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With panel Lines Better or Worse?

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I always thought that doing the panel lines wash made the model look kind of odd.

The reason is that on a real car, the panel lines kid of have different shades as the depth of the metal that can be seen varies.

For example, on a door, the front part uses to be more dark than the rear, because there is body color (door jamb) a lot closer to the surface of the separation line near the door and quarter panel. On the trunk the same happens.

Even tough, I was looking at my Coral sand Ford, and it looked kind of artificial without a nice wash on the panel lines.

On a '57 Ford, there are some panel lines that are there but are just joints between body parts and there is no gap to form a visible darker line, and looking to a 1:1 car they almost disappear from sight. Others, like the door lines, and the gap between the fenders and cowl are very visible.

My '57 was kind of lacking that.

So, I decided to do a wash.

Mixed flat red, flat yellow, and flat black acrylics to get to a very dark "version" of the body color, and mixed Vidrex (Windex in the U.S.) to thin the color to the consistency of water. Then I just let capillarity to do the job.

Now you say me:

Is the bar better or worse??


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Looks good to me Tulio ;)

Depends on the colour sometimes I guess, darker colours you can get away with it (to a point), light colours you have to experiment like you have.

Most of my builds I have used a 50/50 mix of thinners and flat black, but recently I've just started to use the Tamiya panel line accents, there's black or grey, once again depending on the colour.

Nice build mate B)

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I vote for the wash but it's easy to overdo it, especially on light colored cars. Marco Cruz posted a tutorial somewhere on here describing his technique of applying the wash before color coats that I have found very effective. It still accents the panel lines but tones it down to a scale (to my eye) appearance. Or you can use a darker mix of the body color. I usually only accent the panels that open (doors, trunklids). For example the line on the rocker panel below the forward door line on your example is painted on the 1:1 and barely noticeable. The same with the cowl vent panel (again to my eye). None of this is meant as downgrading your build Tulio, I think your work is outstanding!

Bill beat me to it about Marco's technique :rolleyes::lol:

Edited by bbowser
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The biggest mistake people make is when they do the panel lines in black. Not good, and very "model" looking.

In real life, the metal between the panel lines is all painted body color, but because of the recess, the gaps are in shadow. Shadows are never 100% black (except on the moon or planets that have no atmosphere).

Marcos' technique is the best way I have seen to do panel lines that look realistic and not "model-ly." Do not use black to do your panel lines, it looks bad.

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Yep, I know about Marcos technique, and I have tried it, but automotive paint covers the accented lines completely. I did that to my Gunmetal gray '57, and well, the black disappeared under three coats of automotive paint, the were necessary to get to the correct tone, and to eliminate color variations on the body.

I guess it will work with Tamiya laquers, or with modeling paint.

The color I used on my '57 is Nitrocellulose lacquer automotive, and it covers very well.

Maybe the car was better before the wash, that can be removed with ease with some windex.

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The one area that stands out after the wash are the headlight brows. There's an un-accented seam that should be washed also. Anywhere there's a panel seam it should be addressed to some level of wash.

Otherwise the before & after pictures speak for themselves. Beautiful paint & overall build. Nice job!

Edited by FASTBACK340
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I like the results but the black is a bit much for me.

If I paint panel lines I use a darker shade of the base color. Dark green on a light to medium green car, Black green on a dark green car. I never use straight black, ever. Even on a dark gray car I use a charcoal gray color.

Yellow red and orange cars pose a unique problem. Yellow and black make olive green, red and black make brown, orange and black make, well, mud. I mix a dab of dark blue into red, dark red into orange and yellow.

Just my thoughts.


Edited by Agent G
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Now, with a coat of body color washed over the darker color:

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The best way to make panel lines look more realistic is to scribe them deeper. If they're scribed deep enough, there's no need for a wash or anything. Just primer and paint.

Scroll down on this page and look at the real '57 Custom Mike Schnur built....


Notice how the panel lines are not dark even though it's painted with what looks like Wimbledon White.

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Guys, take a look at page four of the original thread I did for the car on Under Glass:


I gave it yet another coat of body color, and Now I think I got the solution.

Now I'm building two models at once, another '57 and a '32 Ford, and I'll use Tamiya paint on both. Will do the Marcos Cruz technique on both and see what works better for me.

There's a hair on your car's windscreen .

( :lol: )

Seriously ; great job , in my opinion . With your superb skills , Tulio , you'll master this technique in no time .

That's no ordinary hair, that's a cat's hair B)

Living in a house with 7 (yep, SEVEN) cats, I think I have cat's hair even on my brain.

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Looks good! Your first photo with the body-color second wash looks best.

Remember, on a 1/25 scale model, a panel line viewed from one foot should look like a 1:1 panel line viewed from 25 feet. Your first image illustrates that perfectly, for me at least.

Well done.

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  • 4 months later...

I understand we are all talking panel lines but I have to first say that your build is fantastic!

Getting back to your initial question of better "with or without" panel lines, I say absolutely better! Especially after your second wash with some body color toning it down a bit.

In my opinion, just about all builds should include some sort of wash or darker tone in the recessed areas to depict what anyone would see on a 1:1 vehicle. I am certain there are many ways to establish this and that is why this forum is great for most of us trying to learn. I am currently trying to perfect my own technique as well and using everyone's thoughts and methods here is very helpful. I tend to lean more towards the softer tones than the bold dark black lines. Just my opinion and taste but I base my premise on "less is more". Sometimes not all panels need to be darkened very much. I find that deeper lines are better than darker lines.


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