Thursday, March 28, 2013

Making a Silk Purse Out of a Sows Ear or How to Prepair an Ancient Resin Garage Kit

I was approached last fall by a fellow member of my local IPMS chapter to finish and paint an old Vampirella garage kit from the early '90's.
I agreed, but my fears were proven to be too true.
First off, I was told the model was "started" by a fellow member of the club but he didn't get the model finished. Ok, I viewed the model and it was assembled and in the familiar to me early vintage resin in a translucent caramel color. So this dated the kit for me and I could see that the model had hundreds of sub surface air bubbles, yuck. Also the model had major mold slippage. There was at some
point somewhere between 1mm to 1.5mm mis-
registered mold halves, especially along the legs and arms. This is still a lot of work on a large scale model. A lot of anatomy has been ground away and needed to be built back up. There are two ways in my mind to fix this problem, one try to find a mid point to fill up too between the two sides or I have seen modelers grind all of the way down to the base point and rebuild. In my case the model was the latter, not the former. Also at the part joins the model was ground away to make a shallow "V" so
the filler can be feathered. The model had only a few spots filled and a lot of very rough motor tool grinding marks at every seam. It looked really ugly and the person who commissioned me was hot under the collar about how it looked and that it was "ruined". I tried to explain what was done and that you are seeing it at probably the worst point in the prep process. So I have started the arduous process of sanding, filling, priming, rinse wash and repeat
over the past few months. I do not have a lot of free
time to model so when I do I try to really hustle to get the job done. I used Avy's Epoxy Sculpt as the main filler and Citadel's "Liquid Green Stuff" and many sanding sticks. Over the Holidays I was really able to get the bulk work done and in late February I was able to get it relatively under control. The problems I encountered were many fold. The sub surface air bubbles mean that the kit was cast without the aid of a vacuum or pressure to make a clean casting. Any sanding or filing caused the bubbles to show thru the surface and give Vampirella the look of acne scares. The anatomy in many places are really not as good as what it should have been since I did not have the orginal model to take reference photos to ensure I do not loose the contours. I just had to wing it. You can see from the photos that over 30% of the surface has putty on it. with the old resin there are many hazards in trying to work with it, it is brittle and can break easily. It is dense and heavy and tiresome to hold while sanding. I always wet sand resin whenever possible to keep the dust down as well! This is the stage of the model back on 12-29-12. The next installment will show how the model looks with its first and second coat of primer.

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