Help support TMP

"Delusional modeling practices " Topic

19 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Ranting Plus Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

920 hits since 29 Jul 2016
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2016 4:32 a.m. PST

I'm not the greatest of modellers, but over the years I have, through actual trial and error figured out that some things work and some things simply don't. Yet I see people who use modelling practices that defy all reason, make your life more difficult and often don't work at all.

I happened to watch a demo a while ago and the guy was trying to explain why you should use tweezers rather than fingers to apply decals, while using fingers is a less than optimal method, tweezers don't quite work …

Using tweezers for decals is the same kind of nonsense as trying to cut parts from the sprue with a knife. I suspect it is some kind of affectation people pick up from other people and never bother to actually verify.

I use a brush to handle decals and it works much easer than trying to stab tweezers underneath the decal, praying you won't damage it or that it will not fold on itself, gently use the brush to slide the decal off the paper and a properly sized brush has a large enough area to prevent most decals from folding. The advantage with the brush is that you can make corrections without having to stab and peal away with tweezers at the decal, risking damaged paintwork.

Same with cutting parts from the sprue, people always tell me that I damage the pieces with my flush cutters, I can count the number of parts I broke over the years on the fingers of one hand, half were damaged and weakened on the sprue before I cut them, others were parts so small it was beyond reason to try to cut them by another method than very careful sawing. The rest were due to it being a crappy model to begin with.

Yet the knife and scalpel crew break two or three parts per sprue and it's always the same excuse "Oh, but the knife isn't sharp enough." I never had to sharpen my cutters even once, they cut just as well as the day I bought them (I did buy quality ones)

And then there is always that part that gets away because you need to put a sprue down and cut with a knife in such a way that the part is likely to bounce, yet they seem to believe the sprue is some kind of invisible force field that will prevent the part from escaping.

They claim it almost never happens, if by almost never you mean the three times per hour on average that they suddenly disappear underneath the table for fifteen minutes of frantic searching.

When I cut, I look for the most favourable angle and hold the part with two fingers before I cut or make sure it will at least fly off in a predictable direction. Yes, some parts I cut need a bit of trimming, but at least I'm not trying to glue two parts of an antenna back together and fight a losing battle against keeping it as straight as possible.

And I'm not going to start with the people who use glue in homoeopathic amounts, because less than a single molecule of glue is an infinitely better bond than any reasonable amount of glue. The whole "you need to dilute your glue and use a toothpick to apply microscopic dots" doesn't work for any two parts that are larger than two grains of sand.

Some models put a huge amount of stress on parts and yet I see people apply the mantra and then weirdly believe they used too much glue when the model splits in half. Sorry people, glue only works if you properly cover the entire two connecting surface areas, you don't need to drown them like some people on the other end of the scale do, but you need to apply an even coat, and the real trick is to keep the glue the right thickness, especially with brittle glues that are not very resistant to lateral forces. The problem is that I see too many people apply nothing more than a mere mist of plastic cement, anything more brings on a "too much glue" panic attack.

Because they use so little glue the model has to be kept together with tape, hope, prayers, and clamps right until it has to be painted and they have to make elaborate constructs to prevent the modelling equivalent of a house of cards from collapsing as soon as a drop of paint touches it.

"It's a model, it's supposed to be fragile." No, it's not, I can pick up any aircraft in my collection by a wing and it will not disintegrate. (Yes, there are models that no amount of glue will prevent from losing a wing if you hold it that way, so no need to pick up that point)

Next you have the "Superglue conquers all" crowd. Superglue is the best glue in the universe, period. Nothing does the job better, except that after two years that model that started off as rock-solid is shedding individual parts at an alarming rate and more and more amounts of superglue is the only answer. Yes Suzanna, there is a specific glue for every job and superglue is not a one size fits all solution, some day people will learn to acknowledge it or die screaming in a padded cell.

And then finally there is the rare category of "Why use a knife or flush cutters if you can use a $1,500 USD miniature table saw, a $15,000 USD hydraulic pressure cutting tool or a $250,000 USD CAD all-angle cutting laser to assemble an Airfix Spitfire." I make models for fun, not as a justification for existing.

Winston Smith30 Jul 2016 5:04 a.m. PST

+1 on the Superglue for everything bunch. It's one of many tools in the box. Do you use a screwdriver to pound nails? You can…but it's not your best choice.

My rant is about "painting the parts on the spruce" crowd. Nothing like a layer of paint to help with the glue bond.

Winston Smith30 Jul 2016 5:04 a.m. PST

And yes. A paint brush is best for decals. Tweezers?????

Personal logo Jlundberg Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2016 5:38 a.m. PST

I use either paintbrush or tweezers depending on the decal size. Tweezers work for tiny decals

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2016 6:26 a.m. PST

Painting on the sprue, I must have repressed that one …

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2016 7:36 a.m. PST

I use tweezers to dip the decal in water and to hold while using a paint brush that resembles a scared cat to apply them to the model.

Skeets Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2016 7:45 a.m. PST

I use tweezers used by stamp collecting to hold onto the decal while it is soaking in water and for initial placement.

tkdguy30 Jul 2016 11:15 a.m. PST

I'm hopeless at applying decals, whether I use a brush or tweezers. The main draw of superglue is that it dries quickly. But I agree that other types of glue can be better for different types of miniatures.

StarfuryXL530 Jul 2016 2:11 p.m. PST

Agree about the superglue for everything. Superglue works best for flush non-porous surfaces. And superglue gives the best bond with just few drops, you don't slather it on.

White glue for everything is just as bad. White glue is for porous surfaces, not things like resin or plastic. And if you glue your figures to bases with it, you risk having them pop off at some point.

Different tools for different purposes, for sure.

Streitax30 Jul 2016 6:14 p.m. PST

Thought you were talking about mathematical models. But you are ranting about something important instead. :o)

Martin Rapier02 Aug 2016 1:51 a.m. PST

I use tweezers to apply transfers (or 'decals' as the young people insist on calling them these days), and have done so since the 1960s.

Is that wrong then?

Toronto4802 Aug 2016 8:59 a.m. PST

Martin – the UK calls them "transfers" Mericans call them "Decals" Ask Dom ?

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2016 9:14 a.m. PST

UK calls them deckels and Mericans call them deekals. I guess we just drawl everythin'

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2016 1:17 a.m. PST

If you can pull it off with tweezers, more glory to you.

One of the reasons I wrote this bit is that a while ago I was watching a tutorial someone had posted on facebook. They showed every single step in great detail until they mentioned transfers/decals and said use tweezers at which point there was a sudden cut to the neatly applied decal. When they applied another one, again a cut. They showed everything except how to put on the decal with a pair of tweezers. At the time I thought it was funny, but then a few days ago I saw another tutorial and this time they did show it, but the common problem crept up, the tweezers don't easily slip under the decal because of the surface tension keeping it on the paper, he had to struggle with it and then had to do a bunch of adjustments to get it on and smooth out the many wrinkles using a setting solution.

Shortly thereafter I put decals on a 1/48th scale Stuka. I used a large flat brush and it worked fine.

I am aware that there is a vast gap in quality, some transfer are as tough as a soapbubble, others could be used to armour a tank with, so maybe these problems are due to flimsier decals or some other problem, but as I said, if tweezers work for you, hats off.

Great War Ace08 Aug 2016 9:27 a.m. PST

I'll bite. Revell decals. I encountered this problem with Revell decals first: the instructions said to NOT TOUCH the "transfer" with your fingers, use a brush. I had touched decals for years and was a very experienced modeller of c. half a dozen years, and, at the ripe and experienced age of 13 or 14, knew my stuff. Except that, as they dried to the fuselage, vertical stabilizer and wings, my 1/32nd scale Sopwith Camel decals bubbled up. WTH? I came home from school after putting the decals on first thing in the morning, and all my decals were dried out and bubbled. Oh, the horror! Following the instructions after the fact, amazingly, worked for the most part. I soaked the decals down, then patted them flat with a tissue and paint brush, as seemed most suited. Only a little damage resulted. From then on I have always removed decals with a paintbrush, and removed excess water with a combination of tissue and paintbrush. The "idea" of tweezers never occurred to me, except to fetch the decal sheets from the bowl of water and position them while I slide the decals off with the brush….

Great War Ace08 Aug 2016 9:31 a.m. PST

Super glues. The quick drying kind or the joints that are "spritzed" to make them dry fast, are fragile. The right kind of glue (I won't suggest anything other than a glue that crazes the plastic; and I won't speak to resin, since I have never built a resin kit in my life) will bond just fine. I haven't had any builds come apart years later. Only the occasional joint that needs a drop of glue again. And I agree, use as much glue as you can without using too much. Do not be parsimonious with glue….

Garand09 Aug 2016 8:01 a.m. PST

I sometimes use a knife rather than flush cutting clippers to remove parts for a plastic model. Sometimes it is simply more advantageous to use the knife rather than the clippers, especially for very small parts. Right technique for the right job. It varies.


Great War Ace10 Aug 2016 10:32 a.m. PST

Single-edged razor blades are the only truly effective way to remove parts from sprue. They are thin enough that no distortion occurs (razor sharp ones only, of course). And not using excessive pressure means the part never flies to some nether region of the room. A slight, deliberate, repetitive rocking movement of the edge will get the blade through. Take your time….

Old Wolfman11 Aug 2016 5:41 a.m. PST

I'm looking at some strategies for decalling my Team Yankee vehicles,myself;in part,tweaking the vehicle ID numbers.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.