BUILDING RESIN MODELS
! CAUTION! Resin model kits are NOT TOYS. Assembly requires the use of sharp hobby knives, glues, and paints, which can be harmful if used improperly. Exercise extreme caution when using hobby knives – change blades often, and always cut with the blade facing AWAY from yourself. Use all paints, glues, and accelerators in a well-ventilated area-- and always be sure to read labels for manufacturer’s warnings before use. This type of hobby work is NOT recommended for children under 12 without an adult’s close supervision.
Step 0: CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS
You WILL NEED the following:
- Hobby knife (Excel or X-Acto brand with a #11 blade)
- "Wet" Sandpaper in different grits (320, 600 and 1000 are good)
- Cyanoacrylate (Super Glue, Krazy Glue)
- Putty (Squadron Green, Tamiya, or 2-part epoxy putty such as Kneadatite "Green Stuff")
- An old toothbrush
- Sandable Spray Primer (Krylon, PlastiCote, or Specialty Figure Primer)
You will probably WANT want the following:
- Hobby cutting pliers (flush cutting for better control)
- 1/16" to 1/8" brass rod
- Jewelers saw
- Jeweler's files
- Steel wool (or synthetic steel wool)
Step 1: SCRUB IT OUT!
Wash all resin kit parts with dish detergent to remove dirt and mold–release residues. This will help paints, glues, and putty stick to the resin better. Be sure to use plenty of soap, scrubbing with an old toothbrush. How will you know if you've done a good job? Rub your finger firmly across the wet resin, it should "squeak" on your finger, not slide easily.
Step 2: JUST A TRIM OFF THE TOP...
Trim away the extra flaps of resin (called “sprues”) from each part. Thinner ones can be cut with a hobby knife blade, while the thicker ones may require a hobby saw or cutting pliers. Be careful not to cut into the actual part! For the best results, never cut the sprue flush with the part on the first cut! It might sound strange, but a sprue nub is much easier to cut cleanly than a longer one.
Step 3: GET IN SHAPE!
If a thin resin part is warped or bent, heat the part in hot water or with a hairdryer. The part will become flexible. Gently re-shape the part while it cools, and it will keep its new shape. If a flat part is warped (such as a sword, wing, or a thin base), lay it on a flat board or tile and press it gently with a pot-holder while it cools. Take care to avoid burning yourself... or the part! And of course keep the hairdryer away from water!
Step 4: BUBBLE BUSTING!
Inspect each part for air bubbles. If any are found, open them up with the tip of your hobby knife and fill with putty (try Green Stuff, Pro-Create Gray, Magic-Sculpt or Squadron Green). Do the same for any deep seams, or other imperfections you might find.
If you find a pointy part with a bubble right at the tip, take the point of your hobby knife and twist it into the tip of the resin part a bit. This will give a little more interlock for filling. Then use either a bit of epoxy putty, or even a tiny drop of thick super glue (and kicker) to replace the lost tip. You may want to rebuild just a tad larger than you need, then sand it down to shape after it hardens. If your new putty point pops off (don't worry, it happens), just glue it back on and you should be good to go.
Step 5: EASIER THAN IT SEAMS!
Locate the seam lines along the part, which are the normal evidence of the casting process. Some seams can be lightly scraped away with just the edge of the hobby knife, or even a fingernail. Others may require sanding. Using a medium grit of special “wet” sanding paper (which won't clog up as fast as the normal kind), carefully work away the seam lines, sprue marks, and putty bumps. Then change to finer and then super-fine grit for a smooth finish. Try a 320, then a 600, and then 1000 for the final sand. Also, be sure not to sand away details, round off sharp edges, or flatten rounded parts.
Occasionally you may find a part with poor "registration". This happens if the mold halves weren't aligned well during casting. The seam will have the appearance of a "lip" or "stair-step" To fix this, try the "notch-out" tecnhique. Carefully use the hobby knife to cut out the bad seam, replacing it with a v-shaped trench. This will help putty to stick better, and help "average out" the height of the two surfaces. A 1/8"-wide trench is a good average, but it could be wider or narrower, depending on the seam. Fill the trench with putty-- paste putty is fine for smooth surfaces, but if there is detail to replace, use a sculptable epoxy putty. Then sculpt or sand the putty into shape... and you'd never even know that big lip was there.
Step 6: ARTIMUS PRIME!
Give the kit a coat of gray or white primer to reveal any final blemishes. Use a sandable auto primer, or better yet, a special figure model primer available at most hobby and game stores.
Step 7: STICK IT TO THE MAN!
Carefully test – fit parts before gluing to ensure correct assembly. Use a cyanocrylate, or “super” glue. When the part is glued in place, you may use a super-glue accelerator to cure it instantly. Use putty to fill any gaps between the parts.
Step 8: CALL FOR REINFORCEMENTS!
Some parts which are larger or weight supporting may need to be reinforced with a metal or plastic rod ( 1/16" to 1/8" are recommended ). Before gluing, use a drill or pin-vise to make matching holes in the two parts along the surface where they will be joined. Then insert the rod into one hole and fit the parts together. The pin should line up between the holes and anchor the part securely.
If you have trouble lining up the pins, you can drill out the hole on one side larger than the pin, partially fill it with glue or epoxy putty, then squish-fit the part with the pin into the side with the larger hole. Allow the putty to cure before handling the part further. Also, some parts may be better to paint before assembly. A little planning can save a LOT of time later on.