I did a few things out of order and had to kick myself in the ass, but I got through it alright. I really just stumble through this stuff and hope for the best.
As I mentioned before, I decided on the lighter blue "As seen on TV" color. But I wanted to add some detail and realism so I used my leftover Excelsior painting masks from Lou Dalmasso at Aztek Dummy. The camera doesn't really pick up the depth of the effect; you can see the dark and light variations under the blue in person.
I decided that I wanted to get the ships finished before doing anything else. I did some pre-shading and laid down the red Hull color. Then forgot to take any pics for the following steps until I was done!
Don't judge me too harsh, those things are tiny!
I used the paint masks to add some panel details to the command section and the "Legs". After applying Mr. Super Clear Semi-gloss I used the Tamiya Panel Line Accent Wash to add some weathering detail. For some reason I cannot find a lacquer Clear Gloss to use in this step. I had been using Future floor polish in the past, but that takes a week to harden up (most of the time). I used the Tamiya TS-79 semi-gloss on the star destroyer build and it worked just fine. A guy at my local hobby store recommended the Mr. Hobby version as it plays nicer with decals. So I gave it a shot. It seems to work but I will need to try a real Gloss on the next project to compare.
I did the same process with the masks and some grays on the white parts of the body.
Then I masked off the white areas and I did the same with the blue areas using some darker blues and grays. As before, the camera doesn't pick up the effect very well.
After the masking all came off I was not displeased!
Now at this point I should have masked off and painted the black areas of the thrusters on the underside. But I got preoccupied with making sure that all my wiring still worked so I attached the command section to the main body. oops.
This is going to make handling while masking for the black parts just a tad more difficult, but I should be able to pull it off.
All of the lighting still works. The camera tends to over-blow the lights a bit. They aren't that bright to the eye.
The next step is to get all the guns painted and in place, another coat of semi-gloss, panel wash, then dullcoat. I'm going to do those steps for the "Arms" and "legs" before putting it all together.
I haven't decided on what to do for a base yet. I may just use the one that came with the kit or I might try to make a piece of Zentradi ship hull to set her over. We shall see!