Mina, Model-Kit Diary

As figures are somehow fun and so is tinkering. So how about combining those two? “Garage Modelkits” offer you the (IMO) nicest way of doing so. What you’ll get is a resin casted model in parts, you’ve gotta file it, grind it, polish it, paint it and glue it together. It takes up shitloads of your time, so be careful not to let that new hobby eat too much of your time – if you decide to try it / stick with it.

Anyways, we’ve (as in Eefi and NebuK :P) tried our first garage kit, Mina, from the Densha Otoko opening:

Mina, our first modelkit, finished 😛

As we’ve run into many problems, gear and methode wise, we thought we’d publish a small “buildlog” or “modelkit diary”. Mind you, this is by no means a guide or tutorial as we’ve only tried to find our way into the Resin Kit World :P. Still if you’re preparing to do your first kit this post may give you some kind of idea what you’re diving into.

So, we’re about to start. As those modelkits are casted from resin, which is basically 2 Components Epoxy on steroids, they have quite some casting leftovers, nipples, rough edges and the like. So you have to get rid of those, fill some gaps or holes, and give everything a nice polish so the color sticks well.

What you’ll need is bascically this:

– a set of *small*, fine files, for the rough work on the model

– a cutter/scalpel for cutting of big leftover nipples – also handy for cutting tape for masking

– a set of K600, K800 and K1500 sanding paper

– some plastic glue / superglue

– a putty (note, do *not* use the putty shown here, it sucks. Appearantly tamiya green putty is nice, Mr. putty also gets recommended quite often)

– acrylic water-thinnable colors – also don’t use the revell aqua shown here, better go for vallejo or – if a gamesworkshop is around the corner – citadell seems cool too. Only get the basic colors as we’re gonna mix everything as needed … cheaper that way 😛

– not shown here, some brushes. Do yourself a favor and use good ones, it’s way more fun that way.

– a small pliers as used for electronics

Materials Needed

AAAAAnd this is what mina looks like when unpacked. Quite a mess you may think at first.

Mina in pieces...

The you look in detail, and whaaat? This is rediculous, so much to do and fix.

Casting leftover on arm
Some more casting leftovers
Ears again

Some more casting leftovers, this one's bad!
Some more casting leftovers
reaaaal bad!

Check those looong edges

Everywhere! Leftovers, nipples, casting residue, everywhere!

Okay, let’s calm down, we’re gonna start by example. Take that ear for example, I’ve cut that nipple with the scalpel and filed the rest down roughly with the round-ish flat file.


Anyways, after filing the ear looks like this:

After rough filing

Of course, if you out paint on that it’ll look horrible. So lets go for the K600 sanding paper, grind with a circular movement all the way back and forth over this area:

After fine (K1500) grinding

Aaaand, woohoo, looks nice. Again, the tools used to achieve this:

This is used for refining the casting nipples

So, next example, the left arm – looks horrible!

The arm was quite bad

After filing and grinding… perfect 😛 almost more smooth than the original!

K200 ... grinding ... nice!

You remember the pictures of the carrot-rocket-…thingies earlier? Well, this one was quite hard filing and grinding, but this seem sufficent.

Filing + Grinding = ... okay
Cutting! Watch out, fingers in danger

Sooo, time to get the paint on your table and make the first tries. Remember to always use clean distilled water with a tiny tiny drop of soap for thinning. That way you won’t get a ugly lime-edge on your brushstrokes and the surface tension of the water is lowered so the paint will distribute itself nicely.

First paint

As you may see here, the paint-job isn’t perfect. Yours probably also won’t be. Its just hard brushing. When thinning properly and applying the paint in more and more and more steps, each with only little paint at a time you can reduce the problem.

In detail ... rough

Carrot paint detail after 1x 100%, 1x thinned

If you’re not putting soap in your water … this is what will happen! 😛

Over-Thinning paint...

But after getting to know that trick the paintjobs get better and better.

By the way, another nice trick if you gotta mix your colors yourself is a so called “wet palette”. It basically works by putting sandwitch paper or baking paper on top of a shitload of soaking wet cleenex into a closeable box. That way your colors will stay nice wet even overnight and over the term of days.

The painting gets better..

Top is finished

And on we go to the next subject, applying putty. Here its used to make the head a bit rounder and also to fix that gap between the two halves of the head.

Apply it by taking some on a knive, putting it on the subject and pressing it into the holes/gaps with the knive. It’s better to use a bit more putty than you need so you can press it in there nicely. Here it’s not everything in the gap and the rest taken away cause’ i want to model the head a bit more round.

dried rough putty on the head
detailed rough putty

After some filing and sanding action the back of the head is in a nice state, ready to be painted!

filed and grinded
isn't that bad
the top still needs to be done
putty on the head
putty on the head

This is what the putty looks like after filing and grinding with K600, be sure to sand it again with finer K’s… the paint won’t look nice on that.

putty on the head filed

The paintjob somehow is the worst part of the whole build-process – i already mentioned thinning the paint and adding soap. If you made your first try without those you feel like those will solve all of your problems. Still, its unbelievable hard to make large uniform areas look good.

Here some examples (those small speckles are sensor-dust on my camera. Note to self: don’t use bellows too often :P)

arm painted
carrots painted
ears painted

As you see it’s … okay – from a larger distance. You ought not to get too close :P. If you want a way better result the only thing you can resort to is using a airbrush, which is what we’ll do for the next model.

Anyways, some more putty action. The back of the neck wasn’t aligned nicely and the edge to the collar wasn’t visible nicely. So first mask everything not to harm the already nicely painted face.

masking for applying putty

Apply putty, a bit more again to re-model the edge of the collar.

More putty action!

By the way, masking is really really important. Here you can see how we masked the arms for painting the gloves – the little cutout at the palm / inner hand was tricky :P.

Masked arms
Masking the gloves of the arm

And what does the finished model look like? you may ask…. here comes the gallery:

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Last hint, a cheap good source for modelkits, not original japanese, but also not as worse as “thai” kits is e2046.com – which is where mina is from. They have reasonable prices and reaaally fast shipping. Great!

If you’re about to start with a modelkit i hope we could give you some rough guidance. This is – once again – by no means a attempt to a complete guide or anything – sadly something like that’s still missing on the net. After we’ve gained more experience with more kits we’ll attempt to put together a nice guide for you :P.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and seeing the Mina-Pics …

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