Scribing Panel Lines on Model Airplane Kits

Re-scribing panel lines… the very term can make even the most experienced modelers cringe.

The molds used for the Italeri 1:48 P40M-N: Kittyhawk Mk4 are the old AMT/ERTL ones and show some deterioration due to age. The fuselage is not to well formed and requires some remedial work; sanding filling and re-scribing of panel lines.

Now this is very easily said but not so easily done. First you need to find some reference material, in my case, line drawings downloaded off the web. I took these drawings and from them was able to figure out what lines needed to be scribed where.

The pundits recommend using Dymo labeling tape to use as a guide for your scriber because it’s a rigid tape and provides a firm edge to scribe against. (see video tutorial below) However, I read an article where the modeler used electrical tape which is more flexible for following panel line and decided to try this method instead. Dymo tape is expensive and I don’t have any!

Now the sanding and filling can begin using Tamyia grey putty and C.A. glue as both will not crack or break off and scribes easily. While working on the fuselage I took the opportunity to glue it together so I can also re-scribe those panel lines that go across the joins.

Italeri P40M-NdWith the fuselage joined together I re-scribed those lines that needed it and touched up a few others. Work carefully and the time spent here will make the model.

I also have realized at some point I am going to have to purchase some scribing templates to scribe regular shapes like rectangles, circles, squares, triangles and a host of other shapes.  It’s an easy thing to accomplish with masking regular shapes that don’t have rounded corners. But for rounded corners a template becomes a must. I’ve seen a few templates available such as the Eduard scribing masks ( A Czech firm), the  Hasegawa scribing panel lines template,  and the Verlinden 1:72 scribing template.

I also gave the cockpit and interior their coat of interior green in preparation for a couple of very thin oil washes and painting of the details in the cock pit; fuses boxes, switches, instrument panel, rudder pedal,s etc. With careful dry brushing the dials should pop nicely.

I have since discovered that the canopy will sit too high if you model it in the open position so a vacu-form one is required. The best on the market is from a local company here in New Zealand by the name of Falcon Models. Falcon Models have a justifiably excellent reputation for their canopies. Now vacu-form canopies and I do not play well together so I’ll use the kits canopy and model it closed. I will however still invest time in the cockpit. Why? I hear you ask, simple: I KNOW it’s there! And with the application of Johnson’s Clear shine (Future for my American friends) it will improve no end.

Scribing Panel Lines

Scribing Panel Lines on the Italeri 1:48 P40M-N: Kittyhawk Mk4

So here I am now with the fuselage re-scribed, the cockpit together and painted ready for detailing, the other interior surfaces painted interior green and ready for assembly. This kit is just falling together for me it’s been a pleasure so far, aside from re-scribing and touching up the fuselage. I however enjoy the challenges that it provides and working outside my modeling comfort zone. It is after all how we learn and refine our techniques and improve how our finished product looks.

Happy modeling


For more information about the Italeri 1:48 P40M-N: Kittyhawk Mk4 kit used for this scribing panel lines post search for the category P40M-N Kittyhawk

Video Tutorial: Scribing Panel Lines


Avid WW2 aviation enthusiast and modeller. Been making model kits since age nine and I now model mostly ww2 model airplanes. (my wife is an understanding one!)

Related Posts

  • Post Image

Social Icons