Friday 25 August 2023



I've been building a WWII fighter-bomber in 1:144 scale in Blender, the Hawker Tempest, and trying out a method for creating panel lines that seems to be working okay.

I cut a line through the model where I want the panel line to go and then extract that edge as a curve, which I can then adjust to the exact thickness I want, convert it to a mesh, and then boolean out the panel line. It would be nice if I could do the mesh conversion non-destructively, and I think it's possible with geometry nodes, but they are pretty much still a complete mystery to me.

I'm pretty happy with it so far, and now I just have to make some under-wing rockets for it. Though I find, from the small amount of research I've done, that not many Tempests ever used the famous 60 pounder rockets in action — that was more for the Typhoon.

I'd like to do a Typhoon as well, and I think I could probably reuse most of the fuselage geometry. I'd have to redo the wings from scratch of course, and the tail fin (and probably the tail planes) will need reprofiling.


Test print(s) done, and I've learned some things.

  1. Double check your dimensions. For some reason I designed the thing at 1:122 scale instead of 1:144 — I have no idea how that error crept in.
  2. Tolerances for FDM printing are coarser than you might imagine. The panel lines were right at the edge of the envelope when I originally laid them down, at 0.3mm wide, and when the model scaled down to 1:144, they mostly disappeared in printing. (They'd probably be fine for resin printing).
  3. There's a difference between a scale model and a wargaming model. I could (and should) have made the tail fin, tailplanes and wing trailing edge about 50% thicker. Also, making the wing a true aerofoil profile probably just made life harder for myself without returning much real-life benefit.


  1. To do this nondestructively, I think you could use a plane instead. Place the plane so it intersects where you want the panel line. Bool the wing out of the plane to get the edge, convert that to a curve, and continue as you are already doing it.

    I agree about geometry nodes, they are magic I haven’t figured out yet.

  2. Lovely, and I always liked the tempest after flying it in a video game when I was a youth.

    When I model starships, I usually duplicate the shape, resize it to be a fraction larger than the original shape, and then cut that up, giving the appearance of paneling. Your method sounds much more exact, and more scientific!