Moving Forward: “THAT” Gans Thing…

… Plus a little "Resin Kit 101"

Well, last night I didn’t touch the Fliege, but did make some important progress on that garage kit I’ve been wanting to do: the "Wannabe Gans". Just a quick refresher: This is a pretty simple (yet large) resin kit that was released by "THAT" at WonderFest in Japan last year. Many thanks to the I.H.Y.S.C.
When we last looked in on our intrepid model, it was soaking in "Purple Power" degreaser. And some quick Resin Kit 101 for those of you that may be new to resin (like me–this is my first full-blown resin kit). As you may or may not know, resin kits are reproduced in molds. In order to ease the pieces out of the mold once the resin has hardened, the molds are coated with a mold release (usually sprayed directly on the mold itself, I believe). Well, the mold release tends to stick to the resin and creates difficulties for adhering paint to it. While there’s a number of solutions out there, the most effective (and common) one I’ve heard is to soak all the resin in Purple Power for 24-48 hours. Afterwards, I soaked the pieces in the sink with a little bit of dishwashing solution and scrubbed them with an old toothbrush. The end result is that there’s no trace of that previously oily feel to the resin pieces.
Once the pieces had dried, it was time for the next part of the assembly: pinning the kit. A little more Resin Kit 101 here… Unlike a traditional plastic model, there’s no alignment pegs to slide pieces together. And they certainly don’t take well to your normal plastic/styrene adhesives. So what you need to do with the parts of a resin kit is pin them together: Drill corresponding holes into both parts–where they meet–and insert a metal rod to hold the pieces together. And then you can glue them. Or not. You would with a figure kit, but with this thing, I’m not going to be gluing all the pin joints together simply to aid with having to move or store the kit down the road. With smaller kits, like figures, you usually just put one pin between pieces. Because of the nature of this kit, I actually have two pins between most pieces. This will help strengthen those joints. Besides, it’s a big kit with itty-bitty legs and a high center of gravity. A little precaution won’t hurt here. Oh, and the pins I used were mostly 1/16" copper rod, with a couple instances of 1/8" aluminum rod–because these were the materials I had on-hand.

EDIT: A note about pin alignment… I’m not sure how everyone else does it, but what I did was drill a hole (or two) in one resin piece, stick a piece of 1/16" styrene rod in it, cut the rod so it’s sticking out of the hole about 3/16", and rub a Sharpie (permanent) marker on the tip. Then I pushed the two parts together–aligned as best I could–and the un-drilled part now has a nice black mark to indicate where to drill. From there, I just remove the styrene rod with the help of some needle nose pliers, drill the hole(s) in the other part, and insert metal pins. That’s it.

Cleaning and pinning the kit killed most of my modeling time for the evening, but I’ll go ahead and talk briefly about what’s up next for this kit. When I get back to it, the next step will be to clean up the many imperfections in this kit. For the most part, this is a matter of filling bubbles (small areas of parts where actual air bubbles made it into the mold as the resin hardened). There’s also a few seam lines, as it looks like they mostly used two-part molds on these parts. Finally, I need to finish cleaning up the pour stubs–which are the little nubs that indicate where the resin was actually poured into the mold. In terms of the quality of the kit, some kits I’ve seen have none of these issues, while others have more. I’m not especially disappointed with the quality of this particular kit. In terms of price vs. size, you more than get what you pay for. As I’ve said before, it’s a decent-sized kit with a lot of resin. And it was very cheap.
Most importantly, it’s the original kit from the original kit maker. Another problem you face with resin kits is the shady "recast" market. Because resin kits are usually produced in runs of 50 or less. Thus, some kits are pretty darned rare. Recasters step in by taking one of these resin kits, making their own molds from it, and re-casting their own kits to sell. They’re also usually an inferior quality and heavily discounted price. It’s the model kit equivalent of plagiarizing a book or selling pirated DVD’s. While on the one hand, it gives more people a chance to own a particular kit, it also cuts the original artist(s) out of the deal–so they see no return on their investment of time, resources, and money from their creation once it’s been recasted.
There’s two sides to the recast argument. On the one side, it’s basically stealing someone else’s work–for profit. On the other side, resin kits are often produced in batches of 25 or 30 kits. And that’s it–forever. So recasts give more folks a chance to experience the kit. It’s a tricky question. I suppose my basic stance is that I’m against recasts if the original product is either still available or will be available in the future. Beyond that, it’s a little less clear. And, for the record (because someone’s always watching) I do not own any recast resin kits myself.
Tune in next time, when I work on a model and write about it. Yeah.

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