Panel Line Wash
by Bill Zuk
Recently our local IPMS model club featured a workshop on detailing by Craig Baldwin, one of our members who has been a winner in local, national and regional model competitions. Part of the workshop focused on his techniques in accentuating panel lines on aircraft models. The techniques are applicable to any type of model, however. Craig’s basic technique with a recessed panel line is to add a watered-down ink line in the recess. With many model kits, the recesses are not deep enough so he will often re-scribe the lines. The subtle, barely engraved lines can still be brought out with a thinner wash, as well.
When Craig prepares his models for detailing, he has a gloss finish (Future Wax applied in a spray mist). The drawing ink that he uses is water-based and when he applied the ink he used a variety of items, including toothpicks but the most reliable method is a good-quality 000 brush. After starting the ink down a panel line, capillary action takes it along the remainder of the recess. Any ink that spills out of the panel line can easily be wiped off the gloss surface.
After completing the accentuating of the panel lines, decals are applied and the finish is sealed in a matte or gloss over-spray. The Baldwin treatment is very effective and looks realistic in either camouflage or other schemes. Some of the ink that Craig uses are black, but he also has experimented with a blue-black, grey or brown for various types of base colors. A thinned out-brown looks very authentic and has less of the stark contrast of a solid black color. I tried Craig’s treatment on a Hobbycraft l/72 Sabre in a predominately silver scheme. Although the recommendation was to use this panel line treatment in larger scales, I found that the panel lines could be made visible in this smaller scale. The finished model is now sealed and with some buffed panels, various shades of aluminum and silver, the tiny model looks great. Try it, you might find this technique will pay off.