Water Slide Decals on the Bandai Millennium Falcon 1/144
The Millennium Falcon comes with an assortment of colored panels and markings. And to reflect them on this kit, you can choose between decals and good old-fashioned masking. I definitely wanted to avoid the masking route because of a bad experience in a previous build and because I thought it would be easier to just use the decals.
Bandai was generous enough to include both sticker and water slide decals in most of their Star Wars kits. The stickers are actually really good, but I decided to go with the water slides because I think the colors are slightly better. And I actually enjoy the process of applying them.
First decals I applied were those for the turret windows
As a warm-up, I deliberately started with the flattest surfaces. Things went mostly well enough, except that I still got some small tearing over some of the bumps. I think I'm a bit heavy-handed with my cotton swabs.
For the trickier, bumpier surfaces, it was time to bring out Mr. Mark Setter and Mr. Mark Softer. They work well enough, but caution is always needed because you can easily tear your decals if you start poking at them too soon after application. I know I have a tendency to do that.
The red decal on the mandible is supposed to go over the pipes and a few other bumps. This took a lot of Softer and massaging and I ended up tearing the decal in a few places. The good thing about this build is that it's supposed to look weathered.
And just as I was getting more confident about putting decals on the trickier parts, I tore a decal near the cockpit that was on a perfectly flat surface. Worse, my gloss coat in this area might have been too thin as the Setter or Softer ate a bit into my base coat. I ended up having to mask and paint that specific panel.
As a friend once said, "Masking is modeling."
Only the tiniest markings left to do
With all the decals in place, I misted each one with white to wash them out a bit. The last step was another round of gloss coat on the decals to protect them during the weathering stage.
I had originally planned to do some paint chipping on the colored panels and decals but I changed my mind somewhere along the way. If I were to redo this though, I think I really should have gone through with the paint chipping whether by actual scratching or by dabbing the base coat color with a small sponge. Oh well.