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Panel lines in 1/72


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Intellectually, I know that in 1/72 panel lines would not be visible, but I build vintage kits and have to sand off all the over sized rivets and such and along with that goes all the panel lines. When painted, that makes for a smooth surface, but it looks pretty plane. (Bad pun.) So, on these two kits the Arifix Meteor and Frog Skua, I tried something. After the decals had been gloss coated and a dull coat applied over the entire aircraft, I drew in the lines with a colored pencil and then re-dull coated. I tried to use an appropriate color and not just black. What are your thoughts on panel lines in general and this technique in particular?

 

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Nice job with some old kits. As to the panel lines, I think that they come off a little stark. I have the same problem with folks who use a mechanical pen or pencil to run into engraved lines on newer kits. I think that a wash tends to give a more subtle and uneven look to the panel line. My 2 cents.

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You are on to something here. As a 72-scale guy, I'm usually very satisfied with subtle panel lines from basic pencil lead. Different paint schemes and levels of weathering make this a highly subjective process. Season to taste.

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That's very nice Ron, it's quite a thorny subject panel lines, detail etcetera, but that dose look good. The only thing I'm not so sure about is the darkness of the lines on the lighter coloured parts, but that's just my opinion. On thing I've stumbled across by accident is on my Italeri Canberra's if I completely remove the detail when I spray the model with Silver Auto paint the ghost of the detail shows through as a brighter silver line. I guess this would only work on silver coloured aircraft though, but it dose look quite good.

 

John

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I agree that the panels on the Skua's bottom are much too dark. Should have used a more complementary color. Dave's idea about the wash is fine, but there are no engraved panel lines for it to settle in. Anyone have an opinion on pre/post shading?

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I agree that the panels on the Skua's bottom are much too dark. Should have used a more complementary color. Dave's idea about the wash is fine, but there are no engraved panel lines for it to settle in. Anyone have an opinion on pre/post shading?

 

Hate it. Turns a scale model into an "art object' and cartoonish caricature of the real thing.

 

As to panel lines, I have found that the best effect is obtained from a wash of a transparent acrylic paint such as Tamiya Smoke or similar, just enough to give a slightly darker shade of the underlying color as if it's in shadow, applied with a thin brush and letting capillary action do its thing. Adding a drop or two of Windex or dish washing detergent to the wash helps it flow into the panel lines better.

 

Of course if there are no engraved panel lines you do have a problem. My friend Rusty White once achieved excellent panel line effects on a 1/72 XB-70 by using a finely sharpened 6H drawing lead to lightly draw them on the white finish. Turned out great.

 

Remember, in 1/72 subtlety is the key to success. When you look at a 1/72 scale model from one foot away, it's like looking at the real thing from 72 feet away. How much detail can you see at that distance?

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Ron, an interesting process. I would like to hear what you used to get such precise lines on the models. Rulers, Dymo-tape, free hand? You did a really good job on the Meteor. Like some others, I feel that the Skua is too exaggerated. What color did you use on the Meteor? Did you use different colors over the different camo colors?

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Ron,

- Good solution for the "disappearing" sanded panel lines. I agree with the other members here that the Meteor looks very good, but the Skua is a little too heavy handed/dark. My preference would be to have the lines thinner than those on the meteor and even lighter. That's a subjective call though.

- Pre-shading. My aircraft building has gone thru a few stages over the past 3 decades:

1. Straight paint job, no highlights of any kind in the mid 1980's.

2. Paint job with acrylic/water washes only, mid 80's to 90ish.

3. Paint job with acrylic/water washes, and what I called "forced" perspective panel highlighting. I think many modelers call them "filters" now. That process involved a significant amount of masking and airbrushing and was VERY time consuming, 1990ish to early 2000's.

4. Paint job with oil washes, and "forced" perspective panel highlighting, early 2000's to mid 2000's.

5. And most recently, I have taken up applying "pre-shading" to my aircraft and then painting the base coat, followed by simpler, free-hand airbrushing (no masking) filters and oil washes, mid 2000's to present.

- Of all these processes, Nos 3 thru 5 have netted numerous Nats placings, quite often 1st's. No. 5 is, for all intents and purposes, the easiest and least time consuming. I've stuck with it for over 6 years now, and like it the most. I like how it brings more life into the finished model. Even though most models are already 3 dimensional, the pre-shading adds more depth to it. After the pre-shading, the post shading (or filters) adds further depth and weathering, (usually in the form of fading from sitting out in the sun). Again, all of these pre and post shadings are subjective calls, to each his own. I'm just sayin, that beyond what I'd like to think are good "basics" skills, these "effects" have been netting me "the wood" from Nat'ls.

Model on, Brothers of the Sprue.

Edited by Weedeater
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Ron, Excellent result. May I make a suggestion to refine your basic technique? I use a pencil to accent virtually all my panel lines, whether the engraved line is still there in which the pencil can be run (easiest) or if I have to use masking tape as a guide if the engraved line has been lost during seam clean-up ( still pretty easy and easier than scribing) or was never there as in your case. This technique is especially useful when you have filled gaps and seams with products other than super glue. While super glue can with difficulty be scribed, nothing else can - at least in my experience. Now, my suggestion. Instead of a colour pencil, get a Pentel .3 mm Forte Pro II technical pencil product # A73. Keep a chiseled edge on it by rubbing it on a piece of sandpaper or even an ordinary index card taped to your work bench. I have found that lead hardness HB works best. Mistakes are easily corrected with a white eraser, by washing unwanted lines with a fine brush and water or saliva, or even taking the very tip of a fresh 11 blade and carefully scraping away the unwanted line with a light tangential stroke along the surface of the paint. It works, its easy and effective and, given the ease of correcting mistakes, very forgiving. I prefer to use the technique on surfaces painted with flat paint, but my friend swears he can make it work on gloss-I find this much harder. Another advantage of the technique is that once your decals are in place and coated, you can lightly run the pencil over the decal to create the effect of panel lines within the markings. Good luck. Regards, Nick Filippone

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I think you're on the right track Ron, and agree with the most of the comments made above. I've taken to using a pencil to draw in panel lines lately and have found that;

1) it's easier to do over the flat coat

2) it takes practice to draw them on AND keep them subtle. Also, I've found you need to sharpen the tip of the lead (using sandpaper so you can sand a "conical" point) MUCH more often that you think when you first try this method. A very sharp point and a harder lead (6b or so) will yield very fine, light lines.

 

Another method that I read about is to take a stiff, short bristle brush and BLUR your penciled panel lines a bit. This helps blend them in a little better, tones them down (less stark), and also provides a modicum of weathering. You'd probably NOT want to try this on a pristine or "factory" finish.

 

Overall, I like the 1/72 models with the lines. It may not be scale perfect, but it's much more pleasing to the eye artistically. Best of luck!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Edited by ghodges
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I think you're on the right track Ron, and agree with the most of the comments made above. I've taken to using a pencil to draw in panel lines lately and have found that;

1) it's easier to do over the flat coat

2) it takes practice to draw them on AND keep them subtle. Also, I've found you need to sharpen the tip of the lead (using sandpaper so you can sand a "conical" point) MUCH more often that you think when you first try this method. A very sharp point and a harder lead (6b or so) will yield very fine, light lines.

 

Another method that I read about is to take a stiff, short bristle brush and BLUR your penciled panel lines a bit. This helps blend them in a little better, tones them down (less stark), and also provides a modicum of weathering. You'd probably NOT want to try this on a pristine or "factory" finish.

 

Overall, I like the 1/72 models with the lines. It may not be scale perfect, but it's much more pleasing to the eye artistically. Best of luck!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Gil,

 

The brush idea for blending the pencil lines seems like an interesting idea.

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Overall, I like the 1/72 models with the lines. It may not be scale perfect, but it's much more pleasing to the eye artistically.

 

Ditto - Consider using multiple techniques, such as the forced panel lines and pencil, in different areas of the model, combining as desired. Experiment. IMHO, subtlety is important. Or, as the Brits might say: "Less is More."

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