|It's still purple, though|
Although I'm pleased with the final result, I wasn't able to fully recreate the look of my previous vehicles. The color is a base coat of Macragge Blue, two to three layers of Altdorf Guard Blue, two washes of Drakenhof Nightshade, a dry brushed coat of Macragge Blue, and a final dry brushed coat of Altdorf Guard Blue.
In the end, I wasn't able to suppress Macragge Blue's purplish tint. I like the color quite a bit, but it's just not the same as my other models.
What did work for me, though, is the new way I added the decals. I've been avoiding decals on my troops like the plague, but the larger and more complicated markings found on vehicles are just too much for me to freehand. Unfortunately, none of the decals on my previous models look all that good; they don't fully seal to a matte surface covered in brush strokes and end up looking less than fully transparent. This effect, combined with the glossiness of the decals themselves, often detracts from the look of the model.
When I realized that my Imperial Knight models are going to be covered in decals, I decided to look for a better way to apply them. I ended up finding some advice in several hobbyists' blogs and videos that gave me pretty good results.
First, I painted the area where each decal was going to go with 'Ardcoat. The smoothness of a layer of 'Ardcoat allows the decal to better adhere to the surface. While I allowed each decal to soak, I brushed a layer of Microscale Industries, Inc. Micro-Set over the 'Ardcoat. Once the decal had been slid into place, the Micro-Set slightly softened it (from the smell, I suspect that vinegar or a similar mild acid is involved) while improving adhesion.
After everything had dried, I applied a layer of 'Ardcoat over the decal to seal it and make it a permanent part of the model. To remove 'Ardcoat's glossiness, I brushed Lahmian Medium over the surface. The layers of 'Ardcoat and Lahmian Medium slightly affect the color of the surface, so I touched-up the region around the decal with a little bit of Macragge Blue. When I was finally finished, the various decals actually looked like they had been painted on.
In addition to Micro-Set, I also have a bottle of Micro-Sol. This stuff is supposed to be lightly brushed over a still-drying decal to dissolve the transparent portion of it and allow it to conform to just about any surface. Since all the Crusader's decals were applied to flat surfaces, I didn't bother to use Micro-Sol. However, I'm eager to try it out on highly curved surfaces like Space Marine shoulder pads.
While I've been happy with my hand painted logos, the process is tedious and doesn't always give me consistent results. This problem would be solved immediately if I could get a decal to properly conform to the surface. While looking into Micro-Sol's effectiveness, I found plenty of photos of decals that were successfully applied to shoulder pads without folds or creases thanks to Micro-Sol.
Since recent games have shown that I desperately need more Tactical Marines, I'm going to start painting the half dozen or so Marines that I primed last summer. I have shoulder pads and Ultramarine decals in abundance, so I'll have plenty of chances to see if I can satisfactorily apply decals to my troops' shoulder pads.