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Questions & Advice

Injection molded kit?

    Most of the plastic kits you built in the past would have been injection-molded plastic kits. Parts are made in plastic and are attached to a sprue (frame) from which they are removed and assembled according to detailed instructions. Plastic parts are assembled using a plastic glue such as tube glue, liquid cements, super glue and some epoxies.

A Resin Kit ?

    Resin kits are made from liquid resins poured into rubber molds. After the resin sets in a few minutes, the molds are separated to release the parts. Resin molds can cost thousands of dollars less than plastic kit molds which are made of steel. The rubber molds do not last as long as the steel molds so most resin kits are made in limited numbers. However the resin kits are usually made of items that are not produced in plastic. There can be a very wide range of resin kits produced compared to plastic kits. The resin kits can be expensive depending on the model and number of parts.

Photo Etched ?

    Photo Etched parts and/or kits are made from brass material which can be used for very fine detail parts like small weapons, tools, and railings on ships. Resin and plastic cannot achieve so small and fine of detail as brass. Photo etched can also be bent easily in cases where it is a hard fit. You do need to use a "super glue" type of adhesive to adhere the photo etched parts to your model.

Dry Brushing ?

    Dry Brushing is a method used to accentuate the high points on the surface of a model and create "depth" to certain areas of your model. First you dip your flat brush into the highlight color paint, then you wipe off most of the paint from the brush onto a rag. The remaining "dry" color on the brush is wiped onto the raised details on the model, highlighting them.

Wash ?

    An application of a thin dark color such as black or dark shades of brown, to highlight the deep corners and recesses on a models surface. As the "wash" dries the dark color settles into the cracks, crevice's and any low lying areas to add shadows and more detail to stand out.

 Weathering ?

    Using paint washes to simulate use, wear & tear,  combat and the effects of weather on a model. You can use thinned paint washes, dry brushing, airbrushing or pastels to get the effects you want. Damage from misuse or combat can be made using other tools such as drills, knives and grinders.

Applying Water Slide Decals ?

    A great way to get perfect insignias, logos, lettering, or unit markings onto your models is using water slide transfers (Decals). They are simple to use  and can add the finishing touches to your model.

    Before applying the decal the surface of the model must be prepared. Brush the area that will receive the decal with some type of gloss finish such as MicroScale's Micro Gloss, MI-4, a gloss clear paint or gloss varnish . This gloss coat gives us a smooth surface to work with, preventing air bubbles from getting trapped under the decal. A glossy surface is the most important and easiest step towards good looking decals!

    Begin by cutting out the decal. Always use a hobby knife and fresh blade to cut around the decal. Cut as close to the printed area of the decal as possible.

     Fill any clean, shallow vessel with regular tap water.

     Using a pair of tweezers, hold the decal underwater for 10 seconds. Do not let the decal soak too long as the adhesive on the back of the decal can wash away and it will not adhere to your model. Give it a little shake to remove any air bubbles.

     Allow the decal to rest on some newspaper. The newspaper will absorb excess water and prevent the decal from floating off the paper prematurely. After about 30 seconds the decal will be ready for application. Test to see if it is ready by gently pushing the decal with a brush. If it moves from the paper, it's ready. If not, wait another 30 seconds.

     Decals have a shelf life of about 3 years. After a few years the glue holding the decal onto the paper breaks down, fusing decal and paper together. The decal can still be salvaged, but it may require an extended soak. Perhaps up to 5 minutes or longer, or you can try using MicroScale's Liquid Decal Film, MI-12, to help restore old decals.

     There are many decal solutions and "sets" on the market. We carry MicroScale products as well as Testors Model Master decal solutions. Basically, they are weak acids that dissolve the plastic film of the decal, allowing it to better form to the contours of the surface and/or obscure the edges of the decal. One important step to remember-- The area receiving the decal must be moist. Add a drop of water or decal solution to the surface of the model.

     Use tweezers to position the decal on the model. Using your other hand and a brush, hold the decal in place and pull the paper away. Remember; pull the paper from the decal. Do not push the decal off the paper. Once the decal is off the paper, use a brush to adjust it into the desired position. If you are having problems moving the decal add a bit more water. If you are still having difficulties pushing the decal into place with a brush, you can try pulling it into position using the tip of a sharp hobby knife. Be careful to avoid tearing the decal.

     With the decal in its proper position, wrap a cloth towel around a finger and gentle press on one side of the decal. Then roll your finger across to the other side of the decal. Do not rub! Rolling will prevent tearing and air bubbles form being trapped beneath the decal.

     After the decal dries for about 15 minutes take a dry brush and clean the surface of any decal or paper debris. Then seal the decal by applying a second coat of gloss varnish. When that is dry you then cover with a "dull coat" of clear flat or MicroScale's Micro Flat, MI-3, to blend in with the entire model. Bright and clean decals do not look natural on most models like military vehicles.

     Now you can finish off with a wash or by weathering your model to make it more realistic, especially military models.

Dry Transfer Decals ?

   Cut out the dry transfer decal that you would like to use. Place a small strip of tape to the back side edges and in between the actual decal. This creates a small "step" between the decal and the surface receiving the decal.

    Align the decal where it is to be placed and secure firmly with a strong piece of tape. This will prevent slippage.

    Lightly apply pressure with the tip of the rubdown tool . You can use a pencil, craft stick or a crochet needle (works real good). You will notice that the small step that the tape creates helps to unseat the decal from the carrier film. The entire carrier film is covered in adhesive and if you apply too much pressure it may lift paint directly off of the model surface. So only touching the area where the decal is key to successfully applying the decal

     After the entire decal is down, turn the carrier film over and lightly 'burnish' the decal down so as to ensure a uniform adhesion to the painted surface.

    When the model is stenciled and the markings are all on don't forget to apply a matt/gloss coating to
ensure a uniform coating and sealing of all the decal and markings! After it is completely dry, you can then coat it with a flat finish (military vehicles are not bright and clean) and weather or dry brush details on the model.

     You may find that dry transfers are easier to work with and appear to be more realistic than conventional decals when it comes to stencils (as there are no decal carrier film edges to deal with).