Hobby FAQ

Common questions about working with resin items

What type of glue should I use with resin?

When assembling your models you will want to use a cyanoacrylate based glue such as Super Glue or Krazy Glue brands.

Standard model glue such as Testors or GW is designed to melt and weld plastics at the connection point and is formulatedd to work specifically with polystyrene plastics of so it won't bond to resin. Cyanoacrylate type super glue works by holding the surfaces together rather than fusing them, so it works well for building models that are made from mutiple materials. 

Please use caution when using super glues as they are very strong and even a tiny amount of overspill can result in fingers being stuck together or getting stuck to the parts. 

Some people prefer to use supe glue gels as it's easier to control. The downside to the gel formulas is that they go on much thicker so it often leaves excess glue around the connection (in the form of a crust) which may be noticable after painting. It can also "frost" more easily than a thin coating. If the glue is applied in large amounts when it dries it often gives off a fine vapor which can leave a slight texture behind which will have a white whispy frost type look around the areas where the glue was applied. 

Because it works by bonding the surfaces together super glue will form a slightly weaker bond than welding type glues so take care when handling the models. They should hold up well for gameplay but you may find that a piece pops off once in a while, this rarely damages the part but it may need to be reglued. The bond can also be weakened by cold, which can sometimes help you take parts off. If needed you can place a superglued model in the freezer for a few hours and the parts can usually be removed a lot easier. 

I personally use Krazy Glue brand for my models and I get the standard formula that has a plastic tube with a narrow tipped applicator and stopper pin. I find that it is much easier to control than other glues that come in a flattening type squeeze tube, also it seals up better so it can be used over an extended period where most other tube types tend to dry out much faster once they've been opened. You can use pretty much any brand of super glue, but the Krazy Glue version shown below is the one I've had the best working experiences with. 

 

 

 

How do I fixed warped or bent resin?

The type of resin used for hobby models is usually susceptible to heat which will cause it to soften, or in extreme cases melt. If it's been exposed to heat it can cause the resin to droop, warp, or bend depending on the weight and how it's stored. Fortunately it can be usually be fixed without too much effort.

To straighten a warped part heat up a cup of water until it's hot enough to make tea or hot chocolate, you want it to be hot but not boiling. Place the part in the water for about 15-30 seconds and it should soften. Make sure to use a pair of tweezers or some sort of tongs to hold the part so that you don't burn your fingers. Be careful removing it so that you don't squeeze it too hard or put too much force on it as it could cause the material to compress. 

The resin should now be soft enough to bend without needing to apply much force, gently bend the piece back into it's proper posistion then place it in a cup of cool water. Once it's cooled it'd return back to it's regular hardened state. This process can be repeated so if it's still not right you can reheat it and try again.  

Make sure not to store your models in hot areas or in direct sunlight as the heat can cause them to warp and on heavier items it can weaken them enough to cause the parts to break. Also avoid using heat lamps, heat guns, or hair dryers on your models, they tend to heat surfaces very fast and unevenly which can cause parts to warp or curl. 

You can also use this hot water technique to let you bend and contour certain parts into new positions. If you have something like a long thin ammo belt or a model using a whip it allows you to soften the piece and bend it into the desired shape to create a more dynamic look, just take care not to put too much force on it while it's being manipulated as it can cause the part to compress or flatten which cannot be fixed by simple reheating. 

 

 

How should I clean resin parts and models?

Most resin products will need a light cleaning before you paint them. You should wash your models in soapy water with a mild dish soap solution. (such as Palmolive or Dawn) Use an old tooth brush to gently scrub the model so that you can get into all the small cracks and recessed areas. Afterwards rinse the model in cool water and let it air dry. This will help remove any left over oils or mold release agents which if left on the model can prevent paint from sticking properly. 

Do not place resin models under a heat lamp or use a hair dryer as the heat can damage the resin. 

Avoid harsh cleaners as they can damage the resin material. Do not soak the models in acetone or rubbing alcohol, they can be used to clean a model provide it's done quickly and then rinsed immediately afterwards but if they are soaked for an extended period of time it may cause the resin to soften, melt, or end up with a pitted surface. While some people have sucessfully used dilluted mixes of acetone or alcohol to clean their models we do not suggest using them as cleaners without testing them first on a spare part, as there is a chance it may damage the model.

 

 

What type of paint should I use?

First make sure that you have washed the model before applying paint, failure to remove the oils or release agents can cause the paint to bead up on the surface, or cause streaks in the paint. If the model wasn't cleaned prior to painting you may notice that the paint chips of flakes off easier. So it's always suggested that you clean your models prior to painting.

Enamel based paints (testors) and acrylic based paints (GW & Vallejo) will work on hobby resins without any problems. It is suggested that you use a primer to help the paint bond to the surface, either a spray on primer like Rustoleum, or an airbrush primer. Tamiya or Mr Surfacer work well and there are several brands of automotive primers are inexpensive and go on very thin.  

You can also paint on a layer of primer by hand if you prefer.

When appling primer or paint make sure you use as light of a coat as possible, you can always apply more if you think the primer layer is too light and it's better to do multiple thin coats if needed. Applying too heavy of a coat is very difficult to fix and it can flood the details on the model.

 

 

Safety Precautions

Don't eat resin, like any other form of plastic it's probably not good for you for you to ingest. You also want to keep it out of reach of small children who might try to eat it or could end up choking on it.

Scraping or sanding the resin may produce small amounts of dust, while the resin is non-toxic and non-carcinogenic inhaling the dust can cause brething difficulties so wearing a work mask is a good idea. With any form of dust you want to keep it out of your eyes. Proper eye protection is always recommended.

Working with resin models is pretty straight forward but there are some other general safety precautions you should take.

Be careful with your glue, anyone that has worked with super glue has at some point gotten their fingers stuck together or to the parts they are handling. In most cases it's a midly annoying and uncomfortable experience, in more extreme cases it could require a trip to the hospital to get them apart. Volume control is essential, not only will it help prevent stuck fingers but it'll also help avoid excess amounts of glue on the model and help avoid leaving behind strings of glue on the surface or fingerprint impressions. Don't work too closely to the glue as the fumes and vapors can get in your eye which stings quite badly and in extreme cases could blind you. Make sure your hobby space is well ventilated when using any sort of glues or paint.

When cutting be careful, hobby knives are very sharp and resin will have move "give" than what you are used to from polysturene, it's much easier to cut through and you may find that your knife suddenly pops through it much faster than when working with plastic. Until you are used to working with it use less pressure and go at it gently until you develope a feel for how much resistance it provides. The same applies when drilling through resin, be very careful when applying pressure to the drill as it may suddenly pierce through the part with more force than expected. Make sure you have a cutting mat down to avoid damaging your table or work area.

Use eye protection, little flakes of resin, plastic, glue, or dust can cause a lot of eye irritation, or eye damage in extreme cases. Most of the time it's a non issue but sometimes you can't control where they going flying off to and you don't want that to be in your eye.

A dremmel tool can be an amazing asset for your workbench but always make sure to use safety glasses when using one, they are deceptively powerful. Parts can become lodged on the dremmel bit or go flying off at incredible speeds which can put your eyes at risk and easily blind you. Dremmel bits have also been known to shatter during use so always make sure to have safety glasses on when using one.