Saturday, 1 October 2011

In Soviet Russia, Transfers Do You

By The Megapope   Posted at  01:48   tutorial 1 comment

(alternative title: look at Megapope's totally embarrassing mold lines that he failed to get rid of on his first tactical squad that are now here for everyone to see, sadly taking away from his awesome decal application skills)

So often when I'm walking down the street, lonely and desperate hobbyists come running up to me, tears of dejection dripping down through their neckbeards*, and they ask me, Megapope they ask, how do we attain your levels of decal greatness so that attractive members of our preferred gender will do the dirty with us?

Well my long suffering nerdlings, I hate to break this to you but applying nice looking transfers is almost 100% guaranteed not to net you any sex in life. I am however going to show you some tips, because I'm pretty damn happy about how much better my models look now, and I feel this sort of thing should be passed around.

Even if it won't get you laid.


A wet sponge!  It should be wet enough so that water pools around your finger when you poke it. Phwoar. Make sure there's a decent clean spot to put your transfers on! Don't wanna get paint on your lovely decals. 

Varnish! Gloss and matt. I use these particular ones because, well, they were the first ones I laid eyes on when I was in places looking for varnish. 

A brush! And a knife! Tweezers could also be useful but I get by without them to be honest, and I'm a 6 foot plus, ruggedly handsome ape man with fingers like German sausages. So if you don't have any tweezers don't sweat it.

Transfers! Well duh. If you're following along with this tutorial and don't have any transfers then frankly you should step away from the computer now and go read a book instead. One with cardboard pages that are chew resistant.
Forgeworld do an awesome range of A4 sized transfer sheets for a bunch of space marine chapters. Well worth the money in my opinion, given the huge range of options the sheet gives hobbyists in making their space soldiers and vehicles look awesome.

Above all else, you need this. This is the magic pixie fairy dust that will turn your crappy, painted over transfers into professional looking pieces of sex that will make your miniatures so scorchingly awesome that your opponents will take one look and slowly back away, their steps squelching wetly in the puddles of their own incontinence.
These should be easily available from your local modelling store. GW doesn't sell it, but any generic hobby model train and plane selling place should do.

Optional extra: an evil looking cat that dribbles a bit and walks into trees. 


So first thing you want to do is apply gloss varnish to the area that you're putting the decal on. Make sure the whole section (shoulder pad, knee, etc) of the model is varnished, as you'll be going over it a few times and it'll become apparent very quickly if you've only varnished a patch. The varnish should be dry before sticking any decals on! 

Cut the transfers out, and trim away as much of the surrounding clear space as you possibly can. This photo is kinda hard to make out, but I've chosen Ultramarine symbols to start out with. I painted over the old crappy looking ones on my tactical squad, having decided to bring them up to speed with the better looking models. 

Put the decal onto the sponge! It will quickly darken as it gets wet. Phwoar. While the decal is getting all deliciously moist, brush a few dabs of Microset (the blue bottle) onto the area. It's possible to just use the stronger mix, Microsol (the red bottle), but I find that moving the decal around when it's too floppy and partially dissolved is a real pain in the tubes, so Microset is better for this stage.

Use your knife or tweezers or extendable bionic probe device to remove the transfer from the sponge. Take care children, sometimes the decal can slip off the backing and YOUR ENTIRE LIFE WILL BE UTTERLY RUINED AND EVERYTHING YOU LOVE WILL BE LOST or you'll have to pick it back up. One of those two.

With the care and precision of a shark ballerina ninja, brush the transfer off the backing. It should come away pretty easily after it's time on the sponge. Spend half an hour swearing as you keep accidentally brushing it a millimetre past where you actually want it. 

Finally the decal is in place! See how it sits there merrily. Alas however the Ultramarine symbol is only slightly less stupidly shaped than the tactical symbol when it comes to sitting well on a curved shoulder pad. If you're dealing with anything remotely similar you'll immediately find that bits and corners of the transfer will insist on sticking up in the air no matter how hard you try to get it to lay flush on the shoulder pad. 

Now, this awkward not sitting right stage is the part that Games Workshop seems to think doesn't exist when you read through their online decal tutorial. Theirs was basically written by Satan to goad people into murderous rampages, and is along the lines of 'cut transfer out roughly with spoon, slap some water on it, shove it in the vague direction of your marine and panel 4 it looks damn perfect.' Seriously GW, why do you spin this web of lies? 

I however am a thoroughly trustworthy individual who helps old ladies across the street** and I'm here to help you. So now we come to the second part of our chemical assault, the red bottle. 

Load up the brush with some of the magic that is Microsol and dab that wonderous concoction onto your transfer. Make sure the dabbing doesn't move your decal a millimetre to the left. That would destroy everything and you'd have to basically chuck your model into a fire.

After a while, your transfer will go crinkly around the edges. Don't panic sports fans, this is perfectly normal. Some people of a less robust type than myself advise hobbyists not to try to smooth out the crinkly bubbles at this stage, as the transfer's brittle and easily damaged. I tend to do it anyway, because I've found that it makes for a better finished product, at least with very tricksy shapes that don't like sitting flat on a Space Marine shoulder pad. If I can manage to generally not break the decal with my fingers that are basically flailing bananas then so can you.

So I come back to it as it dries out and becomes less crinkly, every now and then just carefully helping the process by smoothing out a stubborn crinkly edge with a brush. It helps to use something with a bit of shape, not a great big dry brushing one with no control. 

BEHOLD THE HORRIFIC PRICE OF MY OWN HUBRIS. See that tiny hole? I did that during the crinkly stage by not being careful enough. OH WOE UNTO THE HOUSE OF MEGAPOPE.

Go over the transfer with gloss varnish to seal the little sod in and to make sure that the ravening grubby fingers of the damned don't damage it. Once that's dried, go over it a final time with matt varnish, to take the obnoxiously glaring shine away. And you're done! 

Pro tip: make sure the decal is thoroughly dried and set before varnishing. I've found that bits of partially dissolved transfer edging tends to come away in nasty little clumps and mix in with the varnish if it's still in the process of setting properly. I tend to wait for a good half hour to an hour after I'm done mucking about with the decal. 

And here is an EXCITING MONTAGE of a bunch of my boys in blue looking spiffy with their transfers all done and stuff. Now get out there and go crazy hog wild! Put decals on everything!


* Both girl and guy nerds have these. Look it up, it's science. 
** This is a complete lie.

1 comment :

  1. I was once a 90 pound weakling who constantly had sand kicked in his face. Now with Dan's transfer method, I'm a steroid ridden ape who can only speak in grunts! AND I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER!


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Who is this beardy weirdo?

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Hatching from his egg high in the glacier crowned majesty of the Himalayas, the Megapope quickly devoured his other siblings and later on his parents, for being damned cheeky. He ran a bloody campaign of terror across the wind swept steppes of the north, coming to be known as 'That Horrid Bastard' by the terrified tribes of the region. Many years later he came second in a beauty contest, won $10, didn't pass Go and didn't collect $200.

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