I am no good at freehand and even if I were, I don’t think I’d be satisfied with the results. This means either moulded pauldrons or transfers. For my Sauroters, I ordered some custom 3D printed paulrons from Shapeways. They feature the Chapter symbol in relief. For the squad markings etc. I intend to use decals.
I tried using decals on my Ultramarine as practice. It didn’t go well.
Thinking I was clever, I cut a line from the top center to the middle center. I thought this would make it easier for the transfer to be applied to the curved surface of the pauldron. This led to a lot of the decals ripping. These then needed to be touched up by hand. Vallejo Game Color Dead White is quite thin. It didn’t cover the decal well and ran along the torn edges where I didn’t want it.
In general the decals did not adhere well. I found them difficult to work with and the results were not pretty. I had gloss coated the surface I was applying them to but the transfers just would not adhere to the surface without wrinkling. Often the edges would not adhere at all. A few coats of Lhamian Medium helped but the results were not at all satisfying. After the first couple of attempts I researched a little more.
I was aware of Micro Set and Micro Sol, but had wanted to try without them first. Several sources suggested white vinegar as a substitute for Micro Set. This actually worked quite well. However, without something to set the decal, the results were still pretty poor. Again, Lhamian Medium helped but not much.
So, I have ordered some Vallejo Decal Medium (73212) and some Vallejo Decal Fix (73213). I went with these rather than Micro Sol and Micro Set because I am using Vallejo paints and I have been very happy with the quality of their products. Also, it’s really hard to find anyone who can ship Micro Set/ Sol internationally.
Through this process I’ve learned:
- A good quality pair of tweezers really helps
- Sub assemblies would make affixing the decals much easier
- Some kind of decal fix is required
- Decals can be softened in just a drop of water on a palette
- Cutting decals makes them very fragile
- A cocktail stick is good for moving decals into position
I’m not sure if I hate decals yet. I’m looking forward to giving it another go.