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Old Nov 14, 2002, 07:03 PM
Fixed Wing Fanatic
Jim Walker's Avatar
United States, TX, McKinney
Joined Jul 2001
2,344 Posts
What's your favorite way to do panel lines??

I'm doing a semi-scale Hawker Tempest and I want to take a stab at doing panel lines to add some realism. I'd appreciate any and all suggestions and pointers since I've never done this before. For instance, what's the best pens to use, how do you get the lines in the right place and straight, etc.....

Thanks, Jim
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Old Nov 19, 2002, 04:06 PM
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Jim Walker's Avatar
United States, TX, McKinney
Joined Jul 2001
2,344 Posts
Doesn't anyone know how to do panel lines? What pens do you use? Do you use a piece of paper for a straight edge? Help.....
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Old Nov 19, 2002, 04:57 PM
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LawrenceHare's Avatar
USA, MD, Bethesda
Joined Nov 2001
480 Posts
I am interested in this too, let me know what you find out. One article is in the September 1999 Model Airplane News, "How to Create Rivets and Panel Lines with MonoKote ~ Feature by Faye Stilley ~ September 1999, pg. 68" which article I do not have unfortunately and cannot find on the web. If anyone has this or knows of a source, it would be interesting if it could be posted perhaps - either the source or the article, a link to the latter maybe.

Another piece of information can be found in http://www.top-flite.com/reviews/topa0400-rcsi.html which discusses the making of a Top-Flite P-51. This article is "TOP FLITE GIANT P-51D MUSTANG ~ PRODUCT REVIEW ~ by Tony Nijhuis" and has the tag lines: "Reprinted with permission. November/December 1998 R/C Scale International Magazine." Within the article there are a few paragraphs on finishing which I, no doubt illegally, copy below:
. . . .

Now for the scale bits..... The back page of the instructions show a plan and side view of the aircraft highlighting the panel lines in detail. Using this as a guide, pencil the panel lines onto the airframe, then with a rounded piece of 14 swg piano wire and a ruler, indent over the top of the pencil lines being careful not to go through the covering. This will now give you your panel edge. To create small panel & access hatches etc., use some 2 inch wide aluminum tape and cut out shapes to represent the panels and hatch and stick them on. To create the effect of small rivets a tool was made by taking a piece of 1/4 inch sq. balsa (about 6 inch long) and at regular 1/4 inch intervals, placing pins through the wood so they protrude about 3/16 inch. By pressing this tool on to the airframe surface (along each side of the indented panel line) and penetrating the skin, a 6 inch line of pinholes to simulate rivets, is produced. Areas where the Dzus fasteners were used on the full size aircraft were simulated by pushing a piece of 4mm dia. brass tube over the end of a 1S watt soldering iron and using the heated end to lightly melt a ring into the covering surface. This process also works well on the plastic cowl too.

. . . .
Good grief!

Other information can be found in http://www.gvam.org/november.htm. Do a search for "Detail with iron on coverings", it is way down the page.

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Old Nov 19, 2002, 05:42 PM
rpage53's Avatar
Victoria, BC, Canada
Joined Apr 2001
3,400 Posts
For "semi-scale" I think easy is best. I use white and grey gel pens with a plastic ruler. With the white on a dark background, I vary the thickness -- skips and misses look better than thick solid lines. Chris Golds (EFI) has some good magazine articles about where you want light or dark lines.
A more professional way is to use a mechanical pencil, smear the lines where necessary and then clear coat the whole thing.

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Old Nov 20, 2002, 10:46 AM
That Freeking Laird Guy
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United States, CA, Riverside
Joined Feb 2002
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I use a sharpie ultra fine marker. You can get them at most stationary stores and some drug stores. They are permanent but will fade over time. I use a black and then hit a few of the lines in spots with silver gel pens.

I usually don't try to get the lines too precise. I'm after an effect and not scale pionts. It does bring a model to life.

Here's a few tips.

Get lots of flexable straight edges.
Get some of those shape templates from the staionary store you know those green plastic deals with squares, circles, and such stamped in them. They are great for small acces panels etc.
DON'T cross lines (unless the real one had them). It just looks wrong when two lines cross each other. Don't worry about mistakes. when all the lines are on you won't see a squiggle her and there.
Don't over do it! 10 lines on a wing looks great especially with a few acces panels.

Another cool way is to paint the plane silver first then apply a color coat over that, When the color coat is dry scrape the lines through to the silver using a sharp object. I snap the last 1/4 inch off an exacto blade and use the back of it scrape the paint away. You can add chips and wear mark easily too.

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Old Nov 20, 2002, 05:52 PM
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Jim Walker's Avatar
United States, TX, McKinney
Joined Jul 2001
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Thanks Guys!

That's exactly what I was looking for! I'm off to Office Depot to get some supplies.........
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Old Nov 20, 2002, 06:33 PM
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SVX's Avatar
Joined Oct 2002
648 Posts
As I see it the addition of panel lines to semi-scale and full scale planes are a great addition. I have tried several techniques and have found that the size of the plane is the determining factor. For the large stuff I paint the plane a light or dark gray depending on the plane and lay 1/32 tape for the panel lines than paint the top color. Then just remove the tape and weather appropriately. For smaller airplanes I cover with what ever you like and scratch with the back of a knife as previously mentioned. This method is less noticeable and not weatherable but for small stuff looks nice. As for rivets most are too small to see but range from individual glue droplets from a syringe to running a sewing wheel down a ruler. By sewing wheel I mean a tool that looks like a pizza cutter with teeth. The latter works the best on covered models. I am ready to cover my Mustang with Flite Metal which I heard can be substituted with chrome Monokote for a similar effect buy drawing on the panel lines first and then cut out the covering and apply one panel at a time. I have not done this but look forward to seeing the finished product.
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Last edited by SVX; Nov 20, 2002 at 06:36 PM.
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Old Nov 20, 2002, 11:15 PM
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Joined Aug 2002
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What I use is old rapidograph pins that you get at a drafting store, that is if they still make them! Also what I use in a pinch is Staedtler Lumocoler 313 markers that you can get at a art store. Also put two layers of tape on the bottom of your straightedges about 1/8" inside of the marking edge to stop bleedunder. Also if the finish is too glossy, put a light dusting of talcum powder on to rough up the surface. I started doing this 40 years ago. If you have more questions write me. Also you might go to my web site and check out the F-86 and Rarebear.
Gary Wallace,

P.S. If you need to repair a mistake use rubbing alcohol an a Q-tip
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Old Nov 20, 2002, 11:46 PM
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Pat Daily's Avatar
United States, VA, Chesterfield
Joined Mar 2001
5,407 Posts
On dark colors like Nay blue, a medium or light grey artist pencil followed by some semigloss acrylic or dope works good.

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Old Nov 21, 2002, 12:41 PM
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awood12345's Avatar
Kent, England.
Joined Dec 2001
818 Posts

I was searching for something like this too a while ago but I decided to have ago on my own. I have tried to do the panel lines on my mirage with gell pens and it turned out great So this effect will go on all my new models. Here is a tempest I did recently too but doesn't fly well so time wasted really! Also attached is my dad's typhoon which a friend painted and another did the panels. That was done with an airbrush looks too difficult for me but I'd thought I should attach it to show that there are other ways than pens.

I also have some detailed 3-views of tempests if you want.


(P.S. Attach a pic please when finished, I'd love to see it!)
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