Paleocraft Resin Models are designed to be straight forward and easy to assemble. The majority of the work will be focused in the areas of painting and detailing and the end result is only limited to the builder's imagination. Most modelers are well aware of the many techniques needed to successfully complete a Paleocraft Resin Model but just in case, here are some basic tips to aid in construction.
Removing mold release: First, all of the resin pieces should be washed before assembling and painting in order to remove any mold release that may be left over from the casting process. Mold release in a non-adhesive substance used to coat the inside surfaces of molds in order to ensure that the resin doesn't adhere to the mold walls upon curing. The release protects the mold from damage when the mold halves are peeled back to reveal the finished cast. Release residue on the models surface may prevent paint and some glues from adhering properly. To prevent this from happening, simply scrub the resin pieces with soap and water. An old tooth brush really works well allowing you to get into cracks, crevices and hard to reach undercuts.
Removing air bubbles: During casting, air can sometimes become trapped on the insides of the mold walls that will cause tiny air pockets to form as the resin cures. Where tiny air bubbles may simply be filled with super glue, Larger ones will need to be filled with modeling putty. Hobby shops carry a variety of different brands of modeling putty that will work well for this purpose. One type is Milliput, also plumbers putty or two part epoxy putty from the hardware store works just as well. Use your finger or some other applicator with a flat end to push the putty into the air bubble and remove the excess from the surface. If the putty becomes tacky and is hard to force in the bubbles, finger nail polish on your finger or applicator will prevent it from adhering and force it down. Depending on where the bubble is, you may have to retexture the putty to match the surrounding surface. Example, if the putty needs to be blended to look like fur, while the putty is still soft, sculpting tools can be used or other more low-tech devices such as tooth picks or stick pins. If the surface is smooth, once the putty has completely dried, a fine grade sand paper can be used blend it into its surroundings.
Removing sprue marks: A Sprue is an opening or vent constructed in an enclosed mold to allow resin to efficiently reach all the inside areas of the mold and prevent air from being trapped in the undercuts. After the cast is removed from the mold and the sprues are trimmed away, often they leave small irregularities on the surface of the cast that need to be removed. Some, depending on the surface texture, can simply be sanded or trimmed away where others will require filling. In this case putty will need to be applied in the same fashion as is used to fill air bubbles.
Removing seams: Seams occur during casting when resin makes its way into the small crevices between mold halves. Most seams are small and easily removed by trimming or sanding but larger ones may occur if the mold halves are slightly ajar to one another during the casting process. A seam having one side slightly lower or higher to the other is characteristic of when mold halves are not exactly aligned. In this case, putty may be added to level the seam out by applying it to the lower side and then blending it in with the surrounding texture.
Assembling the pieces: After all of the pieces are properly prepared they are ready to be assembled. The smaller pieces can simply be glued into place using super glue or a variety of other glues from a hobby shop. When using super glue, if you're impatient and want the glue to quickly dry, use a product called Kicker to accelerate the drying process by spraying it onto the wet glue. A chemical reaction will occur and the glue will quickly harden. Other larger pieces may require pinning to provide strength and support. Pinning is when a hole is drilled in each of the opposing resin pieces in which wire, a nail or a threaded bolt can be inserted between the two to ensure a reliable strong connection. When drilling the pin holes, you may want to make them a little bigger than the actual diameter of the pin to allow for a more accurate alignment. After the pin is cut to the proper length, fill the hole with glue and insert the pin and hold in the desired position until dry. After the glue has dried, putty can be used to fill the small gap or seam created between the attached pieces.
Positioning and pinning the model on the base: After all of the pieces have been properly assembled, the model will need to be aligned and pinned into its proper position. This should be done before the painting process so as not to ruin any detail. Holes have been predrilled through two of the foot prints on the simulated terrain into the contoured pine base to ensure proper centering. Pin holes will need to be drilled into the corresponding feet of the model. This will ensure that the model remains in place after finishing. Do not glue the model to the base at this point, you'll want to be able to keep the base and model separate for the purposes of painting.
Fixing terrain to wood base: The two predrilled pin holes are probably enough to keep everything in place but you may want to go the extra mile and make it heavy duty, use a wood screw to fix the terrain to the wood base. You will want to choose a spot that will be hidden from sight when the model is finished. A good place for this is under one of the feet that are not already predrilled for pinning. This only works if the feet are large enough to hide the head of the screw. In this case drill a small lead hole in the desired spot and use a larger bit to make a counter sink hole so that the head of the screw doesn't stick out above the surface and the foot is allowed to lay flush with the surface. If a screw can not be inserted from the top, flip the wood base over and pick a spot where the terrain is sufficiently thick enough for a screw to pass into with out penetrating the surface of the terrain. Counter sink the hole into the wood so that the head of the screw won't cause the wood base to not set flat. Remember to not permanently fix the model or terrain in place until after painting.
Priming and painting: Before any of the pieces are to be painted, a coat of primer is needed so that the paint has something to adhere to. The model surface itself is usually to slick for paint to adhere to properly without a coat of primer. The color of primer you choose will depend on your paint scheme. If you are going to paint with lighter colors, then you should use a light primer such as white or tan. If you plan to use darker colors then a dark primer such as dark gray or black will work the best. Hobby stores carry a variety of primer colors and brands but are usually more expensive than if you get it from a hardware store or from the automotive section of Walmart. Make sure that the primer is applied evenly over the entire model and terrain base and is completely dry before painting.
Painting the model will require a variety of different techniques to achieve the final result. The first of which is applying a base coat. The base coat will consist of the chosen underlying color onto which all other painting techniques such as dry brushing and washing will be applied to. The base coat can be achieved with a paint brush but for a quick and a smooth application, an airbrush really works well.
Washes: A wash is when paint is diluted with water to create a thin, running version of the original color, Applying a wash is a light to dark technique meaning that a watered-down darker paint is applied over lighter shades of paint to fill the deeper recesses of a textured surface while leaving the raised surfaces the original color. The wash should be applied quickly with a wide flat brush to create a consistent coat. To keep it from pooling up in one area, excess wash can be blotted up with a damp rag or paper towel. Once the wash has dried, the dry brush technique can be used to establish highlights on the raised areas.
Dry Brushing: The dry brush technique is a dark to light process meaning that lighter shades of paint are brushed across the textured surface of a darker background to create subtle highlights. To do this, the brush is dipped into the paint and then wiped against a paper towel or piece of cloth until most of the excess paint is removed and only a light remnant of paint is left. The brush is then applied against the desired surface using heavy side-to-side or circular strokes until the desired effect is achieved. The size of the brush should be determined by the area being painted. For hard to reach detailed areas, a small flat brush allows for more control. And for larger areas, a broad flat bristled brush really works well and covers a lot of surface. Dry brushing can be a lengthy process and take time to master. Don't try and do it all one swipe, be patient and apply the paint in layers until the desired finish is achieved. If it doesn't turn out right the first time, reapply the base coat and start again.
Sealing: After the entire model has been assembled and painted to the desired result, a sealer will need to be applied to protect the finished piece from future damage. A sealer will lock the paint in place and prevent it from accidentally being marred during handling. Cans of clear coat sealer can be purchased from most hobby shops. Sealers come in spray cans in a variety of finishes including Gloss, Semi-gloss and Matte finishes. The sealer should be sprayed 10-12 inches away from the model in an even fluid motion so that it doesn't blot up in one area. Usually one coat is enough to establish a protective coat but multiple coats can be applied once the prior coat had dried. It should be noted that heavily applying a Matte finish gloss will inadvertently create a light glossy finish.
Glosses: After the model has been sealed, sometimes it's necessary to add clear gloss in certain areas for more detail. Such areas include making the eyes glossy and if relevant, making an open mouth and teeth appear glossy. This should be done after the model has been sealed because sometimes applying a clear coat matte sealer may dull previously glossed areas.
Sanding/Staining wood base: Finishing the wood base should be one of the last steps before final assembly. A medium or fine grade of sand paper (such as 240 grade) should be used to smooth most of the rougher surfaces followed by a finer grade (320-400 grade) for final smoothing. A fine or super-fine grade of steel wool can also be used to give it a final sheen. After the base has been properly sanded, it is ready to be stained. Hardware stores carry a wide variety of wood stains and penetrating oils. Choosing a hue is subjective, but should be in accordance with the over-all paint scheme. Applying the stain can be done either with a paint brush or a soft cloth, old socks or T-shirts work really well. Apply as many coats as need to achieve the desired hue. After the stain has completely dried it should be sprayed with a sealer or given a protective coat of varnish, the type of sealer or varnish used will depend on whether a matte or glossy finished is desired. Allow the varnish or sealer to completely dry before further assembly.
Adding Diorama Effects: One of the last steps to do before the model kit is complete is to add diorama effects. Diorama is the art of applying scaled items, such as trees and bushes, to create the illusion of a natural environment. Some of Paleocraft's resin kits require little to no diorama helpers but some kits such as the Megatherium come with scale trees that will need foliage applied in order to look right. Diorama helpers such as scale trees, bushes, grass, leaves and other types of foliage can be purchased at most hobby stores or found at a variety of companies through the internet such as Link & Pin Hobbies. Scale accessories can really enhance a model and add a sense of perspective.