Finally, I've reached the decaling stage, but 1st I needed to lay down a really smooth and shiny coat of gloss. I've been experimenting with Tamiya X-22 Acrylic gloss, but it's never dried really smooth, nor have I been able to get a consistent coat laid down.
I Thinned the X-22 with Tamiya Yellow cap Lacquer based thinner 1:1, then applied a tack coat, followed by 2 sort of wet coats. Gave it 2 full days to dry. What I had was basically a repeat of my previous efforts. Ok to decal over, but I'd be risking some silvering and flash issues, as it was not really smooth to the touch. So I VERY lightly wet sanded the entire fuselage with Tamiya #2000 sanding sponge. You cold see the opaque residue both on the sponge and left on the body. But it was now smoother then ever before. A gentle wash of warm water, and I finally had the finish I was looking for: Smooth as a baby's butt.
For the decals I had purchased the Caracal Models ANG T-33A part 2 sheet which was printed by Cartograf. I've been using a modified decaling system that I got from Paul Budzik: Microscale Set, Sol, & Solvaset.
The decals laid down without any issues, and were extremely easy to do any reposition adjustments, to this end I contribute it to the smoothness of the surface more then anything else. Over all the 4 day decaling process went perfectly. The decals laid down into every single nook & cranny, and I couldn't see any issues once they dried. The only additional thing needed was after about a 1/2 hour I cut the two decals that went over the rudder and Vertical Stabilizer joint , added more Solvaset, and the end result looks as though they were painted separately.
There was a time many years ago when I would have cut out every single letter and number, and then pain snakingly applied them one at a time using tape as a guide, but those days are long gone with poor eye sight and slight shaking due to old age. So I've always been just a little leery of having decals with a lot of clear film as I always managed to have a little silvering issues. But not this time. The polishing solved that issue for me.
Two issues did come up with the Caracal decal placement sheet. The 1st one was that most of the ANG units didn't use the Red separation line where the fuselage pulls apart for engine maintenance. I found that rather strange, so I dug through my resource pictures and sure enough that is correct. I also found an issue with the black nose. The Caracal instructions calls for a split 2 part black nose of different proportions for the top and bottom, but my references has the nose as solid black with those proportions. Unfortunately, I didn't check till it was to late.
So while I didn't apply the Red line, I painted the nose incorrectly.
The decaling while completed, there is no top coat of gloss as yet.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my build to date. It's always much appreciated.