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Bow Pens........The Mastering of

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Hi all,

I have been upgrading and am still upgrading some vehicles.

Part of the upgrades require repaint in some sections and the Gold stripe has suffered (GWR)

While in the UK I bought a new Bow Pen and unlike I usually do I have been trying it out on scraps.


The problem I am having is starting the line!

I am tending to get a wider line which thins out after a few millimetres.


Anyone have any suggestions on how I start with a standard size line....without the wider blob at the start please?

I am going to use Tamiya Gold leaf...water based.


Any and all suggestions appreciated.



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tap the end of the pen gently agains a bit of scrap before attempting the line


what is happening is, a blob of paint / ink is forming on the end of the bow, this is what causes the wide blob, dragged slightly along the line.


after that it's the paint / ink that is held between the bows that is being used for the line - we want rid of the paint / ink drip that is on the bow before we start


hope that makes sense.

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With the right consistancy you should be able to start the line at the right width, but, make sure there are no burrs on the bow pens tips, all bow pens really need a bit of honing to clean up the ends, do it under a magnififying glass, and with very fine garnet paper, about 1000 grit minimum, or better (5000 is available). Glue a piece to a wood "lolly stick", and use it very gently away from you, toward the tips on the outside till it looks really polished. if the inner faces look in any way damaged, then open the jaws and run a slip of garnet paper through one side at a time till flat and smooth, and snug when closed.


Any burrs tend to make the ouside of the tips hold a tiny amonut of the paint, and it runs off when the tips first touch the work. This explains why it peters out during the stroke, and also explains why the consistancy is vital, too thick and it will cling to the outside, again causing the troubles with width.


After the bow pen nib is filled, wipe the outside with tissue, and do a short dummy stroke on scrap or drawing paper, this should clear the outside of the tips, and if then, the line still starts big, investigate the consistancy.


You can also start the line on a coach side off the work.....by putting a sheet of thin drawing paper up to the edge of the coach and running from the paper on to the side. The "bulge" wil then occur on the paper, and any excess drawn out of the tips.


I leave about 1mm over lap to the start, which is touched in afterwards.


Gold, by the way is not the easiest to do, the metallic content makes it a bit more difficult, and for the best finish it may need to be done over a white or yellow base line. It all depends on the particular paint some are more dense and do not need the underline.


Hope this helps.


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Hi Guys,

Thanks for all the responses.

Tried today usig a thicker blend as suggested and it solved that problem.

Looking at the dried paint though and I am going to have to find something else.

I did want humbrol...but over here it is not so easy to find. Most shops, far and few as they are no longer tend to stock it.

At least that part of the experience is learnt.



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A friend who paints models for a living tends to use a yellow for Gold as it gives better coverage so he can keep the lines thinner.



M. & G. N. R. Locomotive Gorse Yellow from Precision Paints is a good "gold" represenation.

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Transfers are available from HMRS etc; pressfix easier for lining

Also try Tamiya Acrylics Yellow Ochre with a spot or two of black.

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