While the new decal looks pretty good, it looks better with a little depth to it. The next step is to print off a sheet of the new image. I use some for a cutting drilling guide and some as finished artwork, this will make more sense in a minute.
Once printed I back the sheet with adhesive (I use a strong double sided tape). I then stick two of the images to a piece of sheet styrene (pick a thickness that looks right to you) I do two at a time in case I botch one.
The next step is to drill out the dials, I use a paper punch or Dremel to make the first hole in the center of the dial, then using the Dremel tool with a pointed sanding bit (looks kind of like an inverted pyramid) I gradually enlarge the holes until they are the right size.
Once the dials are all drilled out I then use a sharp Exacto blade to trim out the panels and then remove the excess template from the front of the panel. Now the panel gets a light sanding to remove any rough edges and a coat of flat black paint.
After the paint is dry, I apply a fresh print out in the cockpit where the old decal was then place the new styrene panel overtop and it really makes it pop! You can also add clear gloss vinyl (like report covers) between the layers to enhance the dials.
Next up was to make a template for the instrument panel from the original decal. What I do is scan the original decal to get my finished dimensions (much easier than trying to measure the actual space in the cockpit). Once scanned I take it into Corel Draw and create an outline.
Next I import an image of a real instrument panel and trace it's shape then modify it to fit to fit the space of the original decal. This gives me a hybrid IP that is as accurate as I can get in the space provided without having to modify the actual airframe. Once the shape was worked out I went and found photos online and brought them into Photoshop and created a composite with my new hybrid outline for a finished printable piece.
Not going to go crazy on the cockpit but I did want to replace the stock Instrument panel. First up, I removed the original panel art which turned out to be a bugger because it was a waterslide decal and very fragile. I needed to keep it whole if possible so I could scan it to get the proper dimensions to make my template from.