Adventures with Masking Tape
Upon completion of the body, I quickly turned to the decals. I had expressed some concern earlier about the brittleness of the decals together with their size, and my concerns turned out to be somewhat correct. I applied the nose decals without too much trouble, but when I started working on the red stripe at the back of the ship, there were just too many issues, so I decided to try masking tape and paint them myself.
I went to Hobby Lobby and got some of the best modeling masking tape out there, made by Tamiya, and returned home with a purpose. I planned on using my airbrush, and the masking tape I got was a pretty narrow width, so I added several pieces to account for overspray. Unfortunately, my airbrush skills are still in the developing phase, and when I removed the masking tape there was quite a bit of red overspray in many places I did not want it.
As a result, I had to apply several coats of white paint and spend a couple days recovering from the overspray. No detail areas were harmed, so it was not difficult, just time-consuming. I have included a photo of the before and after white coats below.
I learned a lot about masking tape and good airbrush technique from this experiment, most of all that a tight seal is absolutely crucial when applying the masking tape. Fortunately, the kit is no worse for the wear. Success! I also went back and masked the nose stripes, but brushed the red on by hand instead, in order that all of the red stripes had the exact same shade of red.
Next, it was fairly simple to apply the rest of the small detail decals, and I had no problems with brittleness or gapping. I will leave with a photo of the assembled, painted, and decaled Viper. It is almost done!