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Old 05-06-2011, 07:54 PM   #1
Marianitem
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Panel lines research

Hi guys. I´m almost new here and really appreciate your work and the way you share tips and tricks. I don´t have anything to teach you, but as many of you try to even reproduce the brand name of a 50mm rubber hose printed on to your models (I´m sure somebody tried that one), I think most of us are trying to make it as real as possible. Right now I´m going to talk about panel lines, which are a pain to many of us.

After reading almost every thread about panel lines, I found that no one made a different approach to panel lines, whether we are talking about openings´ lines (doors, hood/trunk) or bodyworks´ lines (bumper to body, side fenders to body, door handles, and maybe fuel tank cover to body). I´ve been watching almost every line of every car I passed by, and driving almost unsafely just to look at every car on the street.

First I will mention my modeling conclusion, so you don´t need to read the full thing if you don´t care about that much.

- give door/trunk/hood lines a thin black line that you can see looking at a straight 90º angle, but that you cannot see when looking, let´s say, in a 45º angle. Also you can add shadow by the thinned darkerened body color method.

- give other parts, like door handles or fuel tank cover only the thinned darkerened body color method.

Actually, do whatever technique you find useful in order to reproduce the real thing, but take a close look to the actual model you´re building. If you haven´t learnt this techniques type "gundam marker panel lines", "wash panel lines", thinned paint panel lines" or somthing like that on the "search" tool of this forum. I´m talking about "how to look to panel lines" and not teaching painting techniques.

Now I´ll share my thoughts, those that brought me to that conclusion. There are 2 pics attached. Refer to them as you read.

Every panel line shows a black line, which can be wider or thinner. But I found a big difference between the gap of a door and the gap of a bumper next to a side panel. Door lines are wider than other panel lines, as the gap between both panels is wider than that of a fuel tank cover or door handles, which look more like darkened (shadowed) body color with maybe a thin black line (look at picture "door n bumper", I think that was a Jeep Compass). If you measure the gap between doors, or door to side panel, and bring it down to 1/25 scale you´ll find that you shouldn´t be looking at a black line wider than 0.2mm on the model. Also, beware that what you´re looking at is the shadow inside of the car, which is at least 30mm deeper than the outside of the door, caused by the lack of light inside of the car, and not just 5mm deep. I think that´s why black panel lines look too big, even when they´re painted just 0.2mm on our models. It´s just that they´re not hidden deep enough.

On the other hand, let´s think about door handles. There´s no gap, and you´re not looking to the inside of the car. It´s just a little curve and a little shadow. If you make a black line here it will actually look like Initial-D or something like that. Same happens with bumper panel to side panel joint. It is not a moving piece and the gap shouldn´t look as wide at a door panel line.

You have to keep in mind that every 1:1 model is different. Brand quality level (German MB compared to a German VW, German VW compared to a Brazilian or Argentinean Fiat). And think about car history. Door lines of a 58 Impala will look definitely wider than those of a 2009 Zonda. Also trucks or vans will show wider gaps.

Last but not least, the point of view is the key. If you look at a modern car side at 90º angle you´ll see black lines around doors. If you look at it let´s at 45º angle you´ll only see a shadow, or a darker (or sometimes lighter) line of body color (depends on the light). And if you look at that far, or in a smaller angle you might not notice a panel line at all (look at pic "3 lines"). You´ll see in the picture a bumper thin line, a hood wider line, and a door line angled view, that can barely be visible. BTW this is just a 09 Honda Fit.

So again, if you want to reproduce the 1:1 model you should check many pictures of the panel lines, and how the viewing angle affects, or at least think about the cars year, type, level of quality and what´s most important, which panel you are trying to reproduce.
And that was my first “half cent” contribution (or not :P) to this forum.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 3 lines.jpg (298.5 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg door n bumper.jpg (299.2 KB, 21 views)

Last edited by Marianitem; 05-06-2011 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:25 AM   #2
CFarias
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Re: Panel lines research

These are great observations and I'm sure they will be helpful to the readers of this forum.

I generally rescribe my panel lines to enhance their appearance or to create new ones on models that don't show them already. For the door panels and other hatches I use a large scriber such as a dental tool and for panel lines such as the line between a modern bumper and a body, I use a thin scriber such as an X-Acto blade turned backwards.

These work well for me.
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