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Do I really need a scribing tool?

11 replies
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  • Member since
    January, 2018
Do I really need a scribing tool?
Posted by GraemeT on Friday, May 11, 2018 11:54 PM

OK, I am getting back into scale models and I amy as well just jump straight in. Anyway, I have been working on a Zvezda 1/48 Bf-109 and the panel lines seem to be very light. So I thought no worries I will rescribe them. I have been using the back on a knife blade as a scriber, it is working ok but I am finding it difficult to get a nice clean channel, even after light sanding and running the blade along to clean out dust and what ever other rubbish may be in there.

Anyway, will a propper scribing tool give me better results. I have been looking at this as well as their riviting tools.

I just don't want to spend the money on a tool and shipping to New Zealand and find marginal or no difference in results.

Appreciate your advice.           

  • Member since
    September, 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, May 12, 2018 12:23 AM

Have you thought about the panel line on a 109? If they even exist?


  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by KnightTemplar5150 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 2:06 AM

Graeme, if you have never used a purpose built scriber instead of the back of a knife, you'll find it to be a game changing addition to your tool kit. A sharp scriber is easier to control, leaves more even and defined lines, and pulls a curl of fine plastic out to ensure the cut is clean of debris. 

Since you're in New Zealand and shipping is a concern, look into local places like Hobby City (Mt Wellington in Auckland) or Hobby Station in Otara. Both are brick and mortar stores that offer services on the web. They may not carry UMM, but they normally stock similar tools from Tamiya, Gunze, and other Pacific based companies. And they will ship to you at a far more reasonable rate, sometimes even for free depending on how much you order.

  • Member since
    January, 2018
Posted by GraemeT on Saturday, May 12, 2018 3:31 AM

Thanks a lot for the advice. I will order the scribing tool.

Shipping isn't much a concern raelly, it was more spending the money and then finding it was all a waste of time and money.



  • Member since
    August, 2013
Posted by Jay Jay on Saturday, May 12, 2018 6:36 AM

I have tried many different scribing tools ,some made by myself, and I've found the UMM scriber to be the best one for me. With practice it cuts clean lines even around curved surfaces. Highly recommended.






 I'm finally retired. Now time I got, money I don't.

  • Member since
    January, 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Saturday, May 12, 2018 8:48 AM

No. A scribing tool is not a necessity. I don’t even have one. Someday I may get one if the need arises.

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Saturday, May 12, 2018 11:33 AM

if you build aircraft, yes, you need one. And the only on worth buying is the UMM one. 



  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by modelmaker66 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 1:24 PM

Tamiya p cutter, trumpeter scriber and umm scriber all in my arsenal and all for different applications. All are great.

  • Member since
    March, 2013
Posted by patrick206 on Saturday, May 12, 2018 2:05 PM

In the case of a real aircraft, viewed from a few feet away, panel lines are virtually invisible. As you look at a model from a nominal distance, panel lines would be the same, pretty much unseen. To make panel lines really stand out, I think would be inconsistent with scale appearance.

Paint sprayed at proper thinning ratio really doesn't conceal much, in the way of finer details. I'd recommend you just try painting the model and see if you like the results. I only scribe if panel lines don't line up, from one side to the other.

I have several scribing tools, of them I consider the UMM the most useable and effective.


  • Member since
    January, 2018
Posted by GraemeT on Saturday, May 12, 2018 4:07 PM

Thanks for the info guys. I have picked up the Tamiya scribing tool and have ordered the UMM tool as well.

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: hamburg michigan
Posted by fermis on Saturday, May 12, 2018 4:58 PM

I started with the back of a blade...same issue you have found. I switched to a sewing needle in a pin vice. Much better, but still have to clean out the line after sanding (naturally!). Now, for the most part, I use Tamiyas PE saws.

They leave a nice, fine line...and come in handy for more than just panel lines! They are also far easier to control than a needle or the back of a blade.

  • Member since
    September, 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Saturday, May 12, 2018 7:34 PM

I use a fine steel sewing needle, sometimes chucked into my pin vise, sometimes not.  I use Dymo tape as a straight edge.

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