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Got the bottom saucer re-primed, and I'm painting it slowly -- my compressor keeps overheating, since I'm going slowly in small sections. Pix of that tomorrow.

Meanwhile -- YIKES! A window out of alignment!!



So I plugged with with some sprue and cement, and I'm giving the weld overnight to dry; tried drilling it too soon and it subsided, so I pushed it back in place and gave it some more cement, and left it alone like I should have in the first place. :p



Meanwhile, I got almost all the livery on the saucer top, and the rust arc done. I'll probably do the registry tomorrow, since I'm letting the arc dry thoroughly before I put any tape over it. And also I'm chickens**t. :p

Here's the pix, and the Citadel shades I used to do the arc. The arc will get a misting of hull color tonight or tomorrow, since I think it's too heavy right now.




 

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And I've had my first disaster! Yay! (Not really. But Yay!)

I ruined my NCC-1701 OD mask, and I've had to go with the decals for the top saucer registry. I'm bummed, but I (re-)learned an important lesson: When you start getting tired, TAKE A BREAK. My mistake happend entirely because I lost focus from fatigue. I put the mask on beautifully, but in the wrong place, and those things don't survive removal very well, even with the transfer film.

Good news, though, is the kit's decals are excellent. I have no idea why people are reporting their decals falling apart, unless they're bathing them in decal set before applying them, or dousing them in it afterwards. That stuff is meant to weaken decals so they hug the surface and then firm up again, but it's not meant to be on there while you're still moving them around, because guess what -- the set makes them very fragile!

So, tips (like the name of the thread says):

1. Cut them as closely as possible. This reduces the chances of silvering just by removing the border material that silvers. Do this or go mad trying to fix the silvering later.

2. Soak them in warm water, using self-closing tweezers to hold them. That way you won't go mad chasing them around the bowl when they fall off the paper.

3. Wet the surface of the model with water, not decal set (why are you paying for that? It's distilled white vinegar and water). Apply the decal, keep it wet, and scoot it around with a wet paintbrush, not a toothpick. That way you won't go mad from tearing your decal with a toothpick.

4. When the decal is finally in place, dab it gently with a paper towel, let it dry, then apply the decal set (or just steal a bottle of Summer's Eve from your wife). :p Allow to dry thoroughly, and out of your view. Sometimes some formulations (like the old-school Testors) can wrinkle the decals, then make them flat again. Best not witness this, so you don't go mad.

5. This is tedious business, so you'll go mad anyway. Sorry. :p

 

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Wow. Okay, the saucer top is finished, but I've completely lost my objectivity. I am unable to say whether I'm happy with the weathering. I know it looks like the photos (more or less), but I can't decide whether that's good or bad. I'm gonna have to step away from this project for a few days and come back with fresh eyes. Hopefully fresher than other parts of me that haven't aged so well. :p

This also happens in the editing room, BTW. We were warned about it in film school, and I've been through it on short films. Sooner or later, you work on something so long you just can't tell whether it's any good. Also, your eyes feel like they're floating in their sockets. I'm not sure if it's project fatigue or paint fumes... :p



Oil washes, BTW.
 

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Flew through a space sewer. The green stuff is Klingon... cling-ons. :p

Oh, I had an insight about decal silvering. I noticed that on the very tiny parts that were still silvering at the edges, there was air trapped under the decal. Wherever the decal was perfectly flat, there was no silvering. I'm thinking light from underneath is what we see when decals go silver.

Then again, my other theory is that Kubrick faked the moon landing but insisted on shooting the real location. :p
 

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I always had a bit of a problem with weathering on Star Trek. Ships always get a cleaning of their hulls to remove barnacles and other materials and sometimes a new paint job afterwards. I can see the same type of treatment done on spaceships when they need servicing. On Star Trek, we see ships pulling into spacedocks to undergo maintenance & repair (or upgrades), so why not the cleaning of space gunk off their hulls???
 

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...Oh, I had an insight about decal silvering. I noticed that on the very tiny parts that were still silvering at the edges, there was air trapped under the decal. Wherever the decal was perfectly flat, there was no silvering. I'm thinking light from underneath is what we see when decals go silver...
That's exactly what it is, spots where the film doesn't contact the surface. A smooth (gloss) finish and a good setting solution help.



I always had a bit of a problem with weathering on Star Trek. Ships always get a cleaning of their hulls to remove barnacles and other materials and sometimes a new paint job afterwards...
I've seen large planes and Navy ships up close, even watched the Nimitz pull into port, and they always looked fake to me. So clean and perfect, with nothing to give them scale other than knowing they were the real deal. The weathering and panel lines etc. may be fake, but they look fake without them.
 

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Flew through a space sewer. The green stuff is Klingon... cling-ons. :p

Oh, I had an insight about decal silvering. I noticed that on the very tiny parts that were still silvering at the edges, there was air trapped under the decal. Wherever the decal was perfectly flat, there was no silvering. I'm thinking light from underneath is what we see when decals go silver.

Then again, my other theory is that Kubrick faked the moon landing but insisted on shooting the real location. :p
Exactly right, about the silvering at least. :)

That's why many people glosscoat, then decal, then lay on the flat finish, or semi-gloss. It's the little bumps and pits in the paint surface that creates the 'flat' appearance, and that's what can trap air.

It would be interesting to compare a kit painted with flats and untouched Vs. a kit painted in flats, glosscoated and then dulling applied. It makes me think there should be a difference.

This was one of the reasons, I suspect, Micro Sol was invented. Not only to get decals to conform to bumps and curves, but to really snuggle it down on untreated flat paint. Back in my heyday of armor building (so much panzer gray and olive drab!) I don't recall anyone glosscoating their tank kits before decals. Other tricks-poking the decal with a needle, hand painting markings- were the rule of the day. I'm rather happy to say that kits I built 40 years ago (!!!!!) have no silvering. But man, I wish I hadn't been so lazy with using the same shade of OD Green. Never thought about it back then. Mark that up to another case of "If I knew then what I know now", huh? :)

Actually, this is relevant to Asalaw's work. I was focused on matching the OD Green I saw on real tanks in my area (you know, park and VA and National Guard Armory vehicles on display) and so I wanted to match what I saw. But I didn't figure for scale (who did?), nor did I take hard use and exposure to weather and sun, all my weathering tended to 'use' such as road grime and mud, but no fading. My focus and knowledge was too narrow. Again, if I knew then what I know now. :)
 

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Exactly right, about the silvering at least. :)

That's why many people glosscoat, then decal, then lay on the flat finish, or semi-gloss. It's the little bumps and pits in the paint surface that creates the 'flat' appearance, and that's what can trap air.

It would be interesting to compare a kit painted with flats and untouched Vs. a kit painted in flats, glosscoated and then dulling applied. It makes me think there should be a difference.
A gloss coat is unnecessary. The paint must be merely smooth, and not gloss. A microfiber cloth works well for smoothing paint prior to application of decals. Then apply MicroSet to the area, then the decal, and position it carefully with a wet paintbrush. Once the decal is in place, wick up the excess MicroSet with a paper towel, then apply MicroSol and watch it do its stuff. When the MicroSol is almost completely evaporated, PRESS down gently on the decal with a soft warm cloth. This contradicts the conventional wisdom, but it works.:surprise: Give the decals 24 hours to completely dry, then remove any residue with a moistened lint-free cotton swab, and apply your final clear coat of choice.

For a great decal tutorial, see here:

And be sure to check out some of Paul's other videos.
 

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Excellent advice. I think, from all that I've read here, most people have gravitated to the 'shoot a coat of Future (acrylic floor 'wax') over the flat paint' method. I don't recall anyone buffing their build. That's an interesting process. Again, if I knew then. :)
 

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I was doing WWII armor and aircraft 50 years ago and couldn't live without MicroSol for decals, especially on German tanks with zimmerit. :smile2:


Exactly right, about the silvering at least. :)

That's why many people glosscoat, then decal, then lay on the flat finish, or semi-gloss. It's the little bumps and pits in the paint surface that creates the 'flat' appearance, and that's what can trap air.

It would be interesting to compare a kit painted with flats and untouched Vs. a kit painted in flats, glosscoated and then dulling applied. It makes me think there should be a difference.

This was one of the reasons, I suspect, Micro Sol was invented. Not only to get decals to conform to bumps and curves, but to really snuggle it down on untreated flat paint. Back in my heyday of armor building (so much panzer gray and olive drab!) I don't recall anyone glosscoating their tank kits before decals. Other tricks-poking the decal with a needle, hand painting markings- were the rule of the day. I'm rather happy to say that kits I built 40 years ago (!!!!!) have no silvering. But man, I wish I hadn't been so lazy with using the same shade of OD Green. Never thought about it back then. Mark that up to another case of "If I knew then what I know now", huh? :)

Actually, this is relevant to Asalaw's work. I was focused on matching the OD Green I saw on real tanks in my area (you know, park and VA and National Guard Armory vehicles on display) and so I wanted to match what I saw. But I didn't figure for scale (who did?), nor did I take hard use and exposure to weather and sun, all my weathering tended to 'use' such as road grime and mud, but no fading. My focus and knowledge was too narrow. Again, if I knew then what I know now. :)
 

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I was doing WWII armor and aircraft 50 years ago and couldn't live without MicroSol for decals, especially on German tanks with zimmerit. :smile2:
Exactly so! We NEVER considered glosscoating over the carefully applied flat paint! We did everything we could to get those decals to snuggle down AND WE LIKED IT!

Kids today. :)

Zimmerit: Squadron green putty scored by a X-Acto mini saw blade or did you use the broken popsicle stick method? :)
 

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Putty! We made our own filler out of elmers glue and flour. Mom didnt mind us using her favorite butcher knife and someone always had some left over glidden house paint in the garage. :cheers2:
 

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Putty! We made our own filler out of elmers glue and flour. Mom didnt mind us using her favorite butcher knife and someone always had some left over glidden house paint in the garage. :cheers2:
I love the Squadron puttys. You could've knocked me over with a feather when a demo video on their website said the green vs. white was just about subsequent painting -- green for darks, white for lights. Phenomenal stuff, dries fast and clings well like a proper lacquer based putty should. Of course, you can also use Bondo spot putty, though it's much less stiff, almost liquid. So I just use that on props and such -- fiberglass, etc. Probably also on my upcoming Galileo scratchbuild. Because fiberglass. :)
 

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I make my own putty for use with styrene plastic.

When dry, it can be sanded, filed, scribed, glued and painted just like the plastic that it is applied to. :)
 

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I make my own putty for use with styrene plastic.

When dry, it can be sanded, filed, scribed, glued and painted just like the plastic that it is applied to. :)
Have to be careful with it lest you accidentally melt the kit, but that's pretty obvious. :)

Another old trick. Do you use the Testor's Liquid Cement (square bottle) or the more modern MEK based glues?

The Testor's worked well because of the bottle. maybe they don't make it that way anymore, with the square glass bottle. I'd be interested in trying to make some with Tamiya liquid but that stuff is too expensive and hard for me to get around here. :)

I once tried the 'plastic chips in liquid cement' trick with Microweld but that stuff evaporated too quickly.
 

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I love the Squadron puttys. You could've knocked me over with a feather when a demo video on their website said the green vs. white was just about subsequent painting -- green for darks, white for lights. Phenomenal stuff, dries fast and clings well like a proper lacquer based putty should. Of course, you can also use Bondo spot putty, though it's much less stiff, almost liquid. So I just use that on props and such -- fiberglass, etc. Probably also on my upcoming Galileo scratchbuild. Because fiberglass. :)
Hey, has Squadron Green gotten better? I recall back in the old days it was common to thin it a little with Testor's Liquid cement. It tended to surface set pretty fast. Of course back then I probably applied it too thick for what I was doing. It did tend to dry out in the tube. So is it better?

I haven't played with the plastic putty too much other than to note that it helps to put a little water in the tube and massage it to keep it workable. The couple of times I used it it was really nice to be able to smooth the work with a damp paper towel, and remove any excess. So nice and clean!
 

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Do you use the Testor's Liquid Cement (square bottle) or the more modern MEK based glues?
Just plain old MEK + styrene sprue cut into 1/4" - 3/8" lengths.
Pour MEK into clean glass jar, add sprue bits to fill, place lid on and tighten.
Shake well. Let set overnight. Open and stir into putty. Add more glue or sprue to thin or thicken to desired consistency.

Disclaimer: For adults only. Use adequate ventilation and proper filtering apparatus when using MEK. Exposure may cause cancer in California. In other states, the probable outcomes may vary.

I've been using this successfully for many years. I will also use bondo, spot putty, Squadron putty, and epoxy putty depending upon material, size and subject matter. For styrene, this is my go-to source - and it's cheap. :)
 
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