Jump to content

Instrument Panel Decals


nheather
 Share

Recommended Posts

I usually do armour but have decided to branch out to aircraft and will be specialising in early WWII British aircraft in 1:72 - I've started off with the Airfix Beaufort.

 

Just building out of the box but notice that it is quite common these days to have a decal for the instrument panel - the Airfix Beaufort has this.

 

Just wondering how you typically apply these.  The plastic part has dials and switches moulded - the panel also has a raised central console.

 

Clearly you could just dispense with the decal and paint the raised detail on the plastic part but if you decide to use the decal how do you do it - do you sand/scrape off the plastic decal for the decal has a flat area to adhere to - or do you use decal softener to try and get it to mould into the plastic detail.  And what about the raised centre console - there is just one decal for the whole instrument panel so do you cut it up into parts to match match the areas that are at different levels?

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Greetings Nigel

 

I find that many new kits (especially Airfix) have simple circles molded to the instrument board. Many previous generation kits had details of the instruments that could be painted with a fine brush.  But this is not common in the present time.  There are a new generation of 3D printed cockpit details from Quinta Studio and Red Fox (and others) who provide amazing detail.

 

Best wishes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, personally, I paint the panel the appropriate color, dry brush with a lightened version of the base color, apply a small amount of Future/Klear onto the face of the instrument with a toothpick, and punch out (or cut out) the individual instruments and apply each one. Another drop of Future seals them in.  Takes time, and is a pain, but it's worth it in the end.

cockpit 1 cockpit 10

 

airframe 3

 

Edited by Tail-Dragon
  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also remember that a 1/72 cockpit is quite small, making it difficult for anyone to see fine detail up close, especially those who may not have a full understanding of aircraft, like visiting friends and relatives.

 

Mike Grant does some instrument decals in 1/72 and may still have some: http://mikegrantdecals.com/shop/product/cockpit-details-world-war-ii-3/

 

 

 

Chris

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I appreciate all the fantastic aftermarket and certainly what you can make a 1:48 or 1:32 aircraft interior look like.

 

But in this instance it is 1:72 and I'm just doing out of the box, no after-market.

 

So I have two choices

  • ignore the decal and paint the plastic part
  • apply the decal

I'm leaning towards applying the decal, just looking for the best approach to use.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even though I work in 1/48, I'll sometimes apply the IP decals, even over molded detail, if I don't have one of those spiffy alternatives, like Yahu, or Eduard Look. The key for a decal over molded detail is to accurately align the decal to the details. Decal solvent will pull the decal into the details. If Micro Sol doesn't do the trick, Solvaset will do the job nicely, but apply carefully, i.e., apply and leave it alone until it's thoroughly dry--perhaps a day. Reapply if needed.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, nheather said:

...

So I have two choices

  • ignore the decal and paint the plastic part
  • apply the decal

...

A third option: Sand away the moulded details and apply decal.

 

I find it very hard to see details like this through a Cockpit cover, especially in this scale, so just a notion of a instrument panel is sufficient.

 

HTH

/Finn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, FinnAndersen said:

A third option: Sand away the moulded details and apply decal.

 

I find it very hard to see details like this through a Cockpit cover, especially in this scale, so just a notion of a instrument panel is sufficient.

 

HTH

/Finn


Thanks - in my OP I was asking whether the decal should applied over the plastic detail or whether it was best to sand/scrape the detail away.  The second issue is that the instrument panel includes a raised console - should I sand the instrument panel totally flat, or cut the decal up to match the different areas of the panel?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My thought would be to sand away the raised details and use the decal, saves the worry of getting the decal instruments aligned with the raised detail. After suggesting that course of action I must also confess to usually applying the decal over the raised details and using a softening solution to settle the decal into place. Never know until it has dried if the alignment had been correct though. On the other hand, unless there is an open canopy and a viewer with a penlight and magnifier, you can’t tell anyway 😏

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

12 hours ago, nheather said:

Just building out of the box but notice that it is quite common these days to have a decal for the instrument panel - the Airfix Beaufort has this.

 

Just wondering how you typically apply these.  The plastic part has dials and switches moulded - the panel also has a raised central console.

 

Clearly you could just dispense with the decal and paint the raised detail on the plastic part but if you decide to use the decal how do you do it - do you sand/scrape off the plastic decal for the decal has a flat area to adhere to - or do you use decal softener to try and get it to mould into the plastic detail.  And what about the raised centre console - there is just one decal for the whole instrument panel so do you cut it up into parts to match match the areas that are at different levels?

 

 

Short answer: I think for your purposes using the kit decal shouldn't cause any worry, and may not be visible in any case.

 

 

 

(Unsolicited TMI Warning: the following rant applies to 1/72 specifically, though apostates may find useful gleanings.)

 

For a Tier One OOTB offering, like a Tamiya kit (where you're provided both a moulded instrument panel and a kit decal, and both were designed for the same package by workaholic perfectionists from a culture with a strong honour ethic), I apply the IP decal over the painted moulded panel and trust that with the correct solvent and a bit of poking and gingerly adjustment it will come out acceptably, if not spectacularly. Post-production tidying will likely be necessary for a contest model.  Maybe it will need a dry-brushing to fix the bezels, or you'll need to apply an overall matte coat; you'll likely want to gloss the instrument faces.  It should look well enough that an open canopy isn't out of the question, especially in the proper scale.

 

For something lesser, say a newish Airfix kit (a Beaufort perhaps), or a Hasegawa kit from the 1990s (maybe a Beaufighter?), which comes with a flat IP casting and a B&W IP decal, leaving bad enough alone probably won't bother you if the glassy bits will be all buttoned up.  You won't see much of it once all is glued up and painted, or at least, any casual observer you might wish to impress with your modelling prowess will never notice any deficiency.  If you need to trim the decal to shape to fit around moulded-in detail do that, if you prefer to trim some moulded detail, do that.

 

In other cases, you'll need other strategies.  As I type this, the IP from a Flyhawk SBD-3 is drying on the bench beside me.  While it came moulded with details in 3-D relief, I decided to use the Mike Grant instrument face decals @dogsbody mentioned above; a first for me.  Despite the extensive decal sheet from the kit, no IP decal is provided, presumably because the instrument faces could be painted... but I'm not good at that and I wanted the canopy opened up.

 

I hope you have fun building and painting your Beaufort!  When in doubt, build.  You can always unleash any Advanced Modeller Syndrome urges on the next project.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My experience with recent Airfix IP decals albeit in 1/48th scale( Gnat, Chipmunk, Moth, Sea Fury) is that the kit decals do snuggle down perfectly over the raised decal with the aid of a few application of decal softeners. Once dry they do not look as if a decal is applied save for the slightly glossy finish. I matt coated mine and then added small drops of Johnsons Klear to gloss the dials.  I would suggest you try to apply the decal over the raised detail and if unhappy with the final result then soak it off with decal solution and then just paint the panel.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My approach is similar to what others use and depends on how much detail I want to add.

The basic solution is to just sand the whole panel flat and apply the decal on top. Easy and quick enough.

For RAF WW2 aircraft however most do have the raised console, that generally includes the most important instruments. Here what I do is carefully cut the group of instments that will go on top of this, so that on the completed panel they will be on a different level from the others. To do this I sure a small cutter and a lot of patience.... On Spitfires I often add the raised part even in models that feature a flat panel, it's a small touch that makes the panel a bit more 3-dimensional

Putting the decal onto the panel while retaining all raised detail is possible if the decal has been designed very well and this can lead to quite a good effect. One option is to cut the decal in sections, making it easier to align the various instruments within the panel detail.

Of course it is possible to cut all the instruments one by one... tedious but as you've seen above the effect can be great.

And of course, some prefer to simply paint the instruments using the raised detail on the panel, that can lead to the most realistic effect but requires a steady hand and the help of a visor

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, nheather said:


Thanks - in my OP I was asking whether the decal should applied over the plastic detail or whether it was best to sand/scrape the detail away.  The second issue is that the instrument panel includes a raised console - should I sand the instrument panel totally flat, or cut the decal up to match the different areas of the panel?

Nobody - and I mean nobody - will ever see that you sanded off the raised part, but personally I would do it and always remember that I did 😉

 

WW2 cockpits were a very busy area with knobs, levers, buttons, breakers, structural members and all other stuff beside the instrument panel. So detailing just the panel and leave the other blank will not be very convincing. You need to balance your efforts and realise that not all you put into the cockpit will ever be seen.

 

But it's sure fun doing it 

 

/Finn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As an experiment I painted the interior of  one of  my 72nd Spitfires with the base colours of cockpit green and black. With a little dry brushing and a dab of satin varnish on the instruments and some seat belts from masking tape that was it. I have done one with just a black interior , seat belts and closed it up. With the hood closed there really was nothing to be seen.

 

Keith

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Jackson Duvalier said:

 

For something lesser, say a newish Airfix kit (a Beaufort perhaps), or a Hasegawa kit from the 1990s (maybe a Beaufighter?), which comes with a flat IP casting and a B&W IP decal, leaving bad enough alone probably won't bother you if the glassy bits will be all buttoned up.  You won't see much of it once all is glued up and painted, or at least, any casual observer you might wish to impress with your modelling prowess will never notice any deficiency.  If you need to trim the decal to shape to fit around moulded-in detail do that, if you prefer to trim some moulded detail, do that.

 

In other cases, you'll need other strategies.  As I type this, the IP from a Flyhawk SBD-3 is drying on the bench beside me.  While it came moulded with details in 3-D relief, I decided to use the Mike Grant instrument face decals @dogsbody mentioned above; a first for me.  Despite the extensive decal sheet from the kit, no IP decal is provided, presumably because the instrument faces could be painted... but I'm not good at that and I wanted the canopy opened up.

 

I hope you have fun building and painting your Beaufort!  When in doubt, build.  You can always unleash any Advanced Modeller Syndrome urges on the next project.

 

Just had a closer look at the decal and it seems to be clear with dials - rather than others that I have seen, which as you say are a black area the same shape as the IP with various dials on it.  This does suggest that the deal is intended to nestle down onto the plastic detail.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've applied decals to "lumpy" IPs myself in the past.  You just have to apply the decal as central to the dials as you can, and apply LOTS of coats of decal solution.  Sometimes a dab with the end of a cotton bud can help them bed-in. :)

  • Like 1
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...