I'm going to write this section a little bit differently. It shouldn't look any different to the readers, but I'm going to be writing as I'm working instead of writing after the work is done. Hopefully this will provide you more insight!
Panel Lining:I have all of my tools laid out in this photo:
Enamel based paint: Tamiya and Modelmasters work best
Zippo lighter fluid
Cotton buds (not pictured)
In my mixing dish I have a 50/50 ratio of light fluid to enamel paint.
load your brush up and lighting touch the surface where a panel line is. The paint will be drawn into the line by capillary action.
Let the part dry for 5-10 minutes. Then using a cotton bud lightly moistened with lighter fluid, brush around the panel until all excess paint has been removed.
Here are a couple of tips for this step:
Periodically add more lighter fluid to your 50/50 ratio of paint to lighter fluid. The lighter fluid tends to evaporate quickly leaving you with a thicker mixture.
Don't saturate your cotton bud in lighter fluid. Just get it slightly damp.
Don't press to hard with your cotton bud, just lightly drag it over the surface of the panel line.
I have all the equipment I need laid out:
Mr. Mark Setter
Mr. Mark Softer
Luke warm water
Manual (from the MG)
X-acto knife (not pictured)
Tissues (not pictured)
Cut out the decal you need and dip it in the water for 10-15 seconds.
Remove the excess moisture by setting the decal down on a bit of paper towel, this can make the decal easier to maneuver. Use your tweezers to place the decal roughly where it needs to sit on the part.
Nudge the decal into its final place with a q-tip or spudger.
Finally flatten the decal and remove any remaining water by rolling a decal along the surface.
I like to let the decal sit for a bit before I use Mr. Mark Softer. So I'll usually try do decal the whole piece before I apply it.
I apply Mr. Mark Softer by appling it with the included brush, and then by rolling over it with a cotton soaked in Mr. Mark Softer. Once the decal has been rolled over, I roll over it one more really lightly with a dry cotton bud to pick up any excess moisture. You need to be very quick with these steps, if decal soaks up too much softer it will get brittle and it will fall apart while you're rolling over it with the cotton Bud.
Make sure that once a decal has been treated with Mr. Mark Softer that it doesn't touch any surface until it's 100% dry (a couple of hours).
If a decal moves after the Mark Softer has been applied you have about 5-10 seconds to quickly reposition it. If your decal folds, tears or can't be relocated you need to consider removing the decal and trying again with a similar one, or skipping the location.
I only use Mr. Mark Setter in a few cases. If the spot I'm putting the decal on is an unusal shape like a curve, or if the decal is very small around 3mm x 3mm . Decals typically have trouble staying attached in both cases.
Top Coating:There are three general types of topcoats; glossy, semi gloss and matte topcoat. I used glossy topcoat for the Sinanju because I wanted to keep the 'high performance sports car' look to the kit. Generally modelers tend to prefer semi gloss and matte topcoats on gunpla, because they make the models look less toyish.
I used Plamo Uk’s glossy topcoat for the Sinanju, but there is a great and cheap alternative that’s readily available in many stores across the us called Future Floor Acrylic. You can find a great tutorial on the subject here.
Top coating is exactly like painting. You want to apply topcoat to a clean lint free surface. You also want to use multiple thin coats as opposed to one really thick one. If you take an exceptionally long time aplpying decals, and some of your pieces get dusty, you should try to give a quick gently rinse in the sink. However you need to be extremely careful, because you don't want the decals to lift.