Painting instrument panels

I am fairly new to 1/48 scale aircraft and had a question regarding painting the instrument panel. I know some kits provide decals for this, and photo etch can be bought, but I wanted to keep the current kit i am working on, the icm spitfire mkviii simple. I have painted the instrument panel following a reference that had a similar gauge layout.

I sprayed the back with Tamiya flat black and then painted the dials with Vallejo German tanker uniform which is a dark blackish grey for some contest. I then painted the colored dial outlines. I plan to add gloss to the dial faces and do a light silver dry brushing.

My question is, is this as good as it gets or do people somehow paint the dials too? If so how do people do about this? I had considered using a very sharp white pencil crayon to draw them on

You can dry brush the dials. A number of companies sell instrument face decals.

I lightly drybrush the appropriate colors on, but I work in 1/32 so it is admittedly a bit easier than 1/48.

The pencil might work but you may be doing a lot of sharpening to keep that point small enough not to go out of the lines while coloring.

For me it never gets that good,I have no idea how those numbers on the gauges can be painted like that, beyond my ability

I’ll give this a try. The pencil didn’t work, it left more of a greasy stain than color

Drybrushing kind of works and will look a little like numbers and pointers, etc. If you want crisp dials and realistic looking IPs, buy the aftermarket gauge decals for them.

Thanks for help guys! This kit is supposed to be a quick simple build to get me back into aircraft modeling. A lot of the kits in my stash have dial decals in them, and I’ve bought PE for some. I think for this one I’ll give dry brushing a go


Sometimes a simple scratch in the dials (removing the top layer paint) can make a lot of difference, but it taes a very sharp needle, and a steady hand

One technique I saw online that I may try is to paint the dials white, the black over top. Then as you state use a very sharp needle to scratch the black off

I tried some of the techniques here and trouble with them all. I decided to just give it a dry brush with humbrol polished aluminum. I think it turned out okay for my first instrument panel


yes, this looks really good. Also bear in mind that once the canopy is in place the instrument panel will be less visible

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Looks good from here

By the way: a tiny drop of gloss varnish in de dials to mimick glass makes the instruments stand out

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I knew I forgot something! I intended to do this and forgot! Thanks for the reminder. I’ll be sure to do this before I glue the cockpit in

That looks great, no need for aftermarket IP’s if you can highlight detail like that :smiley:
tim :smiley:

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Thanks! Appreciate the compliment.

Happy I got back into aircraft! It’s a nice break from road wheels.