I've all but finished decaling at this point, but here's one update on that stage for starters.
The kit's decal sheet is by Aviprint, and while I do remember them having quite thin decal film, I don't recall it being this
thin... Now a thin decal film is good for getting that painted-on look, but these were on the verge of being too thin. Sure, they look great when applied, but they're very delicate and prone to shattering and tearing, and like to cling to the model's surface quickly unless kept wet with water and/or Micro Set.
A bit of silly design on the nose gear door stencil ("max towing angle"). Printed as one single piece with continuous carrier film. There's
it can be applied properly when building the model with landing gear down, due to the small front bay door being in the way.
Simple & easy solution: cut it in three pieces.
Another problem with the decal sheet: ejection seat triangles have no text at all. Sad.
Plus some roughness in the printing of the Finnish roundels.
I have no idea why the seat warning triangles have been left blank. And same for the pair meant for the Yugoslavian markings, so considering they made separate pairs, I'd presume they were meant to have different text?
And they printed multi-color decals like the Yugoslav markings in two parts to ensure alignment & stuff. Thinking of sending email to Special Hobby and asking about this...
Of course, I dug through my decal storage binder and came across quite a plethora of seat triangles, but none with just that exact style. Bummer.
It's not like there's no references around
...And actually I've already photoshopped a triangle based on that photo, but of course I happen to be out of two shades of toner on my printer at the moment.
Btw, if someone's thinking of also building a Finnish Gnat, shoot me a message and I'll email you the .psd file so you can't print your own seat triangles in whatever scale your working in!
Lastly for this update, the roundels. As those on the kit sheet suffer from minor printing issues, and also had the blue shade a tiny bit off to my eye, I replaced them with items from an old (and presumably also long out of production) Kuivalainen Decals sheet.
These must be getting old by now, as I have only memories of them working all but flawlessly in the past. Anyway, now they seemed less responsive to Micro Sol and for some reason also wanted to developed small cracks when conforming over recessed detailing. Touching up with paint is no issue, but not conforming to details as well I'd like is, so I did some experimenting with a spare decal and Tamiya Extra Thin (I recalled reading about liquid cement being used for stubborn decals as a last resort) and Gunze's Mr Color Thinner. I settled on the latter, brushing it very quickly and sparingly over the roundels where they covered recessed detail. Worked beautifully.
Note that not all of the breaking is due to the thinner, but also from my previous attempts at getting the decal to conform.
Part of the decal odyssey coming soon.