It’s all about the plastic…

This month the Sprue Cutter’s Union over at The Combat Workshop asks  “What are you’re imperatives?”

SCU October 2015

“…We all get lazy at times but let’s face it, there are areas of this hobby that modelers cannot get skimpy. Whether it’s a part of the assembly process, a finishing technique, or a particular tool, what do you think are the essential aspects you cannot afford to cut corners on during a build? What are your imperatives?”

For me there are many imperatives in building a model, each stage of the process is something that needs to be done properly whether it’s construction, preparation, painting or finishing – everything adds up to form the finished article. Skimp on any one of those and you run the risk that all those hours of work and attention to detail will leave you with a build where you’re left wishing you’d done things a bit differently.

But if I had to pick one area where I spend more time than any other it’d have to be prepping the plastic…

8Yep, good old sanding and fettling.

The way I see it is the better you get your plastic, the better the finished model will look.

Nothing ruins the scale effect of a model more than a dirty great seam line running down the top of the fuselage. Except perhaps a dirty great seam line running across the leading edges of the wings. Or a mis-scribed panel line where you slipped with the scribing tool and overshot the mark. Or sink marks that you swore weren’t there before you applied the paint. In fact any manner of plastic related skives can return to haunt you when the model is finished – and at that point there is nothing much you can do about it.

One thing that a lot of the pro-modellers that I admire seem to have in common is that their plastic prep is immaculate. Even before they apply a coat of primer, their kits could win awards. Seams are all filled and sanded, re-scribing is accurate and neat with no over-runs, riveting is clean and tidy and not a sanding scratch in sight.

Now, I don’t aspire to exhibit OCD when is comes to prepping the plastic, but my approach is that as long as I can see a problem with the plastic (a seam line, a dent, a sink mark, ejector pin mark etc…), it means I still have more work to do.

frankThere are those times – such as this evening when I had been working on a kit for a couple of hours and my attention span started to waver…

I cocked up a few panel line re-scribes (too impatient to properly set myself up for the scribe), and thought “Hmmm… That’ll be alright”… “If I rub some spit into it, no-one will notice”… “I’ll give it an extra squirt of paint to cover it up.”… “I’ll weather over that bit later.”… “Maybe I could stage a fire…”…

But in the end I knew that the proper thing to do is walk away from it, come and write a blog post such as this, and tomorrow with renewed enthusiasm I’ll actually take care of those minor cock-ups and they won’t come back to haunt me at the end.


That’s not to say that I won’t succumb to another form of cock-up such as knocking a bottle of thinners over the finished model, but that would be typical, not an imperative.

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I write this blog for fun, to share what I've learned, and to share my builds with you. If you like what you see here please leave a comment, and head over to facebook and like my page!

Cheers - Rich

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