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Scratch-building a 1/72 instrument panel
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Virginia, United States
Member Since: March 25, 2008
entire network: 25 Posts
KitMaker Network: 0 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 12:06 PM UTC
While in the attic last week, I dug out one I had been thinking of for some time. It's pretty well on the way to completion, at least the cockpit is. But I needed an instrument panel for it and none was included in the kit. The kit is the Eastern Express 1/72 Sopwith Strutter. I started it three years ago and put it away. I don't know why? Probably just got tired of doing bipes at the time.

Anyhow, with only the panel lacking, today was a good day to do that justice.

I start by getting the contour of the upper decking where the panel will fit using a contour gauge. This is transferred to index card and drawn out with a pencil. The calipers are use to measure the width of the panel for the decking, which is 0.306-in in this case.

The card template is cut and the center marked (must be cut down a tad for the Vickers mount) and the template is etched out on styrene sheet stock, cut close with scissors, and sanded back to the etch marks.

It's off to the scanner and Photoshop now. Since the plastic styrene is white, it is best to place a dark background over it before scannibg, this will make cutting out the scanned panel easier. Scan at a very high dpi (I use 1200).

Once the scanned panel is in, I open up my trusty Texture folder I use for FS2004 and find a woodgrain that I like, This is resized to 1200 dpi and a pixel width just a bit larger than that of the scanned panel. I high light the scanned panel with Photoshop's Magic Wand and choose Select All and Copy on the wood texture. I then hit Paste Into and botta-bing, I got a wood panel.

Next up I choose some gauges that will do for generics. I made these gauges and will give all of you a tut on how to do so in another toopic later. If you have any good graphics program, it is not that hard, though it is time consuming. Silver mounts for the gause are done with the Brush tool before pasting the gauges and placing them.

Now I need a placard and a brass control, so again it's off to the Texture folder to gett this. thios too is resized to 1200 dpi and a pixel width to match that of the panel. The placard is cropped and sized to fit from the texture and some script added and embossed inward. The control is done with a brush of appropriate size and the Ellipse Tool. All gauges and controls benefit for an outer drop shadow effect, with the shadow centered and sized to highlight the item.

And here's your finished panel. I cut one I printed and put it over the plastic to check the size, no problem. It looks way better than this photo, as the photo paper is glossy and I used a flash. I think you can get a good idea anyhow. Oh, for the want (read need) of an ALPS!


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North Carolina, United States
Member Since: August 15, 2006
entire network: 408 Posts
KitMaker Network: 179 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 - 09:47 AM UTC
Extremely cool!!! I may have to invest in a copy of Photoshop.

Thank you for sharing the technique.

Semper fi,