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When doing model fine details and symbols do you prefer to...  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
When doing model fine details and symbols do you prefer to...
Use standard decals
Create your own custom decals
Use detail on the original model itself
Deliberately buy upgraded parts for models with Symbols and detail on, to save using decals.
Model your own GS fine detail
Paint on fine details free hand
Don't bother with detail, just a basic paint job
I Don't Paint
Other (write in)

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Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut

My free hand and brush control Kung-Fu is weak so it takes a very long time for me to do fine details. Decals look great if applied correctly and save me a ton of time. So for now...transfer sheet? Yes please!

1500 Dark Angels( 9 - 4 - 0 )
Humility must always be the portion of any man who receives acclaim earned in the blood of his followers and the sacrifices of his friends.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Made in us

Louisville, KY, USA

I'm working with a combination of media for my Salamanders. Standard decals. Forgeworld brass. Kromlech shoulder pads for some 'veteran/sergeant' tagging. At some point, home produced decals for mimicing Salamanders markings found in various sources.
Made in gb
Kabalite Conscript

The Dark City

I paint the modelled glyphs from the sets, but if it looks boring i do a few rough freehand ones as well, but I've only ever used 2 transfers.

1k points
3k points (including 500 points rebel grots!
Made in nz
Fresh-Faced New User

New Zealand

I've got home brew chapter so I have to make my own decals. They look great
Made in ca
Monstrous Master Moulder

I try to paint them. The paint job is terrible, (it's Salamanders and I have the precision skills of a malfunctioning crane on caffeine) but it means I don't have to change the decals every week or so.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2014/07/29 02:07:06

Faithful... Enlightened... Ambitious... Brethren... WE NEED A NEW DRIVER! THIS ONE IS DEAD!  
Made in us
Fixture of Dakka


I chose other, because this is a single-option survey, and I actually use several of the methods listed.

I freehand when doing individual designs. I use decals (both hand-made & printed, and stock ones) where uniformity is important. I've bought the extra forgeworld parts with raised details for several armies.

There is no one answer - it's really about picking the right method for the task at hand.

Made in us
Automated Rubric Marine of Tzeentch

It really does depend on the model for me. For example Thousand Sons rubric marines look better with their ouroboros transfers than the Iron Warriors or Death Guard do with theirs. Then again I do try to avoid freehand as much as possible because of how frequently I make mistakes. I'd just be redoing the whole thing again and again until there's a build up of paint that can't be left that way nor can it be wiped off because then it'd leave a line where the layers broke off on the finish. Freehand is just too high risk in my opinion. Fortunately for CSM there are a lot of conversion kits that GW still sells.
Made in gb
Battlefield Tourist

On an Express Elevator to Hell!!

I probably use decals most, although attempt to free-hand if its a very simple design - something like a cross, triangle etc. I honestly think the decal is the gamers equivalent of the microwave - it might not get the 'taste' suitable for the connoisseur, but you can get amazing results in a tiny fraction of the time needed otherwise.

A lot of the symbols on things I have would be impossible to freehand well, such as a US flag on the side of a 15mm tank for instance.

And, if I'm painting 30 of these guys, as much as I would love to have the time (and skill!) to freehand, it would be something like 2016 before I had finished painting the designs.

With a high-quality decal, and some soaking solution painted on to it, add a bit of weathering and you can make the decal look part of the miniature. I quite often have comments about being amazing at freehand, and then have to point out that actually its a decal.

I'm actually really, really surprised at how high the percentage is of people saying they use free-hand! Would love to see in which context it actually refers to (i.e. what models are they painting, what are they using freehand for).

Small but perfectly formed! A Great Crusade Epic 6mm project: https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/694411.page
Excellent discussion forum & information collection for Epic and other small scale miniatures: http://www.tacticalwargames.net/taccmd/index.php
Made in us
Xeno-Hating Inquisitorial Excruciator

Years ago I was great at doing freehand, but now that I'm coming back to the hobby, I can barely keep my hands still enough to keep the mini in place. It might take a bit more practice than I thought it would, but that's the fun of it, I guess.

Made in gb
Ruthless Interrogator

The hills above Belfast

I can't get decals flat enough on pads. Have used them on banners. I'm not talented enough, for my critical eye anyway. To do free hand so I try and model or use existing features.

Made in us
Dakka Veteran

I voted for use the detail on the original model as my preferred method. I'm total rubbish at painting freehand symbols or markings, so that's right out. If the detail isn' there I don't mind using decals, although that's second choice for me. Buying upgrade parts is another option, but can often be cost prohibitive when we are talking about anyone except character models.
Made in de
Human Auxiliary to the Empire

GS'ing and freehand. In my relative young journey in WH40K I never used a decal. I hated them when using revell-models and don't know if I will ever use one. But maybe I will change my mind, I have seen some amazing decal work.

Gue'vesa Tau player 
Made in us
Implacable Black Templar Initiate

Palm Beach Gardens, FL

I use to just paint the miniature and not add any symbols. However, now I add decals using mico set, micro sol, and Vallejo decal fix. It takes some practice but I'm getting to the point where the decals look painted on.
Made in us
Dark Angels Librarian with Book of Secrets

A Protoss colony world

I only use decals on vehicles, as nice flat surfaces take decals better than space marine shoulder pads. Tried to do the shoulder pad ones, then said feth it and badly freehanded the symbols.

My armies (re-counted and updated on 12/01/17, including usual wargear options):
Dark Angels: ~10300 | Space Marines (Blood Ravens and others): ~1000 | Space Wolves: ~1500
Inquisition: ~200 | Officio Assassinorum: ~500 | Imperial Knights: ~Coming soon!
Tau Empire: ~5700 | Chaos Space Marines (various legions): ~7700 | Death Guard: ~1900 | Chaos Daemons (all types): ~2300
Check out my P&M Blogs: ZergSmasher's P&M Blog | Stormsurge blog | Imperial Knights: Renegade blog | Total models painted in 2017: 65 | Total models painted in 2018: 10 | Current main painting project: Alpha Legion Sorcerer
 Mr_Rose wrote:
Who doesn’t love crazy mutant squawk-puppies? Eh? Nobody, that’s who.
Made in us
Frightnening Fiend of Slaanesh

I dont even know how to use and apply decals or transfers and i worry it will be messed up by the shades i put on my models

The mind-curdling cacophony of the battlefield! Shape it, savour it, add to it until your senses shake and your minds quiver with deafening bliss!  
Made in ch
Warning From Magnus? Not Listening!

Holy Terra.

I free hand a lot but i love forge worlds decals.

Made in us
Tough-as-Nails Ork Boy

I freehand, then paint over it, then try again, then paint over it, then try again... fine details usually take me at least 3 tries. Perhaps I should get me some transfers. I did just start cutting out some from super-thin plastic, then painting over them, and so far, it's working pretty well. It adds just a tiny bit of relief to the design, and you can cut out as many as you need until you get one that looks good enough to superglue to the model.

All Orks, All Da Zoggin' TIme. 'Cause Da Rest of You Gitz is Just Muckin' About, Waitin' ta Get Krumped.  
Made in us
Human Auxiliary to the Empire

I usually design an emblem and then paint it on fine using a toothpick.

4000pts Tau
2500 pts Dwarfs
2000 pts Deathwolves
:1300 pts Orks
1000pts Harlequins
Made in no
Committed Chaos Cult Marine

A mix; standard decals for my Alpha Legion SMs, but the Renegades get free-hand symbols. I would buy custom shoulder pads and custom decals though.

W/D/L with my Chaos Space Marines (mix of Alpha Legion, Red Corsairs, and Fallen post-codex: 0/0/8

Tabled T3: 1
Tabled T4: 4
Tabled T5: 1 
Made in gb
Guardsman with Flashlight

I paint my own unit numbers/skull insignias on my guardsmen, I just really can't be bothered with decals.
Made in gb
Sneaky Kommando

Paint them my self

Made in gb
Bounding Dark Angels Assault Marine

I used to do decals but I've never been happy with the result, and they're just a pain in the ass to do.

My preference is to find, or add, detail on the models and pick them out in some way that distinguishes them how I want. Otherwise it's just a basic paint job.

For Dark Angels though I've found that the Dark Angels veteran and Ravenwing sprues are just fantastic; I've gotten a tonne of mileage out of just one of each, plus the veteran sprue lets you build five robed marines, you just need to add spare special/heavy weapons from your own collection to complete them.

I'm not sure if the Veteran sprue is available on its own anymore, but the Ravenwing Accessory Pack still is. Lots of great bits in there for bikes and vehicles, plus the parts needed to convert a land speeder for Sammael.

Made in us

Louisville, KY, USA

Other. I tend to use a little bit of everything. Different techniques for different applications. Standard decals, custom decals, and thrid-party custom bits primarily.
Made in us
Guarded Grey Knight Terminator

Looking for the Rest of the II Legion

Free hand is a major WIP but my go to as of right now.

"My friend, you would not tell with such high zest, to children ardent for some desperate glory the old lie, Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori."
Grey Knights ~ 3500, Fully Painted =][= Space Wolves ~ 4000, Fully Painted =][= Prosperine Exiles ~ WIP =][= Sons of Altia ~ WIP
Made in us
Dakka Veteran

I prefer custom parts when I can get them, but I've seen people do wonders with fine paint markers.

Bender wrote:* Realise that despite the way people talk, this is not a professional sport played by demi gods, but rather a game of toy soldiers played by tired, inebriated human beings.

Harry Dresden wrote:
...but they were Donuts of Darkness...
Made in be
Longtime Dakkanaut

By the way... I've recently learned how decals are supposed to be applied properly, and I have moved my position from "no thanks" to "awesome for tabletop quality".

The thing is, if you're using proper decal solvent, the whole "sticker" look goes away and they practically look painted on.
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