Well, it's been nearly 2 weeks since my last update as I've spent my modeling time which is a lot less this time of the year, decaling and stenciling. And the stencils just took forever even for a 1/48 scale WWII aircraft.
When I originally researched the Eduard limited edition F6F-3, the decals were listed as printed by Cartograf, so I didn't question nor have a single concern as to quality, registration, or accuracy of colors. As I got into the decaling, I still didn't take notice of the previously mentioned National Insignia issue where the lower wing's decal was printed with a silverfish gray not white! Then I ran into this wonderful issue:
You can plainly see that someone screwed up. I just couldn't believe it that Cartograf would let this error slip by. Turns out that they didn't, as this time around Eduard printed the sheet in house, and no longer states that the decals are by Cartograf. Still, someone must surely look at the test printing before running the full run. It took a few days for me to come up with a replacement from my spare decal box, and while close, it's slightly smaller and the blue is slightly darker.
the good news is that these decals are as good as any Cartograf or After Market decals I've ever used. They're thin yet strong, so they're very easy to work with, and respond excellently with the Micro system. So good in fact that the laid down into every nook & cranny and rivet like I painted them on. Same for the stencils which as I said is a long and laborious job, but once done really look good. And you can read every single stencil.
Surface prep was a wet polish with 1,500 then 4,000 sponges, then a tack coat of Tamiya X-22 Gloss Clear thinned 1:1 with Tamiya Yellow cap. Then two wet coats with the final one being thinned 1:4. when dry I repeated the 1,500 & 4,000 polishing. I'm sure that it had some effect on how well the decals laid down.
the kill marking over the My Joan are layered, yet they show no signs of clear decal film.
for a change I didn't even cut out each number and they still look like they were painted on.
After a day or two I'll seal the decals again with a tack coat, then a few wet coats with the final coat thinned 1:4 with Tamiya X-22. Then the weathering starts. Of course in between weathering sessions I'll be detailing the P&W R2800 engine.