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This tutorial has been extracted from my Hasegawa 262 build and placed here for posterity.


I'll begin with a disclaimer that I'm not an expert at scribing, but do have quite a bit of experience now, and have learned a thing or two about the process. And given how many of these old Revell and Hasegawa kits I have in the stash, it's something I'll be doing a lot more of into the future. And just referring back to our recent thread about too little or too much in posts, this will definitely fall into the latter category!


OK, so we begin with the kit's upper wing sections, resplendent with raised detail:




The kit's raised detail actually isn't all that horrible, but that isn't the point. Off it comes:




You'll notice that I haven't been particularly thorough with removing the raised detail. The point of this stage isn't so much to eliminate the raised detail entirely, as it is to simply remove it to the extent that it won't interfere with our rescribing efforts. It's actually of some value to leave some ghosting of the old detail in place, since we can use it as placement guides for the scribed lines. Be sure to check your references though, as any given kit's panel line detail may not be accurate! For my purposes I'm using the Trumpeter kit as a reference, and the two kits largely agree, though there are some differences.


Before getting into the rescribing process itself, let's take a look at some of the tools involved:




While they should be self-explanatory, I'll run through them anyway (remember, too much information!). From left to right we have:


1. an old toothbrush for cleaning out the lines;

2. a pencil for marking line positions as necessary;

3. a 6-inch steel ruler, useful as a scribing guide, as well as measuring stuff;

4. a pin-vise with the pointy end of a needle clamped in place;

5. a generic hook-nosed scriber;

6. Radu's scribing tool;

7. a pin-vise with the smallest drill bit I have clamped in place;

8. Dymo tape, useful as a semi-flexible guide;

9. a tube of super glue and some talcum powder for filling mistakes;


Not in this photo, but also vital to my process, is some liquid cement for cleaning up any post-scribing swarf, and some worn wet-and-dry for taming any ridges that result.


Now, there's one more thing that's vital for any successful scribing job, and that's templates. You just can't have too many:




Don't just think in terms of commercially-available template sets either. The last item to the right of the photo is actually a draughtsman's eraser template, and at the end of the day, anything that could be usefully employed to form the shape you require is in the mix. I also use the pre-made templates to produce custom shapes out of sheet styrene where necessary.


OK, so let's look at our first pass with the scribing tools:




Unfortunately the lines are difficult to see in the photo, but all the straight lines have been done using a combination of Radu's scribing tool, the hook-nosed scriber, and the steel ruler as a guide. For relatively flat surfaces like these wings, I prefer to tape the part down to keep it stable, and hold the steel ruler in place to guide the scriber. You can work much more quickly this way than using the Dymo tape, but you need to watch out for slippage! Dymo tape comes into its own on curved surfaces. I may touch on that when we get to the engine nacelles. A good scrub with the toothbrush should force out any rubbish that has accumulated in the lines. Run it up and down the length of the lines for best results.


Some quick tips:


- use multiple light passes to establish your line. Think of it like shaving - don't push down!

- thicker objects make more stable guides than thinner ones. If you can use a steel ruler rather than a wafer thin template, do so;

- always pull the tool towards yourself if possible;

- always use the edge of the guide that corresponds with the hand your using to hold the tool; ie, if you're right-handed, avoid scribing along the left edge of the guide;


This next step is something I always do, but many folks don't bother with: running liquid cement through the newly-scribed lines. It's not so vital where a dedicated scribing tool has been used, since they're designed to form a groove by removing a small amount of plastic, and the lines tend to be fairly neat to begin with. But where something like a needle-in-a-pin-vise has been employed, these tend to push the plastic aside without removing much, leaving noticeable ridges. These then need to be sanding away, and the liquid cement comes into its own for cleaning out and smoothing the lines.




Use a light touch, and try to let capillary action draw the liquid cement along the lines - much like doing a pin wash with oil paints. It's OK to paint along the lines too, as long as you don't apply too much cement. It's particularly important to do corners and junctions, as they can get a little unruly; the liquid cement smooths them out pretty nicely. Some folks will use lacquer (cellulose) thinners for this process, rather than liquid cement. It's probably a great deal cheaper to do so! I like using Tamiya Extra Thin mainly because of the great little brush it comes with, which is a perfect applicator for the job.


One last point about cleaning your lines out with liquid cement: once you've done it, leave them be for a while - just like you would if you were joining two parts with it. The cement needs time to work its magic in the line, and in process evaporate completely away. The plastic in the line will remain soft for some time, and if you try to fix a problem or otherwise meddle with it, the result usually isn't good. If you spot something that needs fixing in a line that you've just run liquid cement through, let it dry for at least an hour so and come back to it.


Now that the straight panel lines have been taken care of, it's time to turn our attention to the prominent circular hatches. These are relatively easy if you have an abundant selection of scribing templates, as you'll always have a circle that's close enough for the job (if not exact):




Whenever you can (and sometimes it's not possible), tape the template to your part. The last thing you need is for things to be moving around while you're trying to do this. Again, much easier on a flat surface like these wings. For curved lines and enclosed shapes, the needle-in-a-pin-vise comes into its own:




Simply run the pointy end gently but firmly around the inside of the shape. It's best to do this with some speed, which will help compensate for any natural tendency to want to push down at the same time. Also, if you go too slow, you'll find that the tool has a tendency to 'dig in', which is not what you want. Of course, don't go so fast that the tool flies out of the shape and goes screeching across the model!


It's hard to see in the photo above, but you might notice a bit of material that has been removed from the line. It's been my experience that this only happens with a needle-in-a-pin-vise when used to form closed shapes like this. When I use it to form straight lines or curves, almost no material is removed from the line, and I'm left with the ridges problem that I mentioned earlier. Curious, but probably a function of my particular technique here.


So, both hatches have been scribed and riveted (using the needle-in-a-pin-vise again), and liquid cement has been applied:




I always find that things look a bit ugly at this stage, but with a final rub down with some worn wet-and-dry, a good scrub with the toothbrush, and a coat of primer, it comes up pretty nicely.


There's one more hatch to do on this part before we're finished with it (that I'm aware of at least!), but I don't have a ready-made template for it, so I'm going to have to make my own. I'm saving that for Part 2, provided there's still any interest after this post!


With apologies to the minimalists among you.



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Part 2


So, we have a hatch on each wing to scribe, and no template that matches the required shape. What to do? The simplest solution is to make our own template, and the simplest material to make it out of is standard styrene sheet (Evergreen in this case). Some folks use aluminium sheet for this task, and that's perfectly acceptable. I just find it easier to work with styrene, as I have practically no useful skills working with aluminium sheet (despite having tried).


My approach to this task is to start by drawing the shape I want onto some sheet styrene. Thirty thou is probably adequate, though I don't really take much notice of the exact grade of sheet I pick. What you're after is something that will be thick enough to make for a nice, robust template, but not so thick that it's a pain to cut out and shape.


For for this particular example, I measured the height of the hatch as rendered by Trumpeter on their kit, and found it to be 11mm. Luckily, one of my templates already had a circle of 11mm diameter. The hatch isn't completely round though, being narrower in the horizontal plane, with sides that are much closer to parallel than the top and bottom pair are. So, the idea is to start with something close and modify it to suit.


I began by tracing an 11mm circle:




I then took the 11mm-high oblong shape - which has rounded ends - and taped it into place over the circle. Using the needle-in-a-pin-vise, and the same technique we used in part one to scribe a hatch, I cut out the shape. It's a matter of simply not stopping once a line is formed, but continuing on until you cut right through the plastic. The needle-in-a-pin-vise makes pretty short work of the soft Evergreen styrene.


Now all I had to do was flesh out the sides so that they were not so parallel. This actually took a bit of fettling, but I used the same basic approach: take a template of the appropriate size and shape, overlay it, tape it down, and scribe away the excess plastic. It's actually easier to do than to describe or imagine, unfortunately. At this stage you're no longer using a whole shape, but just a side or an edge that matches what you're trying to achieve. If this step doesn't make much sense, let me know and I'll document it more clearly with photos.


Anyway, here's the final shape:




It's still not quite what I was after, but close enough. I use a needle file with a curved face to clean up any gnarly bits. Once you get this far, you're ready to put it to use, which is the same process that we've already seen - tape it into position and scribe your line!


Here's the final result, scribed, riveted and cleaned up:




A quick word about the rivets. I don't have one of those dedicated riveting tools that produces the little round circles, so for larger fasteners that these would ideally represent, I fake it. I first make guide holes with my needle-in-a-pin-vise, and then follow them up with a couple of twists of my finest drill bit. The effect this produces can be seen in the photo above. Not perfect, but effective enough. A beading tool or similar is definitely on my shopping list though.


Well, hopefully I haven't belaboured this too much, and that someone's found it useful. If you have any questions, or additional tricks and tips, just sing out.



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Thanks Kev! I have been working on some older raised panel kits and my rescribe jobs have been rubbish. I had all the tools, just no idea how to use them. I have started using the thin cement tip and it works nicely.

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I don't have a ton of experience rescribing, but on my last project I made the decision to do all the scribing after assembly. It offers advantages and problems. It is of course more difficult to scribe an assembled "three dimensional" object that cannot be put flat on the table. But the advantages are several. It guarantees perfect alignment of panel lines where they cross seams on the model, you don't have to work about filling/sanding out any of your hard work after assembling the model, and you can also (carefully) scribe detail on filler if you do the scribing after the model is assembled. This is one of the reasons I like CA or epoxy for filling gaps, it scribes fairly similar to the same way that the plastic does. If I use putty, it remains too soft and the scribing damages it.


The dymo tape for me was the single most important "tool". I would have found it impossible without that stuff.

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Interesting perspectives Bryan. One conclusion I came to during the course of this project is that it's better, on balance, to attend to fuselages after they've been assembled, for the reasons you mention. I don't think it matters so much with wing parts generally, and I still prefer to do them prior to assembly.


My personal experience with rescribing through CA has been less favourable than yours. It could just be the brands I use, but it tends to cure to a brittle consistency that's much harder than plastic, and chip when scribing through. Luckily, Derek put me on to the age-old formula of mixing CA with talcum powder, and what a revelation that has been! Much easier to deal with all round.


After a couple of bad experiences, I tend to use Dymo tape only as a last resort now. If I can get away with just holding or taping down a straight edge, the process goes much more quickly. One tip with Dymo tape though: cut it into thin strips before you use it! Not only will it last a heck of a lot longer (after all, you usually have to toss it after one or two uses), but it takes to compound curves much more readily (though it's still a pain in that regard). I know folks like Tony Bell actually tape their Dymo strips to equivalent strips of Tamiya tape first, and then lay that combination on the model. Apparently it gives you many more reuses than otherwise.



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I use the CA glue then sprinkle on "micro ballons", which I think changes the glue's properties(hardens instantly, but not as hard as straight CA) in a similar way to what talcum powder does. The only reason I don't use the talc, as it would be simpler and cheaper, is I read somewhere that it can leach discoloration through the paint after a long period of time. I don't even know if that is true, but the fear prompted me to just use the micro balloons.


I found, no matter how careful I am, that scribing mistakes are intevitable. I just touch the errant scratch with a bit of CA, then sprinkle on the micro-balloons, sand briefly, and mistakes are fixed that fast.


As far as the Dymo tape, I use it full sized when i am using it for a straight panel line, as it goes down straighter that way. I cut it as thin as possible when I need to scribe a curve. I only use it for a couple of scribes per piece, then toss it when the adhesive quality starts to go away. I bought a ton of the tape on-line pretty cheap, so I don't worry about going through a lot of it.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I use the CA glue then sprinkle on "micro ballons", which I think changes the glue's properties(hardens instantly, but not as hard as straight CA) in a similar way to what talcum powder does.

For whatever it may be worth, here's my article on microballoons at IPMS/Stockholm. I'm surprised that many people remain unaware of this method, which is far superior to its alternatives in many situations.


Charles Metz

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  • 6 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Very useful tutorial/experiences Kev - Thank you :speak_cool:




P.S. I have used the CA glue/talcum powder technique for many years on my master patterns without any adverse affects (and when you see the amount of scribing horrors I make on a regular basis, you'll understand that this could be a lot!)...It is also great for controlling the viscosity of the 'filler' as well as smelling nice!:)


P.P.S. The circular steel templates are also pretty cool for scribing circular lines on spinners for those that cannot or are unable set up a height gauge with a scriber - Just select an approriate diameter, make sure that it is parallel, apply a little pressure whilst twisting the spinner and hey presto!, one nicely scribed circle on the spinner! (I have just used the end of a brass tube on one of my current patterns to achieve the same effect).

Edited by Derek B
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  • 3 weeks later...

Great tutorial and thanks for going to the trouble of sharing you techniques. One hint for using super glue is if you apply it and need to leave it for any length of time after it is cured and before you have sanded it is to draw over it with a permanent marker or even brush some paint over it to seal it. I have done this on many occasions and when I have come back to finish it is not set up rock hard and can still be worked easily and scribed. I’ve even done this after leaving it for several months.

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P.P.S. The circular steel templates are also pretty cool for scribing circular lines on spinners for those that cannot or are unable set up a height gauge with a scriber - Just select an approriate diameter, make sure that it is parallel, apply a little pressure whilst twisting the spinner and hey presto!, one nicely scribed circle on the spinner! (I have just used the end of a brass tube on one of my current patterns to achieve the same effect).


I wish I'd thought of doing this when I was building the 262 Derek! There's a small cap on the nose that you'd normally represent with a scribed line, but I could think of no way to do the scribing. I did think of the brass tube idea, but didn't go there in the end. Nice to know that it probably would've worked. I'll certainly use these ideas when I build the next one (and thanks to Frank, I've got another set of Czech decals for it too!).


Thanks to everyone else who's thrown their ideas and experiences into this thread too.



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  • 2 years later...

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