How To Paint Instrument Panels

In 7 Steps…

Although these days most modellers prefer to use prepainted PE cockpit panels for their models to speed up the building process, i prefer to paint by hand the cockpit panels, since i believe that a hand painted panel is better than a PE one.  Anyway this is my personal opinion. I will show you how i paint cockpit panels in 7 easy steps…

The examples you see in this tutorial are from Hasegawa F-4E kit, modified to represent the cockpit panels of the F-4E AUP of the Hellenic Airforce. For the modification i used plastic sheet and spare dials from other panels from spares box.

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Step 1

First step is to paint the basic cockpit colour, in this example is the standart light grey. The first layer is usually acrylic painted by airbrush.

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Step 2

In second step, i paint with black enamel the gauges and dials. I paint with brush and can correct easily any mistakes with a wet brush and Humbrol enamels thinner.

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Step 3

Before step 3 a layer of acrylic gloss varnish is welcome but not required. Next i apply a layer of dark brown oil wash around dials and gauges to give some depth and represent the usual wear of instrument panels.

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Step 4

After cleaning the wash with a brush moistened in Humbrol enamels thinner i drybrush the panels with light gray enamel or oil colour to highlight the details.

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Step 5

In the Next step i paint with Humbrol enamel white or white oil and a fine brush the details of the instruments. Don’t worry if you overpaint some details, you can easily clean the excess paint with a fine brush moistened in Humbrol enamels thinner.

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Step 6

In Step 6, I paint all details of instrument panels with enamels. Have in mind that I never use white colour for the buttons. I prefer to paint the buttons with shades of light grey.

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Step 7

Last step is to apply a layer of acrylic matt varnish to seal everything and to represent the glass of the instrument with a drop of gloss varnish on each instrument. My instrument panels are ready to be installed in the cockpit.

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Thank you for reading this article.

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