|Enlist Today! The Imperial Navy Needs Your Help (to rid the galaxy of Rebel Scum)|
To appreciate just how detailed the decals were, you had to view it under the magnification of a DSLR camera's dedicated macro lens. Only then could you make out the intricate Empire logo design that wasn't visible to the naked eye. Looking at the water decals as they are, without help from any form of magnification, is to see only a decal of a white blob with barely a hint of a design. But that's just me, an old guy whose 20/20 vision had long deserted him more than three decades ago.
|[Before decals and paint] Both pilot options at 1/72 scale for the Bandai TIE Fighter|
|Eventually only Mr.Mark Softer, a sharp hobby knife and a toothpick were needed for proper decal application|
Plainly obvious from the immediate photo below, the helmet decal is small. So small in fact it's barely bigger than the tip of a hobby knife. Applying such tiny decals require patience. But that alone wasn't enough. I found out the hard way that two other items were needed: a decal softening solution (e.g. Mr.Mark Softer) and a toothpick. The former made the decal pliable enough to adhere to the plastic surface while the latter was the smallest tool I could find to manipulate the decal without getting it stuck to the said tool. Add a healthy dose of patience and ... wa-lah ... mission accomplished.
|No.33 decals are the Imperial symbols on the pilot's helmet; pictured next to a hobby knife blade|
|Bandai 1/72 scale TIE Fighter pilot, standing version|
|Bandai 1/72 scale TIE Fighter pilot, seated version|
Decals also played a prominent role in the TIE Fighter's cockpit interior. While not as small as the helmet decals, the red-on-black-instrument-panel decals weren't that much bigger. Moreover, the uneven concave surface of the interior complicated what would've been a straightforward task.
|Initial steps in the assembly of the Bandai TIE fighter|
|This angle gives a clear view of the TIE fighter pilot's helmet decal|
|Eleven instrument panel decals were applied to the back, and another four in front (not shown here)|
|Once fully assembled, the cockpit interior will darken considerably thus reducing visibility|
|Red LED lights shining from the bottom would've been the perfect final touch ... if only|
One thing I took out of this hobby session was the amount of practice I got in water decal application. I no longer hold any fear of using/applying water decals, at least Bandai ones. It's actually quite fun to be honest and a job well done gives almost as much satisfaction getting a paint job done right. Soon, I'll be starting work on the TIE Fighter's central hull. This one is going to be the Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi version which means a blue gray colour scheme. Updates soon ... I hope.