I need to do some fine lining work. The problem is I don't know what implement to use. I wan't something like a quill pen; that is, dip into acrylic paint rather than have a pen with a reservoir such as a Rotring pen.
As an experiment I tried with a cocktail stick which was fine except that the tip of the cocktail stick was four or five times thicker than I need.
Is there something on the market that might fit my needs? I've looked into Rotring pens but while they can go down to the thickness I need they can't be used for acrylic paint -- they'll clog the needle on first use apparently.
I use a pen from the local art supplies shop (Normal Lucas in Altrincham, Cheshire). There are two types, one is a handle with separate nibs but I find the nibs too broad in N Gauge. The other is the stem with a separate nib but this can be reversed to protect the tip of the nib when not in use. These seem to be the finest available but I have a total of five and only two work well (they are not that expensive though) I use Windsor and Newton inks, which need to be slightly diluted with water but they dry waterproof and mine get washed over with dirty thinners for weathering and show no ill effects. If you need yelow do it in white first then go over it - The yellow ink can also be used over white transfers but I have only done it once and cannot comment on how well it works (I havent tried washing with thinners for example). Yellow on white ink works fine and where the yellow extends beyond the white it hardly shows at all. You can also use diluted acrilic paint I believe but I havent tried this with this type of pen (it does work with the larger nibbed type)
Always wash out with water immediately after use, even if only leaving it for a couple of minutes to get a cup of tea or similar.
If you get a duff pen you will find it tends to give you a blob when it first touches the surface - close examination with a high powered lenz and various attempts to 'adjust' the nibs have all failed, the first one I got worked perfectly which is why I persevered.
I use an eye dropper to transfer some ink to a home made ink well (a thimble glued to the centre of a plastic jar lid) then add water to that. This is just deep enough to fill the nib. Using the bottle proved less satisfactory as the dipping through the top got ink on the stem, thence onto fingers and thence onto the model. Also you end up with dried ink on the bottle which makes closing it more difficult.
Note shake the bottle to mix it before opening, after one unfortunate incident with black ink I hold some tissue over the top when doing this.
My signwriting is crap but for quite a while there were no transfers available in N so I tried this method and now I find it is good enough for my (admittedly rather slapdash) standards. If you get RM mag the models I made for Tickling (other than the milk van) were all lettered in this way, there might have been a couple that used transfers but no more than a couple.