Endless abhorrent hours

"They" keep saying that the thirhd time's the charm. I was on my way to get to the decals phase, that as everyone knows, I dislike quite strongly. For the third time in a row I was about to apply the varnish-decals-varnish method that had worked nicely twice so far.

A glossy layer

What would I say about this part? Not much, as I just applied a layer of Vallejo Gloss Varnish on all the surfaces that would get decals on them. That being: over and under the wings and the airframe.

A deep breath

I gathered my nerves, the decals, tweezers, my hobby knife and a saucerful of warm water on my workstation. I had also decided to ignore the fact that the decalset and the camo pattern didn't even belong in the same millenia. Just before I started I removed the canopy masks and noticed that the masking had been a bit misaligned and I'd need to fix the paintjob a bit later on.

Session 1

The first decals to go on were the most important ones with the stupidest shapes, also known as the sharkmouths. €%£#€#¤.... No, it didn't go as planned. For some reason the airframe-hugging decals didn't follow the contours of the nose of the plane. Instead, they flapped like the cheeks of Chief o'Hara and didn't grab a hold of the damn thing at all.

After a few failed fixing attempts I decided that I should do something else to save my nerves and went on applying the larger decals around the plane. My plan was to change the area I worked on after every decal so that the last one applied would get to dry in peace and I wouldn't find out that it had got stock to my thumb or something while I had been applying another decal right next to this one.

During this first session I finished applying the decals in the nose, the roundels, and some coats of arms or whatever they were. Those, and the bigger markings on the horizontal stabilizers. Why didn't I paint the tops of them blue instead of using silly blue decals? That's because I hadn't looked at the decals properly (as I didn't expect anything as weird as this). Oh, I also decided that if those sharkmouths don't start behaving, I'd tear them off and paint something myself.

Session 2

There wasn't anything special to tell about this session. I was just applying decals here and there, going from the largest towards the tiny ones. Getting the decals on was so insanely time-consuming, thanks to the "soak it first, then fight it into its place and repeat" way of working.

Somehow I think that especially in this scale those smudgy pseudo texts are juts pointless. They seem to be more of a hindrance than an asset, especially if they end up being a bit off in the end. The same (or even neater) effect would be gained with a tiny hand-painted irregular line and that would be a) exactly where and how you want, b) without the danger of silvering and c) ludicrously faster to do...

The decals in the last photo were somewhat more challenging than the others. And the worst of them was the tiny non-text between the Pave Penny pod and the front  landing gear. Getting anything of that size into that kind of a tiny space was not too simple. But there it ended up, after a long time and a good handful of swearing.

Session 3

On this third and hopefully last sting I wanted to get the last markings applied. As the photo above shows, there were just a few silly texts and the "NO STEP" markings for the wings. And the photo below shows both the model and the cut but not yet soaked decals.

In all honesty I have to admit that they went surprisingly painlessly and relatively quickly (did I spend only 45 mins on them?). Still, while working on them I decided that I would not do the even larger amount of "2" decals that were to go on the wings and the horizontal stabilizers. Instead, I threw them all away and was happy.

Oh, and for about the fifth time I tried in vain to get the sharkmouths to set without success. I had one last idea, though...

The finishing matt layer

I had got it into my small mind that as playing with water didn't help with the floppy decal pair (too much water and everything moves out of place, too little and their glue doesn't dissolve enough to get a grip on anything), maybe if I could force them in place with the dullcoat! They couldn't end up looking any stupider than how they already were so what did I have to lose?

So I started applying the Vallejo Matt Varnish starting from the nose, and my first idea was just to use it to press (and stickify) the floppy decals flush against the nose cone. That didn't work, as the lower parts sprung out again after a short while. Then I got the brilliant idea of applying a bit of said varnish on the glue-side of the decals and then swiping them down. That finally did the trick and I got those monstrosities where they more or less belonged to!

Because I was still going to work on the canopy's paintjob, I left a glossy area around it untouched. As I was also prepared to touch up some of the matt surfaces later on, I was completely prepared for at least a second round. That's why I didn't touch the engine units yet, so that I'd have something to grab a hold of while working (on the bottom side I had the landing gear units). At least I made my work that much easier this way.

One evening I painted those parts of the canopy that needed to be fixed and after the paint had dried I applied a wash to achieve a uniform style. The next time I worked on the model I applied the matt varnish on every glossy bit I encountered.

The next time I'd return back to the building bench and maybe even a bit of painting, on the underside of the Hog. All the wheels would need to be modified to be in a proper shape (so that the plane'd stand upright), painted and glued on. Also the  defined amount of weaponry (I fully expect that to be both rules-breaking and mindboggling) for the Hog hadn't been started at all yet.

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