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THE Idiot's Guide to Kitbashing


WraithVerge

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Hey guys, got a project I'm working on where I'll have to build a head at some point..I can't find any places locally that sell Styrene, and I don't really want to order it just yet. I've read you can use CD cases in place, but it's a bit too thick for me to work with.

 

Is it possible to use those "Garage Sale"/"For Sale"/Etc. signs in place of Styrene, and just layer it up?

 

Aoi

I dunno if that would work, but I would think that it might not have the same structural integrity as regular sheet styrene.

My favorite alternatives to blank sheet styrene is CD cases (like you mentioned) and older junker model kits (Gundam, EVA, Patlabor, etc)...

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Hey guys, got a project I'm working on where I'll have to build a head at some point..I can't find any places locally that sell Styrene, and I don't really want to order it just yet. I've read you can use CD cases in place, but it's a bit too thick for me to work with.

 

Is it possible to use those "Garage Sale"/"For Sale"/Etc. signs in place of Styrene, and just layer it up?

 

Aoi

I dunno if that would work, but I would think that it might not have the same structural integrity as regular sheet styrene.

My favorite alternatives to blank sheet styrene is CD cases (like you mentioned) and older junker model kits (Gundam, EVA, Patlabor, etc)...

 

well, FG is right you can use the old models, but Ive hear that the for sale signs work acctually better than the styrene from a friend of mine. Its a cheap alternative to the styrene. But again, thats just what Ive heard.

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Thanks for the input guys. I've seen a place that sells the "For Sale"/"Garage Sale"/Etc signs that has 'im for about 33 cents apiece, so I'll pick up a couple sheets to play around with...and hold off on gluing anything down before I've made my decision(I might also drop by the dollar store and pick some of those thin CD cases, since that's probally be about the Max. thickness I would be willing to work with. )

 

Aoi

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  • 3 weeks later...

Exactly. Only use it for parts that are clear, like windows and canopies. I would look into ABS plastics as well, since most vcrs, game system cases and other electronic items are made of it. Try looking for junked electronic items and such. They're readily avcailable, and abs plastic is a bit more durable than styrene.

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I'll bet everyone's been waitiong for a new installation to this since...well... forever!

 

 

The Idiot's Guide to Kitbashing 10: Working with Transparent Plastics.

 

 

Ahhh...transparent plastic; this one gives everyone I know the willies, and then some. I've touched upon this on many of the previous installments (NO, NOT TOOTHPASTE AGAIN WV!!! FOR THE LOVE OF PRIMUS!!!), but not in the depth that I would really like to.

 

Working with transparent plastic is more than merely keeping scuffmarks off it and cracks out of it. Utilized correctly, it can add a special flair to your kitbash; when used wrong, look like the guest of honor at a 50 car pileup!!!

 

Right, to work then:

 

 

MATERIAL SPECIFICS:

 

Most of the clear plastics we use fall into one of 3 recognizable categories-

 

1) Styrene: this form is what we see in CD jewel cases and model kits. Very notorious for it's susceptibility to cracking, scuffing, melting by model glue, and just plain breakage. It's the easiest to mold using heat, but a royal pain just to try to glue in place!

 

It's weakness is due to the fact that the platric is "pure": that is , no colors, dyes or tints. because of this, it's crystal clear, but weak as all hell.

 

2) Plexiglas/Acrylates: this stuff is by far stronger, but a lot of work just to shape. It's harder, which is a plus. This hardness is also a detractor when using a dremel too. (not to mention the horrid smell it gives off when being cut or sanded with said dremel tool!)

 

3) "Soft" transparent plastics: this variety is the kind TF Cybertron Red alert's windshields and G1 toys' clear parts are made from( among others) NOt as susceptible to cracking, but once damaged, almost impossible to ever resurface (even with toothpaste!)

 

4) Resins/Epoxies: using chemicaly-created plastics to render transparent parts. works okay for translucent parts, will not usually render crystal-clear items.

 

In my kitbashes, I'll usually use one of the first two in constructing clear parts. Number three is just too much to even try considering, unless it composes an unremovable vital part of the 'bash.

 

TECHNIQUES:

 

1) Vaccu-forming: this process involves using a vaccuum table to force heated plastic into shape via suction. works well on convex items; concave items suffer greatly in the process. Namely used for aircraft canopies. The said vaccuum table can be expensive, but Finescale Modeller magazine had an article a few years back on how to build one from scratch for under 80 bucks.

 

2) "Heat and smash" : this involves heating a sheet of transparent plastic (usually styrene) until it's almost beginning to melt, then pulling it down ("smashing") over a convex mold. usefull for canopies and other such parts, but it wastes a lot of plastic.

 

3) Conventional molding: this involves usuing a highly-polished mold to cast the parts. unavailable to most modellers due to cost of molding and air-cleaning equipment.

 

For most of the Kitbashers here, I recommend the first two procedures; number three is just impractical on many levels, although a company at CultTVman.com called Don's Light and Magic (DLM) casts clear parts for star wars/star trek models. Additionally, infor on using resins and molds can be found at starshipmodeler.com, but I am not familiar with these processes.

 

 

At any rate, a few things to keep in mind when using these specific plastics:

 

1) Kid-Gloves: Especially with the styrene-based parts. Transparent parts, by their nature, show cracks, scratches, and imperfection far more readily than their solid counterparts. and in trhe same vein, they are much harder to repair. (although I am trying new techniques, will publish soon!) But in  hindsight, it is just far easier to be careful in the first place, and not rush a careful job just to get the project done early.

 

2) Test-fit and refit often: Even more so than "solids', clear plastics must fit as perfect as possible BEFORE final assembly. Once in, unless you can pull off a trick or two and hide the imperfections along the edge, a misshapen or damaged parts is extremely hard to "re-engineer" once it's attached permanently. it's just easier to keep test-fitting it and removing material in slight degrees: you can always remove more, but you can't add once it's gone!

 

3) Polsih, polish, polish: final polishing should be done after final assembly, during the pre-paint phase. After that, you shouldn't see the plastic again until you remove the masking. Anything other than that (unusual circumstances excluded), and you're asking for kitbashing grief.

 

Well, that's the low-down on this session: as always, any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to post them here! WV out!!!

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hello experts. Another complete noob here. I don't actually have any model building experience, so hopefully I don't completly butcher my alts.

 

First a few general questions.

1. My apartment is fairly humid. I that going to cause serious problems for any repaints I attempt? Or are there any additional steps I should take to ensure reasonable results?

2. Scratch and chip repair paint pens from the automotive department: Would the work well on plastic or are they only good for metal? Could they work well for detail painting? But I guess if you tried to do a whole alt with one, it'd end up looking like it was coloured with a marker.

3. Any suggestions for determining if another car body will fit over an alt for a reshell?

4. Are there many gued parts on most alts. Any tips for removing old, dried glue, before regluing the parts?

 

And a couple of specific questions.

1. Should I even worry about regluing the corvette exhasut pipes under the chest? Seems like it'll hold ok if I just jam it back in. Maybe add a bit of clear nail polish to the pegs.

2. What's holding the corvette dashboard in place? Is there another screw under the windshield flap?

3. Should I keep asking specific questions in this thread? Or make a new one and leave this for more general inquiries?

 

Thanks for all the great info in this thread. I wouldn't even be attempting a bash if this wasn't here.

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Hello experts. Another complete noob here. I don't actually have any model building experience, so hopefully I don't completly butcher my alts.

 

First a few general questions.

1. My apartment is fairly humid. I that going to cause serious problems for any repaints I attempt? Or are there any additional steps I should take to ensure reasonable results?

2. Scratch and chip repair paint pens from the automotive department: Would the work well on plastic or are they only good for metal? Could they work well for detail painting? But I guess if you tried to do a whole alt with one, it'd end up looking like it was coloured with a marker.

3. Any suggestions for determining if another car body will fit over an alt for a reshell?

4. Are there many gued parts on most alts. Any tips for removing old, dried glue, before regluing the parts?

 

And a couple of specific questions.

1. Should I even worry about regluing the corvette exhasut pipes under the chest? Seems like it'll hold ok if I just jam it back in. Maybe add a bit of clear nail polish to the pegs.

2. What's holding the corvette dashboard in place? Is there another screw under the windshield flap?

3. Should I keep asking specific questions in this thread? Or make a new one and leave this for more general inquiries?

 

Thanks for all the great info in this thread. I wouldn't even be attempting a bash if this wasn't here.

 

Okay, by the numbers Retread! :D,

 

1) Humidity CAN play a factor in paint application, especially if you're using clearcoat. I suggest an ac that removes humidity from the air (like the more recent ones out lately.) Barring that, wait until a nice sunny day and open the windows. This should also help in the ventillation.

 

2) Retouch markers are good for retouching, but trying to paint an entire one with a marker is going to look kinda cruddy, due to the inevitable streak marks.A lot of car parts ARE plastic nowadays, so I wouldn't worry too much about that (just in case, test on a scrap piece first for compatibility!); and detailling should be just fine as long as the paint won't run, sag or rub off. In any event, I suggest finding the small retouching spray cans of that color at a good automotive shop like autozone. most colors are to federal paint chip standards, so just record the name and number, and you should have no problems locating the right color.

 

3) For reshells, it can be a bit of guesswork. The method I use is making a copy of the instructions of the vehicle mode from a side view for both the alt and the donor shell. (both to scale!) That can solve a lot of problems. Also, general estimating about size and shape can help, but I'd be a bit more concerned about what will hapen to shell parts during the transform process. Planning is essential in this phase; proceed slowly and don't be afraid to measure and remeasure before cutting ANY plastic.

 

4) Glued parts? Not really to my knowledge, although that would largely depend upon the alternator in question. I would try working the part free before using any strong chemical removers. If that fails, start with good ol' rubbing alcohol, and work from there.

 

Now for specifics:

 

1)If it's something that is required for structural stability, glue it just in case. Parts often have a very nasty habit of popping off after a fall or other unforseen incident, and becoming lost forever. Then it turns out that piece just so happens to be the single most rarest, most coveted ebay-bound item in existence! :lol At any rate, just glue it and save yourself the grief.

 

2) Yes. The number one rule is that if you can't get it off or out, then it's a screw or pin that you can't easilly see. I'd take a closer look under that hood, but from experience, I think it's another screw.

 

3) Don't worry; just keep it here. This thread is for JUST this kind of thing, general or specific!

 

BTW, thanks for the compliment, but I can't take all (or even MOST) of the credit: a lot of dedicated folks have posted (and continue to post) valuable info and tips here. All the same thank you for the compliment! We certainly try our best here; so don't be afraid to ask for help!

 

Good luck on your project! :thumb!

 

-WV

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4. Are there many gued parts on most alts. Any tips for removing old, dried glue, before regluing the parts?

 

And a couple of specific questions.

1. Should I even worry about regluing the corvette exhasut pipes under the chest? Seems like it'll hold ok if I just jam it back in. Maybe add a bit of clear nail polish to the pegs.

2. What's holding the corvette dashboard in place? Is there another screw under the windshield flap?

4) Glued parts? Not really to my knowledge, although that would largely depend upon the alternator in question. I would try working the part free before using any strong chemical removers. If that fails, start with good ol' rubbing alcohol, and work from there.

(4) I know for a fact that the Acura RSX (Prowl) has its dash glued together in a very painful way, as well as the seats to the floor of the car. I know that the Ford GT's (Mirage) seats are also glued (the factory glue leaked all over the place, and glued the chest panel hinges...)

 

And the specifics:

(1) I wouldn't worry about it. Hell, I didn't do it when I took apart the Corvette. :thumb

 

(2) I think there's a screw somewhere, hidden from view. But I didn't need to take apart the dash for my repaint back then, so I didn't bother with it...

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