Jump to content

Attaching external PE panels


Recommended Posts



After getting the PE bug I’m still learning  different methods of attaching parts  to a kit. I have come up against something I have not done before and that is getting the right look when attaching PE panels to the external surfaces of a model. Just glueing them on doesn’t look  right as the panels are raised. I’ve read somewhere about using a soldering iron to heat the PE so it sinks in to the plastic  but can’t find any info.

what methods do you guys use? any guidance, tips or info pointers greatly appreciated



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I generally avoid using PE external  'panels' on models for the very reason you describe... they always look like bits of PE stuck on top of the model. It looks unrealistic and detracts from the finished model as far a I am concerned.


PE is normally around 0.005" thick - scale that up on a 1/72 model and the panel works out to be 0.36" (almost 10 mm) thick!  Even in 1/48 it scales up to be almost 0.25"  (6 mm) thick.  That's way too thick for anything except an armored panel.  


In the past I have cut my own panels from 0.001" brass shim stock - easily cut with scissors or a knife and used those instead.


This is 0.001" brass shim stock on a 1/48 wing




and then primed... 




then fully painted




If those panels had been any thicker than 0.001" thick they would have stood out a mile on the wing.

Another thing I have used is Bare Metal Foil, or even just plain old tinfoil. - Much more realistic than PE in my opinion.

If I have to use a PE panel on an exterior surface I'll generally try and chisel out the area before fitting the panel but that is not always possible. 


Using a soldering iron and getting an even melt to sink the PE uniformly would be fraught with danger - I'd avoid that if at all possible

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Exactly what kit are you doing that has the external PE? Is the PE part of the kit, or aftermarket?


From my limited experience (which is nearly none, so this is going to help fill in the gaps for me as well), when included with the kit, there should be adequate relief for a proper fit. If the parts are aftermarket, you may have to cut out that section of the kit, and fill the hole with the PE part, that way, everything should remain level. At least that is what I consider the logical answer. If that is not the case, then I will be in trouble very soon!


Hope you find a workable answer, please share with me about your install, good or bad, we can both learn from your experience.




Anthony stalker6recon D'Agostino

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

I'm really late to the game here but...what about using the PE panel as a scribing template? If there is any fastener or rivet details, they could be replicated with an appropriate tool (riveter, beading tool etc).

Hope this helps,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...