So, decals ! At the same time the best way to add details to your kit, and one of the worst activities in Gunpla building if you ask people on the different Gunpla groups. I don’t usually mind water decals too much myself, but this particular build had me use a new brand of “gold” decals and let’s say things didn’t got too well.
First problem : the gold from the decal isn’t as close to the painted gold as I expected. When using small decals, far from painted gold, it looks fine, but a large decal next to some painted gold just looks out of place :
I used a somewhat fair amount of decal softer on the decal before decided the next day that I couldn’t keep it. Well, let’s just say I ended up having to re-paint the part to get rid of the decal.
So I stuck with small decals afterwards. For some reason, the decaling process was way messier than usual. The decals were badly pre-cut, the edges were very visible, even with decal fix and decal soft, etc. I whined a bit about it on Reddit and /u/revrendzack advised to add several coats of decal soft to try and fix the decals. With about a half-dozen coats later, even with a flat clear coat on top on the decals, it actually helped a bit.
I mean, it went from “I don’t want anything to do with that project anymore, just throw it in the cupboard and pretend it never existed” to “That doesn’t look as good as I would have wanted, but I suppose this will have to do”. I’ve contemplated for a bit to redo the feet, but I was afraid I would break something or damage too much paint if I tried to separate the parts.
Still, that’s a really bad looking piece. So I ended up sanding down and repainting / clear coating / decaling part of the feet.
Anyway, the following decaling sessions went much better. I used a newer blade to cut the decals, I applied the decal fix more smoothly with a handbrush, and I’ve been more generous with the decal softer before clear coating. With hindsight, I think my original clear coat wasn’t thick enough. The most problematic parts where the ones painted in black, and the black paint is flat, whereas the blue is kinda glossy.
A bit of panel line wash was also added in some places, like the rifle’s barrel (up) or the V-fins (right below) :
With most of the decaling out of the way, I was still wondering how to deal with the shield. The shield has a really big flat surface right in the middle that is begging for a big-ass decal to cover it. Since I decided against applying a big “yellow” decal in the middle of painted gold, that only left me with one solution :
FREEHAND AIRBRUSH !
I want to cut this particular post short, so I think I’ll post the detailed method to get that result in a separate post.
I’m pretty happy with that result. It looks even better with the decals I added afterward, but it was too dark to take a good picture of it. You’ll see it in the next (last) post which should be of the completed build.