I determined that the stripes needed decals to make them as “clean” as a mask and spray job. So I took a piece of clear decal film and painted it with the Insignia Blue (Vallejo Steel Blue). IMPORTANT: Do not paint the piece of decal material right up to the edge. If paint is taken to the edge, it will seep into the paper and glue the decal to the paper so it cannot be removed. Paint up to, but not over the edge. Leave a tiny sliver of unpainted decal at all edges.
Use a steel straightedge and a new knife blade. I like Zona blades. X-acto used to be good but they have declined in quality.
I wanted six strips to “edge” the three white lines in my stripe painting demo here.
Now it’s time to grease up the stripes with some old-fashioned saliva. You can buy this for $500 an ounce from a dealer in Macao or you can do it the old fashioned way and spit on it.
I went ahead an put all of the decal strips in the warm water at the same time. This was probably a mistake. I would not recommend doing this if you are a beginner. Do one at a time.
The stripes can be moved using the tip of a file.
Once each strip is in place, let it dry for a bit. Once it is “set” it will be possible to paint a coat of Micro-Sol on the decal. Only on the decal.
If you are just learning and don’t want to take chances, then let each decal dry before moving on to the next one. I haven’t got that kind of patience, but using Micro-Sol will soften the decals so an errant finger could destroy them if they are touched before they are dry.
After coaxing the decals into place, the “nice clean” lines look like they were masked.
Once the Micro-Sol has been given some time to work (I’d say at least five hours) the strips will “merge” into the paint. Then a coat of flattener (Future plus Tamiya Flat Base) will make it very difficult to tell if this was masked and sprayed or all done by hand.