Everything you always wanted to know about building resin models

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  • By Artitec
Everything you always wanted to know about building resin models

Artitec kits are made from resin. Resin has a high degree of detailing which ensures that bricks, nail holes, wood grain, and hinges etc. are all exactly to scale. Another characteristic is that the components are unpainted. This is an essential part of the construction process.


Kits from Artitec are characterised by:

- A high degree of detailing which ensures that bricks, nail holes, wood grain and hinges are all exactly to scale.

- Realistic effects such as skew roof tiles, sagging roofs, cracked walls etc.

- Fewer parts, which saves time, has the advantage that tiny details no longer need be mounted separately.

A possible drawback of the Artitec system is that the reverse side of the components are not treated during manufacture, so that there are no notches or other aids to facilitate assembly. Consequently it is necessary to fit the pieces together with a good deal of precision before finally glueing them into place. After some practice and with a few tips this presents no problems.

Another characteristic is that the components are unpainted. This is an essential part of the construction process which will give much pleasure. If you follow our instructions closely and practice a little, you will quickly achieve good results.


Tools and materials
It is recommended that you have the following tools and materials: scalpels to be fitted with Swann Morton or X-acto blades, sandpaper in grains 80 or 100, and 220 or 240 and a set of model maker's files, instant modelling glue (cyanoacrylate), model-maker's "putty" or "filler" from Revell or Tamiya, adhesive tape and scissors.

Stage 1.
Empty the contents of the box onto a table. These will comprise a number of resin components, possibly a piece of styrene and a series of etched metal parts. Check that all the components are there.

Stage 2.
Free the components from the moulding. Where the moulding is too thick to be snapped free, sand the reverse with 80 or 100 grain sandpaper. The reverse side must be sanded in such a way that the moulding falls out of the window spaces and the 'ragged edge' is smoothed away — this is the edge left by the removal of the moulding.

Do not exert too much pressure while sanding as this will leave uneven areas. Ensure that the sheet of sandpaper lies flat without wrinkles. Remember to wear a dust-mask or use water and "waterproof" sandpaper. The back of the parts should then be sanded in circular movements.

Stage 3.
Follow the assembly diagram. First join the pieces together without using glue and adjust the fit to rectify any possible problems. Lightly sanding adjacent edges with 220 or 240 grain paper improves glued joints.

Light sanding here means simply removing the surface gloss from a piece — anything further will adversely affect the fit. When everything fits well, glue the joint by thinly smearing the whole contact surface with instant glue.

Note: if a part has been warped, it can be bent back into shape in hot (nearly boiling) water!

Small gaps can be sealed with modeller's putty. You are advised to be very thorough in filling such gaps at this stage — once the model is painted it will no longer be possible to seal them.

In constructing a building, extra care is needed in fitting the roof. Here too, a trial run should be made without using glue. Adhesive tape is a useful aid for this "dry" run. After the halves of the roof have been taped in place and it has been established that they fit, remove one of the halves: make sure that the other half remains firmly in position.

The half that has been removed should be prepared with glue and put back in position. Obviously the ridge of the roof should not be glued to the other half at this stage. Now remove the second half, prepare it with glue, and return it to its position. Finally chimneys, other details and any etched metal parts can be attached.

The model should first be painted before the windows are installed.


Painting can make or break a model. Some basic instructions and several tips on artificially ageing the paintwork are outlined below.

Paint and materials
You will need: paint, terpentine, paint brushes, a multiplex board and an old cloth. An airbrush is not necessary.

Never use gloss paints, only matt. In scale, gloss surfaces always appear matt and in reality the paintwork will always be covered with a thin layer of dirt and dust. We advise you to use Revell or Humbroll paints. However, while the manufacturers of these paints instruct you to stir the contents thoroughly before use, we recommend that you ignore this advice and proceed as follows: take a small stick and retrieve a clot of paint from the bottom of the tin and then smear this on the multiplex board. Try as much as possible to avoid mixing the oil — which mostly rises to the top of the tin in a clearly visible layer — with the actual paint. This oil is mainly responsible for giving matt paint a glossy appearance. Now thin the thick paint clot by adding terpentine with a thin brush.

Using the same brush, mix the paint until it is creamy and smooth. The paint is the right thickness when it gives a good coat and spreads well. Determining the precise thickness is always a matter of experiment. It is sensible to practice all these instructions on an old "practice" model. Painting is not difficult but you must get a feel for it.

The paint board
The board has two functions: firstly it soaks up any oil still present in the paint, and secondly it serves as a mixing palette. Use the same board for as long as possible as the presence of old dried up paint improves its performance.

The brushes
Brushes are perhaps the most important element in producing good paintwork. Never use a worn-out brush as you will inevitably botch your work. A good brush isn't necessarily an expensive brush: it is the shape that is important.

When the hairs of the brush will no longer come to a point it is time to change the brush. After use, clean the brush with terpentine, then soap and finally smear it with vaseline. This will keep your brushes in good condition for a long time. Twist the vaselined hairs of the brush between your fingers into a point.

Painting the model
The largest surfaces should be painted first — for houses these will for the most part be the walls and roofs, and for ships the hull and the deck. For these larger surfaces use a bigger brush. The larger the brush, the fewer strokes and consequently, the less 'streaky' the paintwork will be in appearance. Golden rule: always use the largest possible brush appropriate for the work. When the surfaces have been painted, it is recommended that they be left for two days to harden.

Ageing the model
After the paint on the model has hardened the ageing process can begin. These instructions detail just three ageing techniques, while many dozens of techniques and variations thereof exist. However, with these three basic methods you will be able to achieve results which are vastly superior to those of the pre-coloured modelling kits.

Many factors play a role in influencing the way in which you choose to age a model: its condition of upkeep, its age etcetera. If you examine real life examples you will observe certain regularities in the patterns of ageing. You will also see that there are many forms of pollution and that, for example, old and new walls have very different textures. If a wall has been whitewashed, then it is the age of the whitewash - rather than the wall itself - that is the main factor determining its appearance.

1: The dry-brush technique
Take a largish old paint brush and cut the hairs back so that 5 mm of bristle remains. This will give you a stiffer brush. Then take a clot of, for example, white paint from the tin and dab the ends of the prepared brush in the unthinned paint. The brush must be completely dry. Then brush the paintbrush against the board until it is virtually dry. Now lightly brush over the irregularities of the model. This should leave white traces on the irregularities. If the model becomes dotted with flecks of white, then the brush is too wet; if no traces of white remain, the brush is too dry.

Here too it is recommended that you first try this technique on a trial surface. If it goes wrong on the model itself you can remove the white flecks with terpentine. Now the importance of leaving the paint to harden becomes apparent! Do not delay too long before attempting to remove paint flecks and do not rub your brush or cloth too long over the underlying paint layer, as this will eventually dissolve. As the traces become more faded you will have to apply fresh paint to your brush and repeat the procedure described above. After you have practised this technique for a while you will see that you can achieve good results.

The dry-brush work should be left to dry for around one hour.

2: The dirty terpentine technique
Take a large brush with normal bristles and wet it with terpentine. Dip the tips of the brush hairs briefly into some, for example, green paint and subsequently mix the substance on the board. Then quickly dip the brush - now covered in green paint solution - back into the terpentine before brushing the entire surface area to be treated with the dirty terpentine in a single, broad stroke. The entire area should be wet. Do not brush over the the wall area too often, as this will dissolve the dry-brush traces. The terpentine flows into and over the details, as it were, leaving a greenish deposit resembling algae as it dries. If you have used matt paint then the coating will also be matt. If the dirty terpentine leaves a gloss stain then you can wet the affected parts with terpentine before dabbing them dry with a dry cloth. Once again, it is advisable to first try out this technique on a practice model.

The drying time for the dirty terpentine technique is approximately one hour.

3: The stippling technique
This method is specially intended for whitewashed and rough-plastered walls. Stippling is applied over the top of the desired base colour with which the walls have already been painted. Dip the large brush you used for dry-brushing in unthinned paint (usually white or cement coloured) and hold the paint brush at right-angles to the object. Using the tips of the bristles you can then stipple the whole surface of the wall.

If details which need to be painted a different colour are obscured by the stippling process you can remove the paint with a brush that has been moistened with terpentine.

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