Dried out markers for panel lining, need advice please.

Hi Everyone,

I am really new to building gunpla and just finished (almost) my first RG model. It’s an aile strike. But anyway as I was panel lining with my pens they went really dry and would not produce ink. I used a micron 005 pen and 03 lepen pen. This happened quickly the first time I used them. These pens came highly recommended from other websites, so they should work well. I think I am doing something wrong to make them dry up really quick. I was wondering if you could give me some tips on how to prevent this in the future because I am not sure what I am doing wrong.

Trouble shooting I have done, thought about.

I don’t think I am pressing way too hard because the tip still looks in good shape, I was wondering if I you sometimes can’t see the damage.
I tried soaking them in water for a little bit. Didn’t work.
Tried the same thing with rubbing alcohol. Didn’t work. (Not sure if it was isopropyl or ethyl based though)
I let them sit for multiple days ink side down. Again didn’t work.
I accidently ruined the micron pen trying to check the ink on it, but it did have sufficient ink.

So I was wondering if you guys had any tips for not drying out your pens, fixing them once they are, or better panel lining etiquette? Please and thank you

Welcome to the boards! The problem might have been caused by two a few things:

  1. The nib dried out.

The nib dries out if you leave it uncapped for too long. If you did a long lining session, this may be the case.

  1. You bent the nib.

If you press at the wrong angle, the nib can sometimes get bent and appear to be dried out. This is unlikely to have happened to your pen.

  1. It clogged from dust and other particulates.

Sometimes, the nib can clog from dust and other things. Again, this is probably not the case.

If the pen dries out, has a bent nib, or is cloggedd, there is no fix.

Thank you for the prompt reply! Well the nib looks pretty solid and the kit was pretty new out of the package not alot of time for dust to accumulate. How long does it take to dry out. I was going for about 3 hours, is that considered too long? How would you suggest going about it next time so I don’t dry them out? Also is there a reason why water or alcohol wouldn’t rewet the nib?

No problem! I bet it was the prolonged panel-lining session. I would limit the use to around 2 hours. When did you notice it was drying out? I am puzzled that the alcohol didn’t work. Just limit the use more next time.

I was switching between the two, but I did have the caps off. The lepen died about 2.5 hours in and the micron as I was finishing maybe 3. So if I just cap it and give it a break, should it be good then? I was surprised that the alcohol didn’t work either, I am not sure if it was isopropyl or ethyl based. I hear if its ethyl based it won’t fix it. But now I am going to be using a pencil of some sort to fill in the “open” areas, that’ll save on some of the time my pens will stay open! Do you use pens or do you wash?

I always cap my pens when they’re not in use, even if I’m going to use them for the next piece. You should be good if you cap your pens in between. Isopropyl alcohol will clean up mistakes on pretty much every permanent marker, so in theory, it should have fixed the clogged issue with your pen. I use a mix of both. I use markers mostly on out-of-box-builds and and enamel wash on painted kits. I almost never do edging with a marker, as it leaves too thick a line for my taste. Enamel wash is used there. It’s all a matter of personal preference, though.

I am going to definitely cap them from now on. Ya the alcohol not working confuses me as well. I might try washes, I feel like it’ll be more work but the results from what I see pay off. Thank you for the advice though. Hopefully at some point I will feel confident enough to post some of my work on this website!

Enamel washes are actually pretty easy, if you get the hang of thinning the paint. Use lighter fluid for that. As for showing off your model kits, don’t hesitate! Everybody here is easygoing and won’t judge them. My early ones were pretty horrible, and I showed them off. Believe me, everybody has at least one ugly model kit.

I love my lining pens, I used Micron for years until recently. Micron pens will dry out if left open for too long. Which seems to be the case and Bossguy helped you on that matter. Yes always cap your pens when not in use. When i was reading through I thought it was odd that the pen dried out during use, as the ink flow would keep it from doing so. But since you were switching back and forth between pens, leaving them uncapped is most likely the cause. I’ve had my Micron pens dry out before, but it was because I used them on plastic painted with flat enamel before the paint was dry enough. To my knowledge, nothing can unclog a Micron pen once it has dried out. Which is very frustrating as they are not cheap and i can never find a spare when I need it.

After a while, I switched to Faber-Castell brush pens. I’ve used the grey scale set to much success!

The thing about these markers though is it can take a number of passes to get the coverage you want in the panel line, and you have to use a q-tip or cotton bud to remove the excess ink. But, they can leave a dirty or shaded look depending on how much you wipe off and how you smear the ink. The best part is I’ve never had an issue with these pens drying out. One thing to note is if you are using these on a painted surface, especially a flat finish (even topcoat), the ink will smear and dirty up the paint pretty bad if you aren’t careful about how you use them. That part can take practice.

Now I use mostly Real Touch Gundam Markers and I match up colors to give a better look. For example, I’ll use the orange marker on yellow parts to make it look more like shadow instead of just a black line, etc.

I cap my markers after every part. They never sit out on my desk uncapped for more than a minute. When I didn’t do it like that, my Gundam lining markers would last for approximately two or three normal sized master grades with heavy lining. Since I started aggressively capping them, I’ve been getting about 5 or 6 Master Grades lined per marker minimum. Either GSI Creos started putting more ink in them in the last two years, while maintaining the same price, or my aggressive capping has been working. I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter, since I’ve opened dried out markers over the years. I used to find ink (indicating that the tip dried out), and now I find none.