset, which is a more powerful setting solution and one of my favourites. Whenever Micro Sol doesn’t quite have enough bite, Solvaset usually provides the grunt required to get the decals to conform.
Below you can see the roundel on the lower wing surface (love the type D RAF roundels BTW). It’s had a few coats of Solvaset and the panel lines have been cut through the decal using a scalpel. I also ran around the shape of the access panels within the roundel with a scalpel and used an MDC #0 rivet tool to prick through the decal where the rivets are.
Here’s a shot of a roundel on the upper wing surface having had a few coats of Micro-sol. As you can see, it’s not really sitting into the detail all that well. Note that the panel lines have been sliced through with a scalpel at this stage but you can’t see the access panels.
After a few coats of Solvaset the access panels started to show through, and again they were scribed around with a scalpel and the rivet holes pricked out with the #0 MDC rivet tool.
All of the decals show a certain amount of silvering (where air gets trapped under the clear carrier film of the decal), to get around this each one received a dab of Solvaset and was pricked in various places with the point of a sharp scalpel blade. This allows the setting solution to get under the decals and suck the decal down eliminating the air.
Part way through this process I felt my thumb “sticking” on part of the fuselage, and instantly realised I had grabbed a decal which had recently had a coat of setting solution applied. The result? A nice fat thumbprint in the paintwork which had been softened by the setting solution.
I left it to dry for a while, and then carefully sanded the thumbprint out with a polishing stick.
The blemish didn’t entirely disappear (despite having been touched over with a bit of green), but rather than try to do a perfect repair job I decided to leave a blemish in the paintwork to simulate the kind of thing that happens on the real aircraft in service where problems get touched up and never quite blend into the original paintwork. Should create an interesting feature when she’s finished.
With the decaling complete it was time for 2-3 coats of Klear to seal it all in in preparation for the weathering wash.
Here’s a shot of some of those stencil decals, they provide a nice effect when you get up close!
After the Klear went on, I realised that I still had a couple of paint jobs left to do…
First is that the nose cone needs to be black…
And secondly, there is a panel at the top of the tail that also needs to be black…
First of all the tail is masked up, taking great care not to mask over any decals as they are all to easy to lift off at this stage.
The nose is also masked ready for spraying.
For the nose I cut thin strips (about 1.5mm wide) of Tamiya tape so that I could get the tape to conform to the curvature of the nose cone. With the shape masked off thicker tape could then be used to extend the masked area.
I’m not going mad with the masking here, I will prevent overspray by making sure that the airbrush is aimed away from the unmasked area.
After giving the nose a coat of black I found that there was a visible seam where so many coats of silver had been applied. Here you can see where I have polished out the seam using a fine sanding sponge.
Here’s the tail after having its top panel sprayed black. Note that the panel was sprayed with Tamiya flat black, and then some slight variations were mottled over it with Tamiya Nato black.
The same for the nose cone, an all over coat of flat black with subtle Nato black patches. They hardly show but will help to add a more realistic look to the finished article.
Well that just about wraps it up for the decaling, next job: sealing in the nose cone and tail paintwork with Klear and then onto the weathering wash.