using a wash to pick up panel lines?

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.


Sr Member
Hey all,

I'm working on a F-14 Tomcat model. How would I apply a wash to dirty it up and bring out the recessed panel lines? What is the process for this?

Help me!



Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Jedi Dade

Master Member
weathering is kinda an art form, you can get some pointers but the real trick is to practice. Basically a wash is super watered down or thinned paint that you kinda wipe over the spots on the model that have recessed detailing you want to bring up. In my experience its really tempting to highlight things using a very dark wash - but I have found that is usually not the best way. For something like a tomcat I'd try a gray that is only slightly darker then the base coat that you've probably already laid down. thin the heck out of it with either water or thinner depending on your paint. and kinda wipe it around, without wiping all of it off. You will be wiping 99% of it off though. The trick is not to do too much. You want just enough that you eye can pick up the detail without being attracted to it... if that makes sense. A very light drybrushing can also do a lot for real world model... a tiny bit of rust goes a long way toward making something look "real" If you know what I mean
I like to use a transparent orange for rust colors. My best advice though is to pick out a "junk model" and practice on something that you don't care if it looks like trash when its done. Scrap styrene, old broke models, whatever you find in the 99 cent bin somewhere. You can even repaint toys- you would be surprised what a decent paint-job will do for an old truck, tank, plane, tonka toy
I find that a less is more approach to weathering is usually a better approach - you can always do another wash, but its tough to fix it once you've f'd it up...Practice practice practice...


Sr Member
Jedi Dade pretty much summed it up.

Back when I was really into model building, my technique for this was to use artist's India ink. It's as thin as and flows like water, very easy to get some on a brush and just dab it near your panel lines. The natural 'wicking' effect of liquid surface tension draws it out quite nicely, and it stays wet long enough to wipe it from anyplace you don't want it. It also ends up being a nice gray color rather than a full black since it spreads so thin. Dabbing with a paper towel allows you to compensate for areas where it may settle in a bit thicker. I think my greatest success with this technique was actually on an aircraft model, a Lockheed S-3B that I constructed for a squadron mate's father. I got many kudos for the paint job and the weathering.

As Dade said, it is a bit of an art form. It never hurts to practice a few different methods to see what you like best.


edit: Holy crap, I just read a year-old post of mine in the "Blast marks" thread where I extolled the virtues of the same technique. How very odd.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.


Sr Member
something you really should try is oil paints,
and I mean the ones in tubes !!

you can thin the oil paint with ...wasbenzine(dutch name)
(don't know what it's called in English, but you use it
to degrease and remove tape residue and evaporates quickly)

you can thin it to a really thin wash, then apply it all over the model, as the thinner is diff then the one you used for
normal painting, it won't dissolve the paint underneath !!

after it dries you can wipe the top layer off with brusher or
a cloth, and leave the oil paint in the recesses, the oil
paint takes a day to dry and can easily be removed and changed.

if you use a mat paint layer as a base you can really make a
surface look old and worn as much as you want, when using
gloss you can wipe all of it away and just leave it in the recesses.

just try it, it won't have to perfect first time, because
you can just wipe it off and start again

I used it on the model in the pic

if you want I can make some pics to show you




Well-Known Member
Yeah, Xeno is right. I should have mentioned that I use artists oils for all of my washes. I paint my figures with artists oils also, but they work great for washes and due to their rich color, really accent panel lines and nooks and crannies where shadow or dirt and grime is desired.

Oh and I believe the thinner you are looking for Xeno is called turpentine here in the states, but I just use mineral spirits with artists oils.


Sr Member
no deff not terpentine, it will dissolve the paint underneath
after a while, it could be the mineral spirits.

tried the Babel fish sites to translate the word, but
it just doesn't recognize it

and the oilpaints are transparent so the thicker the layer
the darker the color



Well-Known Member
OK, wasbenzine, that I could find translates from Dutch to Naptha or White Gas in English. Naptha is some really strong stuff!! Mineral spirits has a lower flash point and is less vaporous. Be careful with Naptha!!


Sr Member
that could be it, and yes it should only used in a well
ventilated room

it's the fast dissolve speed that helps, as after it is
vaporized it leaves a thin film of oilpaint, that can be
manipulated on the model and then leave it to dry.

this way you can make subtle or more obvious washes.


Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.


Sr Member
Like pilot, I've experimented with India Ink.

I really like working with it, because it's really great for making a plane surface looking dirty.

I used it on this Kazon Torpedo.


The picture doesn't do the model justice. It's way too bright, but might give you an idea.

I thin the Ink with water, brush it over the entire surface, let it set for a couple of minutes, and then wipe it of with a cloth.

It leaves a dirty and scratched look.

I have some other artist inks and Ecoline, that I want to experiment with, but haven't come around to it yet. Will let you know, if the results are good.



Sr Member
Airbrush Pre-Shading is a good option. Just apply your undercoat and do all the panel lines and raised areas with a black+base colour. When you spray over it, the darker areas leave a dark shadow.

Or use a black micron pen to paint the lines, then spray.

You can also spray a mix of turpentine and sienna into the recesses and lines, it gives a slightly different effect to applying it with a brush. Best is to experiment a little with what works best.
This thread is more than 16 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.