February 11, 2022

Rebel in the Making - Part 12 (prepping!)

Prepping is a very time-consuming process with lots of filling, sanding, priming, drying, filling, sanding, priming, drying, repeat ad nauseum. When you introduce epoxy work to your model, getting a feather smooth blend where the plastic (or resin) meets the epoxy is just one more challenge. It's helpful to keep sanding and prepping as you are customizing, which I've tried to do. And just when you think you're done, you find something else to tweak.

I've covered my prepping process before, but a quick refresh of the supplies I use can't hurt. These are staples of my prepping arsenal that I highly recommend: 

1) A good respirator for spraying primer
2) A good dust mask (N95 is great if you have one) for sanding
3) Liquitex modeling paste for filling airholes, seams, etc. Keep the top on, it dries fast! It is white, water-soluble which helps with application, and sands nicely - win, win, win!
4) Plastic gloves to hold the model when priming to keep primer off your skin. Use a fresh one each time.
5) Sandpaper in lots of grit from 80 or lower for going nuts on rough epoxy to 600 or higher for final touches. I tear it off in little bits and fold it or round it to get into all the little areas. 
6) Carbide scrapers for removing seams, carving out ears & hooves, detailing wrinkles, manes & tails, etc. I have the Rio Rondo set and several from Kelly. I like and use a few tips most often, but it's good to have options. They are a worthwhile investment if you plan to customize and prep models. 
7) Primer - 3 brands I recommend are Duplicolor Sandable Primer, which is fairly new to me. It goes on very thin, which is great for micros; Rustoleum Sandable Primer, which I've been using for yeeeaaars; and Tamiya Fine Surface Primer, which also has a very fine spray good for micros and small models. The latter being the most expensive in a very small can, so I'm currently seeing if I like the Duplicolor enough to go with that going forward. So far, I think the Tamiya goes on smoother and the Duplicolor goes on a little grainier. The Rustoleum tends to go on a little heavier, so I use that on larger models. Many layers makes for good priming. 
8) I forgot to put it in the photo, but you'll also need a good cleanser to wash the model before you prime. I like non-scratching Comet & Bar Keeper's Friend, both in powder form that I use to make a paste with water.  Use a toothbrush to get into all the nooks and crannies, followed by a good rinse. 

Another thing I've started to do with micros, is to lay them all on one side in a box lid on aluminum foil. I spray them all on this side from all four sides of the box and let them cure, I turn them over on a fresh piece of aluminum foil and repeat on the other side. When I get a few layers in, I'll hold them by the head with a gloved hand and spray the back-half from all angles. Then when dry, repeat with the other side. Goal is to get an even coat of primer over all parts of the horse. So far, so good.

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