Tutorial: Panel Line & Decal Application
Let’s take a look at some easy and quick ways of customization to bring life and individuality to your mass produced toys and action figures! The following tutorial took a total of approximately 2.5 hours to complete, that’s including taking photos as well!
Some things you may need:
Right, now that you have everything you need, let’s get started!
Step 01. – Cleaning
If your toy has been sitting on the shelf on display for some time, there is bound to be some build up of dust, so give it a clean with a brush and blower. Here I’m using my camera cleaning tools but any small brush will do. This will keep your Gundam marker felt tips from getting dirty.
Step 02. – Disassembly
Disassemble your toy to smaller and more manageable parts, be gentle with the joints and keep a track of where things go. Most toys are pretty easy to figure out and will have the same parts for both sides.
Step 03. – Testing
Test your Gundam markers on a spare piece of plastic or unwanted parts to make sure there is ink, this also will start the flow of ink to give you better lines when you work on your toy.
Step 04. – Panel Lining
Start with the most inconspicuous part of the toy so if you do make a mistake here it is less noticeable. Work your way up until you are confident to take on the main parts of the toy.
Go slow and steady and try to avoid going over the same line twice as the lines will appear darker and inconsistent. Here are a few pictures comparing between “before” and after”.
When working on light coloured surfaces such as white, use the “Grey” colour marker, this will make the panel lines appear more natural. When working on darker surfaces, use the “Black” colour markers. Not shown here, but if you have any red parts, it is preferable to use a “Brown” marker. I used the Black marker to draw lines that fall between dark and light areas, see the head for example.
Work your way through the figure and draw in any panel lines and edges, once you think you’ve finished you can then assemble the figure. Doesn’t it look better already?
Step 05. – Applying Decal
Alright, so the toy is looking much nicer with all the panel line details, but it is still lacking in the print department. This is where decals come in. There are a variety of decals to choose from in varying sizes, colours and styles. Here I’m using some “Caution” style decals and I’ve chosen to use the grey ones simply to match the rest of the figure. Black would have been too strong.
First thing you have to do is to cut out the individual decal that you want to use, then put it against your toy to make sure it fits the space you want to apply it to. Then put the decal in water and let it sit for 10 to 30 seconds. Now the decal should fall off its backing paper quite easily and you can grab it with the tweezers.
Take it to the area to apply the decal to and once on the toy, you can nudge it into place. When you are satisfied with the placement of the decal, get a cotton bud and press down firmly and dry the area. Be careful not to touch the decal for at least 24 hrs with your fingers as they tend to stick to them. Now rinse and repeat throughout the figure.
Just a tip, sometimes the decal does not come off the backing paper by itself but you can encourage it with your craft knife. When applying the same decal to two separate parts such as the arms, you can use the ruler to get the spacing right.
After 2.5 hours, its all done!! Well worth it in my opinion:)
Let’s take a look at the finished product compared with the standard.
To see the full review of this action figure, go here.
Thanks for reading my tutorial!