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Discussion Starter #1
I have built plastic models of all kinds and scales. I have noticed that certain models are only available in resin or wood kits. Can any one enlighten me into what I might expect the differences between the three? If there are printed materials, would love to know of them. Many thanks in advance.
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The biggest difference is how you attach the parts to each other. Plastic model glue will not work on resin or wood kits. For resin you will use a variety of glues. Super glue (cyanocrylate) being the most often used followed by "5 minute epoxy" being the next. For wood models you will use wood glue, similiar to Elmers white glue and epoxy again. Some may need small nails depending on the subject.

Finishing and build up tools will vary as well. Resin models generaly need a bit more clean up than a plastic kit. This is because resin kits are usually hand cast by a person using a rubber or silicone mold. However, some resin kits can surpass the quality of a plastic kit too. It depends on the caster and how well molds are prepped. You will want to get a Dremel for resin kits. There may be pour stubs that would take forever to remove with a typical hobby knife, but made short work of by a sanding drum in a motor tool.

Of course books can be written on what to use and how to do it. Research is the best way to start when switching from plastic kits to another medium.

Hope this helped a little.
 

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Plastic kits are the most mainstream form of models. They are injection molded, usually mass produced by fairly major companies, and cover subjects that are widely popular. You build plastic kits with traditional materials like plastic cement, an X-acto knife, some sand paper and old fashioned Testors enamel paints if you still use those.

Resin is a poured, epoxy material that can be cast in rubber molds by smaller outfits. Usually resin kits of either aircraft, military stuff, or figures, represent items that for various reasons would not be a great mainstream seller for a plastic kit company. Resin is a hard, somewhat brittle material that must be cemented with CA glue or epoxy. Sometimes you have to drill and pin the parts together with wire. The level of detail that can be captured in resin is quite good, and the soft, flexible molds can capture detail and undercutting that can't be done in plastic. If you compare a plastic Frankenstein to a resin one, you will find the plastic kit has each arm in two halves, each leg in two halves, the boots in two halves each, dead in two halves etc. A resin kit may have the entire body, legs and head all as one piece. Just add the boots and hands and its done. No extensive seam filling and sanding needed.

Wood kits are limited nowdays mostly to structure models like HO rail road buildings, flying model airplanes like the Guillows stuff, doll houses, etc. Solid, carved, wood kits really died off in the 50s with the advent of plastic models after World War II.
 

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I can't speak much to wood kits, having only built one. At this time, you might mostly find stick type kits wherein you cut the sticks to length and build on top of a printed plan. You can probably still find vintage (i.e. WW One) airplanes like this. Serious R/C airplane guys still build planes out of wood on top of plans--but I don't know if I'd call that a kit. It can be quite involved.

Resin kits as stated above, require some slightly different techniques. I would only add to use a dust mask when sanding, filing, grinding resin. The dust produced is nasty. And take extra steps in the cleaning process. Resin parts will often have release agents on them that will inhibit paint adhesion.

Resin kits are quite often produced by amateurs on a low budget, at home. Don't let that fool you--the results can be amazing. Personally, I prefer resin kits.

Did you have your eye on a particular kit?
 

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Resin kits make me very happy! They're more expensive because they're short-run and labor-intensive to produce, but WOW, do they look great.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I have my eye on a Nautilus sub. IT is quite costly, approx 500.00 but they say that the results are good, and that with the plans they send, one can cast the interiors. Thus my interest.
 

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I bought two of the Nautilus Drydock 20,000 Leagues Nautilus kits. They are both very well done and worth the $$. I got the large (roughly 1/72 kit) and the smaller one. They are NOT for beginners for a variety of reasons. Any model that is 3 feet long takes some skill in constructing, painting, etc. Also, while you get a rudimentary pilot house interior for the larger model, you really will need to do some scratch building to finish it out. The kit is also not really designed to have the side salon windows open as you get no hull interior, so more scratch building is necessary. My only real complaint with the kit, and its nothing to do with quality, is that while lighting kits are available, the kit is not exactly set up to be lit, so you have to dremel out a good many of the windows and lights, which can be tricky in resin, as its very fragile and can crack or shatter.
 
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