I'll make this the penultimate post on this model, leaving descriptions of the last assembly and basing until it's finished. I've now put the figure's hands in place and will decorate these over the next few days and hopefully by Monday the figure should be done.
Today I've concentrated mostly on painting and placing the decal on the gladiator's large rectangular shield. After cutting the shield free of its sprue and tidying it up, I quickly walloped it with Citadel white base and when this was dry I gave it a couple of coats of Citadel Ungor Flesh. I've no idea what an ungor is, or if I'd want to be pals with one, but the yellowish-ochre colour of its flesh is just a slightly darker hue to the yellow depicted on the gladiator's shield on the box art. I also gave the metal boss in the centre of the shield and the metal trim around it a coat of GW Boltgun Metal. This I allowed to dry overnight.
This afternoon it was time to grasp the nettle and tackle the decal. I've mentioned before that Miniart decals are one of the poorer parts of these otherwise very engaging models, being thin and prone to tearing. I was in half a mind to cut the transfer in two and assemble it in situ a piece at a time, but in the end I decided to go for putting the decal in place in one go. After soaking it in water for about a minute, I slid it off the backing paper onto the shield and to my pleasant surprise and relief, it went on without tearing. A couple of the corners turned over and there was some creasing, but after carefully unpeeling these and stretching the decal into the corners and edges of the shield, things looked much better. I then dabbed away the excess water with a cotton ball and coated the shield with Revell Decal Soft. This softens the plastic backing, making the transfer more malleable and it is easier to flatten or straighten out any kinks as a result.
One this was dry I gave the shield a coat of our old friend Pledge Floor Wax. This does two things; it makes the whole surface of the painted shield and decal shiny and also makes the surface more uniform, making it less obvious where the transfer begins and the real surface ends. I wasn't bothered by the shiny surface as I knew I was going to be applying Army Painter Soft Tone, which will make the shield rather grimy and give it a matt finish.
Before that, though, the shield needed to look as if it had been through the wars, so once the wax was dry I scored lines into the surface with a craft knife. Not too many to obscure the design, but enough to look like it had seen service. I knew that the Soft Tone would settle in these nicely, making them more visible on the surface. Here it still looks damp, but it has since dried off to a nice matt state.
All that remains now are a few straps to be fixed the padded arm, the painting of the two hands, fixing the shield in place and then final assembly of the base.