Painting instrument or control panels...

Discussion in 'Painting Questions, Tutorials and Guidebooks' started by Night Fighter Nut, May 5, 2010.

  1. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    Greetings all, I've been mulling this over for awhile and figured I would start this thread since I couldn't find any other listed at the moment. What I want to do is make available different methods for painting or working on control panels. Hopefully this will help those who want to have a nice looking control panel but are unsure how to do it.

    To begin with, here are a couple of my methods for painting instrument panels. I'll post some photos later once my camera has had time to charge up.

    1. Some models have control panels with raised lines instead of just a flat surface. For these I paint the entire panel white using common spray paint you can get from a hardware store. Actually any white spray paint will do airbrush or otherwise. I let it dry for three days to make sure the paint cures completely before painting over it. After three days, I will spray paint black over it. You could spray any color the panel is suppose to be but for this I'm using black. Let the paint dry for a few hours, then with a very fine grit sand paper or emery clothe sand over the raised areas. What will happen is the black paint will come off showing the white on the raised detail underneath. All your dial surfaces, those tricky micro lines and all, will come out nicely. Then with a very sharp exacto blade or needle draw in the little lines and hands inside your dials. All the scratches will be white on a black surface. You can even draw the lines that separate one cluster of instruments from another.

    2. For flat panels with no raised details I know of a few of methods for painting these. You can do the white spray paint like above with the second coat in whatever color you choose. Then with a small drill template and a sharp needle, you can draw in the details.

    3. If the panel is already painted and say you don't have an airbrush or spray paint. You can make dials and indicators by first painting white dots on the panel that are approximately the size for the dials you want. Let those dots dry and make smaller black dots on top and center of the white dots. This will make those nice round white circles and black faces for those instruments. Now if you really want to get creative, while those black dots are very wet, you can put a little white paint on the tip of a needle and poke around the wet black dot. This will make some lines in the black paint but this doesn't always come out looking stellar. Still it will look a lot better than trying to paint all that detail with a brush.

    4. Another method is cutting holes in card material that is approximately the size of the gauges you want and in the shape of the control panel for your model. Then you draw this shape over another card shaped exactly like your panel and draw the circles on this using the first panel with holes as your template. Then you can cut pictures of dials and gauges, or just draw them, and glue them over the circles you drew on the second panel. Finally you will sandwich these together with the pictures showing through the holes you cut. Then just dot these with future or some acrylic varnish to give the appearance of glass over your dials.

    Hope this will help others. I welcome other ideas. Again, I'll put up pictures as I am able to make them to show the effects of these methods.

    :)
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Nice one!
    I've used all the above methods, and also made panels by drilling or punching holes, and fitting this panel to a backing panel, where either decals, printed or drawn instruments, or painted instruments have been used. The latter have been done by painting the sub-panel MATT black, on white plastic card, and using a needle, compass tip or similar, to scratch-in the details, once the paint has fully cured.
    One point concerning using the white-painted background you metnioned; use GLOSS white, and then MATT black over the top. The gloss, when dry, will be harder, and matt paint lifts off from gloss much easier than off matt, giving a sharper effect, and it's easier to execute.
     
  3. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    I make these panels in a different way though. But it sounds very good.... :)
     
  4. Vic Balshaw

    Vic Balshaw Well-Known Member

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    Great tips guys, and food for thought when doing the next instrument panel. My thanks

    :hotsun: :hotsun:
     
  5. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    I should have mentioned the use of gloss versus flat paints. Thanks for bringing that up. :) Here is a picture of what I did using method 1. My camera isn't the best but I think you can still see the details. Also if you have another way of doing it by all means please share and add photos if possible. Thanks all. :)
     

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  6. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    So how do you make your panels? :)
     
  7. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Not too much can be seen in the pic. You have to try to take it again.
     
  8. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I'll try again this evening. My camera is not the greatest but I'll do my best.
     
  9. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    No problem.

    Here you are two pics that show my ways of making these cockpit panels..The two first ways I use for small models.In the second pic you can see an effect of the third way I use for bigger models..The difference is that for the panel I used a piece of black plastic thin sheet obtained from a 3.5" MF 2HD diskette.It was used instead of the painting black showed for the second way.
     

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  10. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    Wow you're good. :shock::notworthy:
     
  11. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Thank you. :oops:
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Nice one Wojtek! It's a long time since I did it that way - think I'll try it again on some of the larger models in future.
     
  13. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    Ok, here is a better picture of the first method. Granted that I don't have the resources to print small panels and make them like you do Wojtek. :( I try hard to make do with what I have so perhaps for those with humble resources and abilities this may be an acceptable alternative. :)
     

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  14. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    Looking really great.:thumbright: What kind of paints did you use.I mean acrylics paints or enemels.
     
  15. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    I used enamels. Actually I used Rustoleum spray enamel paint because it was the only spray paint I could get ahold of. I don't own an airbrush so I have to be creative on what I use. :)
     
  16. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    If you use enamels you can use the acrylic gloss dope for lens of the indicators.You can apply a small drop of quite thick gloss varnish into each of the indicators. I think it might make a better look of these.
     
  17. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    I have some acrylic varnish I use on paintings. I think that would work, thanks Wojtek :). I have an old plane model with a flat and featureless panel. I'll use the 2nd and 3rd methods and show what that looks like next week. :)
     
  18. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    OK. I can't wait to see the effect.
     
  19. Night Fighter Nut

    Night Fighter Nut Well-Known Member

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    I should have pictures up tuesday. Since my camera doesn't do pictures well of tiny objects, I have to borrow one. :(

    Over the weekend though I did come up with another idea for a flat and featureless panel. Granted you could just cut holes and put pictures on the back. However I was thinking more along the lines of giving the panel a more 3D look. I just happen to remember that I could make tiny rings by twisting thin wire around very small cylinders. I tried this when trying to fabricate seat belts. Anyway, if you take very thin wire and wind it around a tiny cylinder then cut all the turns at the same point. You would then have several small circles that are the same size. different sized cylinders for different sized gauges. You could then take those circles and glue them onto the panel you're working on in the proper locations for dials. Paint the panel like in method 1 with white first and a darker color later and there you are... dial details that look descent enough to call your own. :) I'll have to try that next and see how that turns out. I've done lots of crafts in years past so trying to think out of the box is common practice. :)
     
  20. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Yep, it's something I've done in the past, although my hands find it difficult these days. You might find it better to use stretched sprue though, which won't deform as easily as thin wire once rolled to shape.
     
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