Having made some nice progress with painting, I was eager to jump to the next steps – application of markings. I decided to go with nicely looking unit markings on black background, one of the options provided in the kit. And that is about where the simplicity ended.
As the side of the Achzarit is not just flat surface, but has many small depressions at regular intervals, any decals to be applied need to be sufficiently soft and adhere to such uneven surface smoothly… which Meng’s decals definitely did not.
I use Micro Sol and Micro Set solutions, which help decals to dry smoothly and fit to uneven surfaces, but in this case even these did not seem to be helping. The large decals t be applied on the sides just did not appear to be fitting to the surface and were just stubbornly sitting on top which of course was looking ridiculous. At the end, after multiple application of Micro Sol which did not seem to be doing anything and not wanting to risk that once the decals dry completely I will not be able to remove them, I have picked them up with tweezers and discarded (this was even after I have applied Micro Sol solution which normally makes decals soft and crisp to the point that it cannot be handled and moved any more. Well, Meng’s decals were just plainly thick and stiff…)
With this failure I have reverted to my aftermarket decal sets, specifically one set from Bison Decals which is designed for IDF engineering vehicles. The only problem with this set was that the markings that were illustrated in the instructions were not exactly the ones provided on the decal sheet. They were kind-of close, but simple not that easy to determine which ones (in terms of size and shape) are those to be used.
The decal quality however was much better. Once I put them on I lightly applied Micro Sol, they perfectly adhered to the surface. After having dried an hour or two, they looked perfectly without minimum of the gloss effect from the remaining decal film, that I was not able to remove from the edges.
The only decals from the Meng kit that I ended up using were the vehicle serial numbers. These were also rather stiff and needed liberal application of Micro Sol to the point that it affected paint coat in one place, but somehow once completely dry seemed to fit well..
Oh well, hope the rest will go better!