Thursday, 26 September 2013

Quick tips on working with resin model kits

Some miniature brands carried by Shire Works, namely Ax Faction and Nocturna Models, are purely resin model kits which require preparation and assembly before they can be primed and painted. Below are some quick basic tips on preparing the resin for paint.

Basic tools
Available in most local hobby stores or hardware shops, the basic tools that you will need to begin working with resin models are clippers, hobby knife, fine grain emery boards (or abrasive papers) and super glue.   

Safety precautions
Because resin dust particles may act as an irritant to your lungs, the use a dust or face mask when working with resin model kits is recommended.

Removing resin parts from the sprue
As with most model kits, a majority of the resin parts come attached to a sprue so the first step would be to remove the said parts using clippers. When doing so, it is perhaps best not to cut too close to the part in question. Cutting too close to the part with clippers can sometimes cause accidental damage. Also leaving a bit of the sprue on the part to be worked on by finer tools such as hobby files and emery boards allows you greater control when removing the rest of the sprue.

Removing a resin part from the sprue

Once the part has been removed from the sprue, first use the clippers to cut away as much of the remaining sprue as you can. Subsequently, smooth out what remains with a hobby file. If the part is delicate, you can replace the hobby file with a fine grain emery board. 

Using clippers to cut as close as possible to the part
Further smoothing out using a hobby file

Removing mould lines
One by-product of a resin model kit's casting process are mould lines around some of the parts. The mould lines are easily removed by scrapping a hobby knife gently and carefully over them. Any imperfections left over from the mould lines removal process can be easily rectified by smoothing the surface with a fine emery board. However, such imperfections are also easily covered up when you spray the model with an undercoat or primer.   

Using a hobby knife to remove mould lines from a resin part

Removing flash
Occasionally, you may also find some flash - a thin membrane of resin that is also a by-product of the casting process. This are very easily removed using a hobby knife.   

Removing flash with a hobby knife

In some instances, resin model kits may contain parts that have warped slightly. One key advantage to using a resin kit is that it can be warmed up and reshaped slightly. As such warping can be rectified by blasting the warped part with hot air from a hair dryer for about 5 to 10 seconds or more. This allows the part to be straightened and held in place until it cools and hardens again, which is about another 5-10 seconds or more. Be careful not to bend the parts too much to prevent breakage.

A warped resin part - shape is slightly bent

Once you have cleaned up the resin model kit by removing the mould lines and flash, there is yet another casting by-product to be removed i.e. the release agent used by manufacturers to remove the resin castings from their mould. Such agents can prevent paint from adhering well to the resin parts. To ensure proper removal of any such release agent that may still be present, the resin parts should be washed using soapy water and scrubbed carefully with an old toothbrush with soft bristles.

Washing the resin part with some dish soap and an old toothbrush

Gluing the resin model kit
For the final stage, the resin parts are glued together using superglue. Do not use plastic glue as it will not work on resin parts and will only result in a gooey mess.

Nocturna Models Freya - Assembled and ready for priming and paint
Ax Faction Giant Hunter - Assembled and ready for priming and paint

Well that's it for this basic guide on working with your resin model kits. Have fun!

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