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ive just started painting up a alaitoc army, with stippled blue armour, white helmets and black weapons, im really chuffed with how they have turned out, however i would like to add details to the models, but my hand painting is naff to say the least, im wondering if any other player out there adds transfers to their models, or if its acceptable to leave them off, ive added one to my guardian helmet but its looks rubbish lol, very difficult to add one to a rounded surface
These are my blue dice, There are many more like them, But these ones are mine.
The GW tranfers can be a mixed blessing for models. I try to limit their use, but I still find them very helpful for certain applications.
When placing transfers (or decals as I call them) on rounded surfaces, you have to make some concession to the fact you're trying to conform a flat item to a non-flat surface. My greatest experience with this was placing Black Templar decals on the shoulder pads of dozens of models. The maltese cross decal was ideally suited for the task; by using a NEW hobby blade to make small cuts from the outside radius of the decal's corners towards the center of the decal, the decal itself was able to overlap itself at the cuts when placed on the shoulderpad. By cutting the space between the arms of the cross, the decal's appearance was left totally unaffected. Depending on the design of the decal and the intended surface, you may be able to use the same technique.
I've noticed at times that the white and yellow decals from GW are somewhat transparent. If you place a decal over an area with two different colors, the color borders may be apparent under the surface of the decal. The best way to address this is to ensure you plan areas for decals to only have a single color. The workaround is to place the decal and carefully use it as a guide to paint over the decal and cover any visible color borders. The last ditch approach is to try and freehand the deal.
I also find that using gloss varnish on the surface both before and after placing a decal helps the appearance. Paint varnish, let dry, apply decal, let set, and repaint varnish. I always finish models with either satin or flat varnish spray, so the decal areas end up conforming to the overall finish.
I feel your anxiety with the decals, though. I'm currently working on a sweet conversion of a Sam-Hainn jetbike farseer using the High Elf mounted wizard. The bike fairing is painted white to stand out from the others, and of course, the SH decal only comes in white on the only Eldar decal sheet I possess. I have the options of plaing a broad red or black stripe to hold the decal, or freehanding the SH rune. I'm confident with freehanding runes, though, so I'll probably go the brush route and take my time for the one model and rely on decals for everything else.
As Shashi said, some small radial cuts can help. I spent an evening a few days ago sticking SM transfers onto my guard shoulderpads- a bit of a mismatch in size but cuts helped a LOT. Also try using vinegar to break down some of the strength of the transfer- once the transfer is on the model brush the vinegar over it likely. Its not a big difference, but it's noticeably softened.
http://www.armyroster.com Check out my ToP WIP in the projects section!