Resin Models and YOU

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

You'd have to be pretty isolated to have not heard about resin kits by now. They're literally everywhere, and in every possible genre of modeling. It wasn't always this way, though. It wasn't that long ago that the only choice for building off-the-wall subjects was to either find a vacuform kit or scratchbuild it. Then the first resin kits hit the market. These were generally very basic kits like many vacuforms, but they had the advantage of being able to capture complex shapes easier than a vacuform. There was a downside, though, and that was with the adhesives needed to build the kit. Standard styrene plastic glues did not work with resin kits so you were left with a choice of either using epoxy or cyanoacrylate glues. Also, distribution of these early kits was not large and it took some hunting to find them. Generally, though, these kits were of planes that we'll NEVER see in injection plastic, and often times not even in a vacuform.

Nowadays resin is everywhere. Cockpit detail sets, conversion sets, and complete kits are all over the place, being manufactured just about anywhere. It's this last feature that has made the resin explosion so large. There is little initial cost to making a resin kit (at least compared to an injection plastic one, anyway). For the cost of some mold rubber and resin you can create anything your heart desires. With all this competition out there we're seeing more and more highly detailed full-resin kits. Czech Master Resin is an excellent example of this, with some of their latest kits being as detailed, if not more so, than some injection kits.

Initially, the size of a resin kit tended to be small, but that's falling by the wayside as well. MPM/HML has a series of kits that are increasing the size and quality of resin kits, with such planes as the Arado Ar240, Heinkel He177, and Messerschmitt Me323 (!). But is there a downside to all of this resin? Yes, there is. One of the biggest problem with resin kits is the dust. This stuff is nasty and will stick to your lungs, which over the years could result in respiratory problems. To counter this, just wear a respirator mask when you're sanding any resin kit. The other problem has to do with the nature of resin, and that is that some forms of it tend to sag after a few years. This is very prominent on kits that have long thin wings, where the weight of the wings eventually bend them down. This can be rectified as well by inserting a metal or plastic spar to keep things in shape.

There's a lot of interesting kits coming out in resin and it won't be long before you'll try one yourself, if you haven't already. The Modelkrak armored car I built for this issue is an excellent example of a first resin kit, and there are plenty of others out there just like it. For those who want more of a modeling challenge, save your pennies and try your luck with one of the MPM/HML biggies. Resin is definitely here to stay, and we as modelers are better off for it.


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