Anders Quigg took an innovative approach to marking his Hurricane. It's not for everyone; but if you want realistic insignia on your model, you just might want to give this a try.
Scanning Your Decals
I've scanned the decals to use as a template, as well as a Montex masking set. The vinyl masks they provide don't conform well to curved surfaces, so I'm going to recreate some of them out of tape.
Rendering The Stencil Art
Using a vector illustration program (Inkscape in this case), I've traced out the desired patterns. I already have a set of pre-cut roundel masks from a while back, so I'll be using those for the roundels + insignias, but the principle is the same.
Here are the resized shapes loaded into the Cricut software. I have masks for the squadron codes, wing walkways, and some canopy sections.
After loading a sheet of Tamiya tape onto the cutting mat, a press of a button gives me crisp masks.*
The downside to this approach is that it can be difficult to properly position all of the elements; they aren't like decals that you can move around and position just right. I find it easiest to use the negative masks to lay out where the letters and symbols will be before applying the true masks over them.
Also, beware of overspray. Red and white paint have a habit of somehow getting everywhere no matter how careful you are.
White paint provides a foundation over the two-tone camouflage. Then, I start applying colors, going from lightest to darkest.
Once the yellow dries, I add the next ring of the roundel mask over it, and repeat until all of the colors are applied.
The End Result
With the markings represented by paint, you can mask over them, post-shade them, chip them, and other things that are difficult to accomplish using decals. In addition, as it's paint and not an adhesive layer, the underlying surface detail shows through perfectly, without the need for a few dozen coats of decal softener to get a reasonable compromise.
Cricut Explore One cutter, description and link:
Cricut Explore One. This item works with standard Cricut cartridges. It's a simple way to create DIY projects and crafts, such as iron-on decals, handmade greeting cards, scrapbook embellishments and much more. This electronic cutting machine offers amazing precision, cutting a wide variety of materials from paper to iron-on to adhesive vinyl. It can even go through thick materials like leather and burlap for expert-style multi-media effects. Design on your computer or iPad using free, cloud-based software. Say goodbye to complicated material settings. You'll get the cut you want when you select the material with a turn of the Smart Set dial, and Cut Smart technology delivers the most precise cuts. The German carbide premium blade provides excellent sharpness, and a 12" x 12" StandardGrip Cutting Mat helps to protect your work surfaces. Integrated compartments offer easy-to-access storage for cartridges and other accessories.
Here is a link to Walmart's webstore:
Masking Sticker Sheet (5pcs) - 1mm Grid Type
Item # 87129
This masking sticker product is ideal for various tasks such as masking off areas on R/C models, static models, and craft creations for painting.
Approx price: $5.00 - $9.00