Embossing details?

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by wyverns4, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. wyverns4

    wyverns4 Member

    Has anyone ever embossed details on thier models? I am thinking of trying an experiment on a new project, where I want to emboss the ribs and formers on the wings, tail and fuselage of a Fokker EIII. I'm not sure exactly how to do it, though! What kind of tool should I use? I thought about just using a ball point pen from the back side, but I'm not sure if the ink would bleed through. I am sure that the tool should have a rounded surface, though. Next, what kind of surface should I use under my piece? Will a cutting mat have enough 'give' to get a nice impression?

    Thanks for any Ideas you guys can give me!
  2. cygielski

    cygielski Member

    I've embossed the ribs on a couple of planes - it's easy and adds a nice touch to the model. What I do is to mark off the ribs on the back side of the part by shining a light through the paper - either placing it on a window or over a lamp. Then I use a tool with a rounded tip to emboss the part, using a magazine (Newsweek, or something like it) as backing - I find it gives me just the right amount of "give". I try to vary the pressure, so that the center of the rib will be embossed more heavily, to make it look as if the fabric is really stretched over it.
  3. hpept

    hpept Member

    actually very little, as i limited to embossing the cap of a steam loco boiler and a miniature of Han Solo in the carbon freezing chamber, but both came out nice. I'm sure this is a good way to go to add a little of detail and realsm to paper models which are usually dead flat, unless you devote a lot of time to surface detail.
  4. Fishcarver

    Fishcarver Active Member


    You could try a tool called a burnisher: it is a stainless steel ball on a shaft. You can get them at art supply stores. Mark the ribs, etc on the back side and use the burnisher to raise them.
  5. SCEtoAux

    SCEtoAux Member

    One of the first tips I read about when starting on paper models was to use an empty ball point pen to score the fold lines. It would work on embossing details too.

    I use an embossing tool, which can be found for little money, and a small crochete hook which I have encased in some scrap wood to make it easier to use.

    For backing I use the piece of stiff cardboard usually found at the back of a tablet of note paper or legal paper. It has just the right amount of give to leave a good impression on the cardstock. You can put the parts page on a light box or window or some other source of bright light to make the lines show through and mark the beginning and end points with a pencil then put the page on the cardboard from the tablet and emboss that way. That is for reverse scoring. Otherwise just put the parts page on the cardboard and score along the line(s).
  6. wyverns4

    wyverns4 Member


    As soon as I read your post, I remembered I have a #10 Lace Crochet hook in my toolbox. I use it for rigging ship models. I just tried it out using the ideas I just read, and it works great! It makes the same size groove as a
    Bic ball point pen, but without the ink! I just finished all the embossing for my project in about an hour or so.
  7. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Rib Embossing

    There are several ways to do it. The first and recommended for beginners is to use an embossing tool and piece of plexiglass or clear acrylic with a straight line slot scraped out with the end of an Xacto blade or dental tool. The paper is then placed over the slot, the rib position aligned with the slot and then embossed. Avoid emobossing both ends as the rib generlaly blends into the surfaces at either end. I did a short tutorial on a more sophisticated method at Kartonbau awhile back and the results are as below.


  8. wyverns4

    wyverns4 Member

    Awsome! Is that a S.E.5a wing? What scale is it? Is the post on Kartonbau in english? How do I find it?

  9. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    The Short Long of It


    It's a 1:33 scale DH-2 that I've been messing with off and on for several months now. The Kartonbau spiel is in the Airplane section under builds and is here:


    The picture above is a further experiment than that shown on Kartonbau wherein the ribs and wing tip are formed by making a cardboard insert over which the wing stock can be formed. The rigs are actually #28 wire pulled across the form into slits in both the leading and trailing edge. The wing stock is moistened and applied over the form then a foam blanket is applied and a clam shell is clamped over the structure and all is left to dry. Wait a day (or night) and when unclamped the ribs appear. The paper is stretches slowly around the wire yielding a very life like rib detail. The reason for going to this length is that using a ball embossing tool yields the desired detail but has two drawbacks. One the upper wing surface tends to deform from the amount of rib embossing and two the embossing is straight and not curved as it should be. The "form" embossing solves these problems by stretching and forming while maintaing the correct shape for the bottom to joint to. Sounds complicated but it's really not that difficult. The wing tip was "glue burnished" by applying small amounts of PVA and working the surfaces toward one another while burnishing out any wrinkles that might form. A layer of plastic wrap is stretched over the inner form to keep the surfaces from sticking. One other point is that the wing surfaces have been given three coats of acrylic sealer to insure against "angst" from all the work going on on it..., Now that was a rather a short "long" of it.

    I need to find time to finish this small but highly modified little jewel...,

  10. Not only is this a wonderful build, Gil, but the hints and tips density of the series is extraordinary. I've grabbed the entire thread as a PDF for study. Thanks for taking the time to do it. Beautiful DH-2 as well.

    Cheers --- Larry

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