The 3D decals applied easily with warm water. Once set I brushed some diluted Ammo Ultra Glue over the top to ensure they do not fall off. The detail is incredible and I look forward to using more in my future projects.
I forgot to paint the wheelbays before I primed in black so I did those now with MRP FS36495 Light Grey. It was tricky to spray the main wheel bays as they're so deep so I'd recommend to do that before you install them into the fuselage.
Had a mammoth decalling session to get all the stencils and insignia on the top finished. Not helped by Zvezda's mistakes in the stencil numbering so pay close attention. The decals are nice and thin and responded well to Microset/Microsol. It's definitely not perfect but I think it looks the part. I'll let these dry overnight and then I'll spray a top coat to seal them in.
All the decals and stencils are now on. The blue inner stars were an absolute pain to work with but I think I got it in a place I'm happy with it. I'll seal the decals with a coat of MRP Semi-Gloss varnish and it's onto some weathering.
I wanted to keep weathering to a minimum as these aircraft aren't even in full operation yet. I applied an Ammo Panel Line Wash (Blue Dirt) to the light blue and streaked it back after about 25 minutes. This gave a nice general use effect. I tried adding a light wash to the dark blue on the top side but didn't like the effect and removed it.
And just like that she's finished! The nozzle fit was appalling. They simply would not fit on at all. At this point I wanted this build off my bench for other projects so I sanded them down best I could and glued them on with super glue. It isn't pretty but it doesn't bother me too much. Definitely something to look out for if you are planning to build this kit.
The undercarriage got a light grime wash and was then fitted to the airframe. Finally the canopy was unmasked and glued into the open position.
Even in 1/72 scale she barely fits in my cheapo eBay light box. I'll upload some better complete pictures later when I get a proper lightbox.
Overall I'd have to say this was an enjoyable project. The Zvezda kit is nice, if a little basic, and certainly had its problems (Nozzles, intakes, instruction errors). With the blue digital Camo it is a very striking addition to my display cabinet. Wasn't too bothered about 5th Gen stuff but my mind has already turned to doing a F-35 to match it.
Yes Man Bad news fellas. The project is on hold until I can get some replacement decals. I tried to apply the large upper stencils with the stars and it accidentally ripped and folded in on itself. Fortunately Begemot sell a set but it'll take time to get here from Russia.