I use the back side of a new #11 blade to carefully make very light passes on the plastic. It will take a lot of light passes to cut thru. Depending on the panel, I will duplicate it with wine bottle foil so it looks like sheet metal in thickness. The foil is easy to tool and will easily copy any details by simply pressing it over the original part inprinting rivets or framing details. The surrounding area of the opening will be thinned down to scale.
As an example, I used wine bottle foil and pressed it on the gun hood cover of this 1/48 Dora then trimmed it to size. It produced a scale like thickness that looked better than the kit's thick part. Double click on the image for an extreme closeup.