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TonyD

Rapidograph pens or felt tip?

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I just finished reading Chris Bucholtz' article about his 1/72 Fokker D-VII diorama and he mentioned using a rapidograph pen for the figure details. I had not considered that before!

While I do some 1/72 figures - mostly pilots for aircraft models; the majority of my figure work is in 1/32 scale for armor models. This epiphany suggests using pens for eyes and facial detailing, uniform piping, buttons, ribbons, medals etc. Sounds like I will be able to get sharper details with the pens as opposed to paint brushes, sharpened toothpicks etc.

So, just looking for other input. What size pens are used? What about felt tip markers? Can one purchase a color assortment in one size pen or marker or do they need to be sourced individually?

Thank you

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There's a couple of differences there....The Rapiograph pen is actually an ink pen that YOU supply the ink for (refillable). Not sure of what color ranges they may have, but the real advantage is they have many different size nibs (steel tips) to choose from including some VERY fine ones. They're not cheap, but should last years if taken care of. I'm not sure how permanent the inks are once they've been applied, and whether they're water soluble (likely) or something else. In either case, I'd allow ample drying time and put a VERY light overcoat of clear to seal and protect them. Wet coats of clear might redissolve them.

As for felt tips like the old Flair pens, or Sharpies, they can be very useful. The Sharpies come in a variety of sizes including some very fine tipped ones. However, the ends of these are felt and repeated hard use will cause even the finest ones to widen a bit. The inks are permanent, BUT, they do not seem to react well with overcoats of paint, especially enamels and lacquers. If you were to try to use a black Sharpie to pre-shade your panel lines, you might find the ink bleeding up through your paint! Still, they can be used for some "wash" details (if you want really stark contrast), and the red sharpies are a GREAT way to do the red gear door edges on USN planes! However, as mentioned above, use very LIGHT coats of clear, no wet applications, to avoid redissolving the ink and creating runs.

A recent example of my using a fine tip black Sharpie was to create the letters for "Pudgy" on yellow decal paper. I lightly drew them in with pencil, then traced that with the Sharpie to create the letters, and then carefully cut each letter from the decal sheet for application. Not perfect, but faster and easier (for me) than doing a bunch of copy/paste/photoshop/print work with a computer.

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Grab a few different kinds from your local art supply store and give them a try!  Hope this helps!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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The very mention of the name "Rapidograph" brought back memories (mostly fond) of my days as a draftsman for the (then) Texas Highway Department while attending the University of Texas. They are still produced: https://www.dickblick.com/products/koh-i-noor-rapidograph-pens/

And as Gil indicates, they will last indefinitely if properly cared for, although they can be a beech if not. They are intended for inks and not paint, although I suppose you could use water colors in them. I only used them with black India ink way back then.

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I did a search on Amazon for Rapidograph and was surprised at the cost of some of them! I didn't notice any that were 'fillable', but will take another look. I did see some sets of pens with different size tips but in a single color (black), and the cost was rather high!

I like the tip about red edges on gear doors!

Sounds like I should start with a sample and experiment.

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