Transfers for 30k Mechanicum army + Tutorial

I finally finished the bulk of my 30k Mechanicum army and I am so stoked with how they finally turned out. I’ve been painting these guys since December of last year and saving them on my shelf to finish them by sealing – I dare not seal them in the winter time. I live in the Pacific Northwest United States, so much of the year it’s a little too cool and/or rainy to prime or seal. I get terrified when I need to go seal models because of the dreaded “fogging” effect. I also wanted to get some decals on them, which I’ve never done successfully to my satisfaction on other models, so I held off till the summer (now!) to do transfers and final sealing. Below is the results – check it out!

I knew I wanted my Mechanicum finish to be Matte and also have transfers / decals on them – the pictures on Forgeworld website look so great with the transfers. I listened to podcasts and asked a lot of questions to learn how to do the transfers effectively. I also used a new matte sealer (instead of Dullcote) – and I’m a complete convert. I now use Army Painter’s Mat Finish seal – found here:

Here’s the process I use for transfers & sealing:

  1. Paint the area thoroughly as you like it
  2. Make sure paint is fully dry
  3. Lay down a thin layer of Gloss varnish or Hardcoat where you want your decal(s) to go. Let this dry completely. This creates a smooth surface for your decals to adhere to.
  4. Using Microset, lay the decal in Microset for several seconds, like up to 30. It should come off the transfer. Brush some Microset onto the glossy area where you want your decal. Then slide the decal onto this area gently and slowly. The purpose of the Microset is to help make the decal sticky and adhere to the surface.
  5. Brush Microset onto the decal thinly with your brush to help position the decal. Once the decal is in place, let it set for a few seconds. After about 30 seconds, you can blot dry with a paper towel.
  6. Using a brush, brush on some Microsol over the decal, making sure it’s fully covered. You can do this several times if you like. I like to come back after about 2-5 minutes after first application and do again. The point of the Microsol is to dissolve the transfer material and leave only the painted decal on the model surface.
  7. Allow this to dry thoroughly now. You can re-apply several times if you like, but I find 1 to 2 applications seem to dissolve all the decal transfer material quite well. Drying overnight is not a bad idea.
  8. Once your model is dry, spray with matte sealer. I use Army Painter Mat Varnish spray.

For the transfers solution, I order my Microsol / Microset on Amazon:

Here’s some pics of the work in progress.

A Castellax with the transfers applied, through all the steps before the matt varnish sealer.

A bit closer up. You can see the shiny areas of the gloss varnish. This will get knocked down with the matt varnish.

Even closer up. Take your time with the transfers, they can be tricky.

All my Thallax. The smaller transfers are tricky but with patience you can get there easily.

Big boy Thanatar with his transfers. Glorious.

Knight shoulder pad with House Taranis markings. The Knight transfers were really tricky as some of them really were so big they curled up on themselves, especially the arrows and the block line pattern at the bottom edge. You have to cut it down and then when dry paint any parts where it doesn’t cover with black paint to fill in the little circle areas at the edges. Also, you can cut the transfers on large transfers to so they don’t bunch up and make creases. GW has a great video you can watch to see the technique, here: video. Note – don’t use water like they do in the video – use the process above, with Microset and Microsol – but this video gives you a couple of good pointers on how to clean up the decals with targeted incisions to keep it from bunching up.

More Knight armor pieces with transfers.

All the Knight armor plates for 2 Questoris Knights of House Taranis.

Everything sealed with Army Painter anti-shine matt varnish spray. I like this stuff because it doesn’t overdull the metalics but also makes the model very flat finish, and completely covers up any gloss from the areas you applied gloss varnish for decal adhesion. Blends seamlessly with the rest of the model too.

Close up of everyone! You can click on the above 2 pics to see the detail even better.

Well I hope you enjoyed this post and that it helped you on your quest for nicely placed and sealed transfers! Good hobbying!

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