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Yamato 1/3000 SDF-1 modification and paint up...


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#1 wm cheng

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 12:25 AM

Hi all,

I was so excited to get my Yamato 1/3000 SDF-1 yesterday! It is absolutely fantastic, I haven't been this excited about a toy since my first 1/48 VF-1, I just can't get over it, the more I look/work on it, the more I'm amazed. This is IMHO, Yamato's finest work thus far.

Unexpected, I got another 2 days of holidays from work, so this thread will outline what I can do to this toy in 2 days, then it will be a very slow trickle as I find time to work on it once my "paying" job starts up again.

I'd initially laid out all the attachment parts on their sprues and went through the instructions to familiarize myself as to where the parts go. I for one (I know I'm in the minority here!) am very glad that Yamato chose to have these parts as attachments. Yes it would be nice if they did it in the factory (I know it is a toy!) but how many times do they do a half-assed job there, either twisting the part of the sprues so there's a large chunk missing or left behind and gluing it on crooked only to have us rip it apart and re-attach it properly. Otherwise, like many other toys, they could of left off the screw panels and just exposed the ugly screws (afterall it IS a toy!). I am very happy they included the pieces, in fact upon examination, they have gone through the trouble of putting the screws in hide-away places, then creating panels and pieces that for the most part, the sprue attachment will be hidden in the end. Of course it isn't the case everywhere, but it's clear they thought about sprue placement and how that tiny nub will appear in the final toy. Lastly, I like that some of the detail were separate such as the turrets or thrusters as it allows for sharper delineations between the attach part and body, allows for undercuts and a deeper draw for the plastic than would be possible if it was just a molded on detail.

Ok, I also dug out my reference materials. There aren't a lot of colour exterior references for the DRYL SFD-1 - if any of you have anything I don't have, please feel free to post it here for all of us to use! I also included two Star Wars books; Star Wars Chronicles (equivalent to the Star Wars Gold Book) and Sculpting the Galaxy for the Star Destroyer surface detail references, they were able to achieve a sense of scale without engraved panel lines, they just varied the shade of grey and drew lines on the surface with a mechanical pencil (which I was thinking of trying out for this toy).

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#2 wm cheng

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 12:34 AM

I started to look at all the thrusters for the ARMDs first. I thought that since most of them were separate, I'd take the opportunity to paint them metallic without having to mask the toy - it would further add another shade of grey to the scheme. First I looked carefully and identified the thrusters that has sprue attachement points that will be exposed on the final toy, I separated those out with a sharp x-acto knife and sanded the sprue nub off and laid them out on the cardboard. The remaining pieces will have their sprue connection hidden in the toy after attachment - so I left them attached to the sprue trees so that they can be more easily handled for airbrushing. I decided to airbrush them with Alclad metallizer Steel as its a middle tone metallic. I set the airbrush on the finest spray line and tried to color the edges without spraying too much into the black centers = I was lazy, I should mask the black insides, but if you're careful, a steady hand on the finest pencil line should do. In the end, I touched up some overspray of the inside with a black gundam marker.

I started to attach all the screw hole covers. I used a dab of white glue to make sure they held in place, but is not permanent in case I ever had to take it apart to fix a joint or something. The panels are really well designed IMHO, they really work with the surface detail and are in pretty ideal locations. I really had to hunt and partially transform the toy to find this access panel which can only be seen during partial transformation.

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#3 wm cheng

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 12:51 AM

The seam on the bridge really bugs me. So I thought I'd "pop" off the bridge to work on it separately, also I thought it was a good idea since its fragile and I'd be handling the SDF-1 a lot in subsequent phases that anything small, fragile and breakable should be removed (or it will accidentally break off and get lost!).

Well, it looked like it would just pop off, it was much harder than I though. I took a jeweller's screwdriver to wedge myself under the bridge and twist, but it would come off. After a little more twisting, it finally came off. It wasn't just glue that was holding it down, there seems to be some plastic tube with a metal screw holding it down screwed in from the top of the bridge to the top plate of the SFD-1. As you can see, I pried so hard that I snapped the tube with the metal screw in it clean off. Luckily this will be hidden when I re-glue it back on, its nice that its a mechanical connection (stronger) but I can't see how I can access the screw without damaging the fine details on top of the bridge. Now in hindsight I see the scew access panel on the top, but I still don't think I can pry it off without damaging the delicate surface detail. At leas the twist marks that damaged the plastic are under the bridge and can't be seen once the bridge is back in place.

The clear bridge pieces just pops off now, its actually all clear with the lower chin painted. Yes, I have a bit of a seam on the top part of the clear piece too as most people have complained. I think I will load a little ink into the clear piece inside portion which they hollowed out the different levels as bridge detail and sand the top part a little down for a tighter fit when I re-assemble. The rear antenna mask was just crazy glued onto the main bridge and broke off while handling it - which was just as well as it would get in the way of sanding it. I added putty to the two sides and Mr. Surfacer 500 to the front and top of the bridge themselves. Upon closer examination of the reference material. there is actually a horizontal seam detail/reveal that runs for and aft of the main circular dish - so I left those seam intact.

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Edited by wm cheng, 05 January 2011 - 12:52 AM.


#4 BlueMax

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 12:52 AM

Ah... thanks for posting this, it is always a treat to see Masters of modelling/ customizing chronicling the process. Eagerly awaiting any updates!

#5 wm cheng

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 01:10 AM

Here's a shot of the ARMDs with the painted metallic thruster nozzles in place - I think it adds a bit of colour relief from the monotone grey. I think anything to add more shades of grey will be a good thing for this scheme.

Ok, I tried to take apart the leg to see if I can access the City. I noticed 3 obvious screws (ones that I didn't cover up with the provided panels yet) and thought I'd take them apart thinking that if I can separate the two halves vertically, it should expose the city attached to the bottom piece with the top piece removed. Well, I took apart the 3 screws and the front section (near the knee) separated, but the back section seems locked in by the tan coloured engine blocks, I couldn't free it the two halves. After breaking the bridge screw piece, I thought I'd better not try to force this one (in case I screw up the knee joint or break something) - so I chickened out. If anyone here wants to take a crack at getting the City out to paint, please let me know how you did it! For know I'll concentrate on the outside.

I just couldn't wait any longer, I had to do an oil wash on this toy to pick out the details! I usually would do it after painting some differnt greys and panels, but I wanted to see all the amazing surface details first, then decide what extra panels I would airbrush/spray on afterwards but before the pencilwork. As I did the oil wash, I couldn't believe how much detail I had to put the paint on! There was detail on every surface, hidden everywhere! It took quite a few hours to apply all the paint and a few more hours to wipe it down!

Why is it lumping each reply into a single reply? I just did three separate entries and the text and attachment appears in the same reply - hmm, it might be a bit confusing as I want to separate them by attached images.

Oh well, I almost forgot about the ARMDs - they are loaded with details, models in themselves! You really start to see all the molding effort Yamato put in once you do an oil wash. I just used black oil paint with varying thinness or dilution of low odour varsol, really thin for the panel lines and contours and really thick and black for the vents and thrusters and mechanicals.

Here it is after hours of wiping down the excess oil paint! Pretty good and I haven't even gotten to the paint or dry brush yet.

Argh, it lumped the last post back into the previous reply - why? It didn't do it when I started off this thread!

Lastly these pictures show the ARMDs with the oil wash applied, it really shows that there is literally details on every surface of the ships, they are amazing little gems in themselves!

Well that's it for today! Must get some sleep for the second day of fun!

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#6 Graham

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 01:26 AM

Why is it lumping each reply into a single reply? I just did three separate entries and the text and attachment appears in the same reply - hmm, it might be a bit confusing as I want to separate them by attached images.

It's a really annoying feature of the current version of the forum software, that if you make multiple posts within a certain timeframe, it automatically lumps them together in one post.

I really, really hate it. Should try to look if it can be turned off.

Graham

#7 macrossnake

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 01:50 AM

Well that's it for today! Must get some sleep for the second day of fun!


Look forward to see the awesome complete work. :)

#8 EXO

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 03:04 AM

Awesome!!! Looking great so far.

Don't forget to add the link on your thread of links pinned up top when you're done (so I can drool over it at any given time.)

#9 kyekye

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 03:38 AM

2 days of fun!!! Very nice indeed so far. Can't wait for tomorrow's update.
Mine should be coming in soon as well. I'll join you in detailing fun soon :) Hopefully I can get more than 2 days!

#10 mslz22

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 07:14 AM

Looking great so far, i built the 1/2000 one for myself and put thousands of tiny mechanical pencil lines all over the ship along with the oil wash and it really brings out the detail. I was also inspired by the star destroyer and the galactica with the use of the pencil lines. At first i was going to be a bit more conservative with the pencil but wound up using it generously, it really wound up making the ship look "bigger" due to the layering of the detail....
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#11 Hurin

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 07:28 AM

It's a really annoying feature of the current version of the forum software, that if you make multiple posts within a certain timeframe, it automatically lumps them together in one post.

I really, really hate it. Should try to look if it can be turned off.

Graham

yes. it can be turned off. It's one of the first settings I disable on any new IPB install.

#12 Mechamaniac

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 07:53 AM

Pinned...for great justice.

#13 MacrossMax

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 02:10 PM

Awesome!!!! looking forward to seeing your finished version.

#14 Kicker773

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 04:20 PM

subscribed!!

#15 UN Spacy

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Posted 05 January 2011 - 06:16 PM

Another awesome wm cheng to drool over.

Can I send you my SDF-1 for a paint up? ^_^

#16 danbickell

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 01:57 AM

Looking awesome so far, and can't wait to see what you do with this amazing toy!

I'm not sure I'm sold on the idea of pencil lines, though. It worked well for the studio scale Star Destroyers and the Galactica because they were huge models. A 1/3000 star destroyer would only be about 21" long. On something this size, I feel it will hurt the sense of scale more than it will help. Those pencil lines would be at least a few feet in width, scaled up 3000x.

I'd like to see something more like the "aztec" panels on the Enterprise refit from Star Trek the Motion Picture. It would be more labor intensive, but masking off thousands of tiny panels, sprayed in grays with very subtle differences (in both color/value and sheen) would look the best, in my opinion.

Despite it's shortcomings, I think Wave was actually on the right track with what they did on the "movie color edition" 1/5000 toys. The panels are just much too big, and the color differences aren't nearly subtle enough.

#17 big F

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 05:40 AM

Can we have a button on the forum that just posts the word Wow or Awesome, so each time Mr Cheng post a new set of pictures, I can just press it, and post done :)

#18 wm cheng

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 02:59 PM

Sorry for the delay... I'm back at work - boo!! (gotta pay for this beast though)

So my 2 days are over and I didn't get very far, I did spend a few hours cleaning up my workspace since there was a layer of dust over every surface and tool (tip... airbrush and dust don't like each other ;-) and a few years of neglect (and being a Dad). However, I love this toy so much that I can't keep my hands off of it! I'll try to get some more done in small drips and drabs over the next few weeks, but it will be a very slow build from here on in. Please feel free if anyone else is starting on their own 1/3000 SDF-1 to hijack/contribute this thread as I would love to learn a thing or two and mooch ideas off of too (the reason I post is that it should be a collaborative effort!). A special thanks needs to go out to vf_1s as I've downloaded all his photos and reference scans of his amazing 1/2000 custom and I am using it as reference for my own paint-up.

mslz22 - please post pictures of your SDF-1. I'd love to see how it turned out with the pencil lines!

danbickell - ah, gone down that dark path before... I did a resin Enterprise in 1/1400 scale way back in the day (almost 15yrs ago) before aztek masks or decals, and CAD drafted out and painstakingly hand-cutout that pattern and it just about killed me (and I was young then!). At 1/3000 scale I can't imagine how much smaller the panels will have to be! It's just too much work for me to cover the entire ship in that kind of pattern times several, since you need at least 3 or more shades to make it really work. The pencil lines will still have an undercoat of a few larger rectangles and irregular shapes rotated and reused in a few different orientations that I will spray on that will serve as the background. But if anyone here is will to try that approach, I'd love to see the results!

OK, down to business! I was thinking since I was nearing the end my "window of opportunity", what could I get down so I can still have a decent toy sitting on my desk for all the days I can't work on it, I can't just leave it laying in pieces on my workbench. So I decided to tackle the bridge. I sanded down all the excess putty and Mr. Surfacer and decided that this was a good opportunity to add a little more detail to the bridge. It's a hard call between a toy and model, I wanted to completely re-build the antenna arrays, but after playing around with it, and transforming it a few times, I found I really liked the robust transformation and playability of this toy so I opted for the safer approach and used the existing toy antennas and just augmented them as I feel they are studier and more flexible than anything I would build. Next was to find something thin enough to not over power the tiny scale of the bridge. All my styrene stock was just too thick. I ended up finding a bunch of unused photo-etched parts I had laying around (the advantages of being a pack rat, I never throw anything out!) and started playing around with the tinest of parts to see where they could fit.

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#19 wm cheng

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 03:08 PM

So I took a little break knowing that I want to leave time for the airbrush paint to dry, I decided to paint all the dark grey sprue attachment pieces a Tamiya dark grey, knowing full well the greys won't match, I thought it would be nice to add yet another grey into the mix.

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#20 wm cheng

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 03:34 PM

I always try to plan ahead a few steps so I can work in paint drying times so by the time I finish a certain task, I can get back to whatever has been left drying and work on that, kind of leap-frogging steps.

Here's some shots of the Photo-etched parts glued on with crazy glue onto the bridge. Note here, I forgot that I needed to modify the internal tab a bit (make it smaller) to allow the clear piece of the bridge to fit a little snugger in towards the bridge superstructure (to minimize the gap on the top) - I went ahead and started gluing the PE parts (if I were to do it again, I would cut down that internal tab and test fit the clear piece first before gluing all the PE parts. Anyways, curious to see how it all goes together, I mixed a bit of Tamiya sky grey, neutral grey and bit of medum blue (15:5:1 ratio rough estimate)to get close to the main body colour - again, I don't think it has to match exactly as I will end up with a lot of shades of greys, but they are all on the blue side of the spectrum.

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#21 EXO

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 03:37 PM

Ok, now you're just making me feel bad.... lol. that looks great!

#22 wm cheng

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 04:05 PM

A little black oil wash later...

Ok, so now I remember about the clear visor part gap - argh! I did my best to sand the back vertical edge down a bit and shave off some plastic off the tab in the bridge side that fits into the clear part so that I can get it to seat itself higher and more snugly into the bridge to minimize the gap. I also added a few drops of thinned black paint inside the clear visor piece to pick out the molding for the bridge levels (its amazing they even thought of that!) Then I had to re-paint the big radar dish tan color. and fitted it onto the rest of the ship to see how it would fit in. I will add some tiny darker grey, silver and dark sivler paint highlights as well as some hits of red and white here and there to bring it some life like the DRYL references, but at least its at a stage that I can leave it for a few days. At the end, I want to add a few strands of stretched sprue to span vertically across the main antenna masts to simulate the vertical antenna cables.

I also noticed playing around that there are magnets inside the main guns that help keep them together in the cruiser mode.

The last 3 shots is how it will sit on my desk till I can get enough time to work on the next stage. Possibly start the other shades of greys and applying small patches of greys randomly all over to form the base for the pencil work, I'd like to darken up the lighter grey and lighten the darker grey so they are a little less contrasty and blend a bit more (the post-shading at the end will tone down the paneling, pencil work and match the greys a bit more). Of course there's the matter of taking the leg apart to get at the city, that will be a paint deal in itself.

Wish me free time soon!

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Edited by wm cheng, 06 January 2011 - 04:08 PM.


#23 eugimon

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 04:36 PM

wow, that's great work on the bridge.

#24 big F

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 01:33 AM

This thread needs to be re-named to The WM Cheng guide to how to make the factory Yamato SDF1 not look naff, because before you add Mr Cheng to the mix it looks good then side by side with a WM Cheng modded one it looks bland.

Simply amazing work.

Edited by big F, 07 January 2011 - 05:46 PM.


#25 kyekye

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Posted 07 January 2011 - 12:06 PM

Looks great so far! I can't wait to see more.
BTW, i got mine today, so I'll join you on the moding-fun this weekend!

#26 jardann

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 10:31 AM

Wow! Those details really bring out the idea of how massive this ship is supposed to be. It's looking great! I hope you can squeeze in some time to work on it soon! Thanks for taking the time to post so many pics. It really helps us see the progression of this masterpiece!

#27 caslon

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Posted 10 January 2011 - 01:44 AM

awesome work!! keep it up! :D

#28 shiroikaze

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 08:53 PM

Wish me free time soon!

Wishing you free time!

#29 mickyg

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Posted 13 January 2011 - 10:59 PM

It's a real pleasure to see you back in action! I get to live vicariously through this whole experience as I just don't have the funds, time or space for this to be a reality for me. All the best of luck with it!

#30 MacrossJunkie

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Posted 17 January 2011 - 10:36 PM

At the end, I want to add a few strands of stretched sprue to span vertically across the main antenna masts to simulate the vertical antenna cables.


A friend had recommended to me to try stretched sprue as well, but I just couldn't get it thin enough while not making the strand extremely fragile. I thought about using the filaments in a light bulb but those are pretty fragile as well and I'd have to deal with broken glass. What I ended up doing was a much simpler solution. I plucked a hair from my head and coated it with some gunship gray and cut it up into smaller pieces. It has a lot more flexibility and tensile strength than plastic or the filament while still being very fine so that worked out best for me in the end.

Just an idea if other people are considering adding antenna cables to the masts.

#31 wm cheng

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 06:32 AM

A friend had recommended to me to try stretched sprue as well, but I just couldn't get it thin enough while not making the strand extremely fragile. I thought about using the filaments in a light bulb but those are pretty fragile as well and I'd have to deal with broken glass. What I ended up doing was a much simpler solution. I plucked a hair from my head and coated it with some gunship gray and cut it up into smaller pieces. It has a lot more flexibility and tensile strength than plastic or the filament while still being very fine so that worked out best for me in the end.

Just an idea if other people are considering adding antenna cables to the masts.


Hey, what a great idea! Hmm... procrastination pays off again! Now you really have some personal investment in your toys ;-) Post some shots of your bridge here!

#32 MacrossJunkie

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:16 PM

Hey, what a great idea! Hmm... procrastination pays off again! Now you really have some personal investment in your toys ;-) Post some shots of your bridge here!


Here's what I have so far for my bridge.
Attached File  sdf1_bridge1.JPG   166.86KB   270 downloadsAttached File  sdf1_bridge2.JPG   413.8KB   282 downloads
It would have been less of a pain in the butt and could have added more if I had some tools to help me like tweezers and some sort of fine pointy scissors for trimming. I just had my fingers to use for placement so I did the best I could and then used nail clippers to trim off the excess.

I used some Tamiya acrylic smoke to tint the bridge canopy and little dabs of red, brass, tan, silver, some grays, and white scattered around.

I would like to do some aztec type patterns like on starfleet ships or the battlestar galactica remake. But my skills are novice at best, so it's probably not realistic for me to try doing that. I found a lot of templates on starshipmodeler.com but they're all rounded for saucers which wouldn't do. Not to mention, I'd have to take this thing apart to do properly which I've been unable to accomplish. Decals maybe? I don't know. Still brainstorming for alternatives and need to decide on that before I do any detailing on the hull and weathering.

Thank you for the idea to paint the thrusters on the ARMDs by the way. I love it.

If anyone is thinking about doing the "01" and "02" for the ARMDs and don't want to try cutting out a template or doesn't have a font that looks right if trying to print out a decal, I found a font that looks like a very similar match to the line art numbers. I got the "license plate one" font from decalgear.com where the "1" and the "O" (not zero) look extremely similar and were the right width when I did a test print in red. They took $3 off the $6.95 price so I paid $3.95 for it. Not sure if people would want to pay $4 for a couple fonts, but I figured it could be handy for other things as well.

#33 wm cheng

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 06:59 AM

That looks great MacrossJunkie!

I'm planning on just cutting out lots of different shaped rectangles and odd-shapes like that and do several passes over the whole ship in strategic spots (the idea is to not cover the entire ship and leave various mottling of greys exposed) - probably on post-it note paper as they are relatively low-tact self-adhesive and I can reposition and rotate them as I spray. Finally I will do several once overs of grey to "blend" all the colours in. At least that's the plan before I add the pencil lines. Of course I haven't the time at the moment, so its just all in my head for now - but planning is an important part of modelling.

Thanks for the links to the licence plate fonts - but isn't that just a font download? I'm sure we can get artwork or fonts that are close, the real trick is getting it onto white decal as there aren't any printers (other than Alps) that will "print" white. How do you proposed to use those fonts?

#34 MacrossJunkie

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 07:41 AM

That looks great MacrossJunkie!

I'm planning on just cutting out lots of different shaped rectangles and odd-shapes like that and do several passes over the whole ship in strategic spots (the idea is to not cover the entire ship and leave various mottling of greys exposed) - probably on post-it note paper as they are relatively low-tact self-adhesive and I can reposition and rotate them as I spray. Finally I will do several once overs of grey to "blend" all the colours in. At least that's the plan before I add the pencil lines. Of course I haven't the time at the moment, so its just all in my head for now - but planning is an important part of modelling.

Thanks for the links to the licence plate fonts - but isn't that just a font download? I'm sure we can get artwork or fonts that are close, the real trick is getting it onto white decal as there aren't any printers (other than Alps) that will "print" white. How do you proposed to use those fonts?


I had ordered Testor's custom decal kit from Amazon (same kit as available on the decalgear site as well). It comes with some white and clear decal paper that you can print on using a normal inkjet printer and something to coat the decals after printing. I plan on using the white paper for the numbers and use the font to print out the 01 and 02. Seems to me like it should work. My order should be coming in tomorrow so I'll know by then.

#35 wm cheng

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 07:59 AM

I had ordered Testor's custom decal kit from Amazon (same kit as available on the decalgear site as well). It comes with some white and clear decal paper that you can print on using a normal inkjet printer and something to coat the decals after printing. I plan on using the white paper for the numbers and use the font to print out the 01 and 02. Seems to me like it should work. My order should be coming in tomorrow so I'll know by then.


You would print the 01 & 02 onto the white decal paper, but you still have to cut it out? - isn't it a solid white sheet. I'd love to see it when you're done.




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