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Glazing Photo-etched Instrument Panels

I like etched instrument panels with photo or paper dials, they look really good when completed. Although the photo dials are usually quite glossy, they never have the look of glass. To give the dials that glass look I have tried clear varnish, and thinned white glue. Iím sure there are other mediums that can be used, but there always seems to be a problem with what ever I use. The problem stems from the fact that you canít get a complete seal between the photo dials and the etched panel. So when you add the varnish or white glue it is whisked away by capillary action. You can get around this by adding more and more of your favourite medium until there is no where for it to go and it finally does the job. None of this is very satisfactory, but to the great relief of modellers everywhere I have a wonderful solution. This is what you do...

Paint your instrument panel the correct colour and complete any dry brushing and other detail painting. Take a soft flat brush and dip it in Klear (Future in the U.S.), remove most of it by scraping the brush on the edge of the container and gently brush the back of the instrument panel. This will leave the Klear bridging the holes for the dials. The Klear in one or two of the dial holes might burst but you can just go over it again.

Once all the holes are glazed leave it to dry, this doesnít take long but I left it for day. You can if you want apply another coat.

The finished ďglassĒ appears to be surprisingly tough. It is very real looking, although itís very difficult to get a decent picture, take a look at the picture of my Mosquito FB Mk VI, see what you think. There you have it another use for Klear and a very easy and affective way of glazing etched instrument panels.
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About the Author

About Mal Mayfield (Holdfast)

Hi, my name is Mal Mayfield and I have been modelling seriously for about 25 years. My main interest is 1/48 scale second world war. I build all types and all combatants. I have built 1/35 scale "targets" and 1/72 scale modern aircraft, plus a couple of cars. I have also dabbled with figure painting...


Thanks Mal That is an excellent tip and technic. The finished result really looks great and can't wait to try it for myself on my next kit I use Future by just putting drops of it inside the dials which as you state gets wicked away. You do see a little bit of a shine afterwards but it doesn't come close to the effect of your technic here. Well done and thanks again, Wayne
JAN 05, 2005 - 11:26 AM
Whoa, that's too nice!! Thanks for sharing!
JAN 05, 2005 - 02:18 PM
I was really impressed with the result, it does look even better in real life, like real glass. Best thing about it is that there is, practically, no effort required. Taking a decent picture to show it off was the hardest part. Mal
JAN 06, 2005 - 08:46 AM
Hey Great feature! i have been playing about with various methods of doing this ! but this i will try thanks Mal
JAN 07, 2005 - 07:55 AM
Thanks HoldFast ! Yet another use for the mighty Future/Klear I've also heard that some CAs dry with a clear shape and can form that bubble type shape as well. (and 2 part epoxies on a toothpick) I'm sure tho that it can destroy soem photo mediums
JAN 24, 2005 - 03:08 PM
Thanks for the great article. I'm about to delve in PE parts and having this technique will be quite handy. With my plastic instrument panels, I've been putting drops in like Wad_ware described. You just need several applications to make them stand out.
JAN 25, 2005 - 04:27 AM
Yep I bet there are loads of ways to do this, using Klear though is just so easy. I'm still marvelling at just how realistic my Mosquito panel looks Mal
JAN 25, 2005 - 07:49 AM
wow is that hard to do??? Ron
JAN 25, 2005 - 12:33 PM
Ron it is the easiest thing in the world to do, simply dip a flat brush into Klear (Future) and brush it along the back of the panel and let it dry. :-) Mal
JAN 27, 2005 - 07:15 AM