Maintained by Mark Wilson

This is a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions on the rec.arts.anime.models newsgroup. For more general modeling information, you should also check out the rec.models.scale FAQ

Table of Contents

  1. Where are some good web sources for buying anime models and supplies?
  2. What is the difference between an original model and a recast?
  3. New Bandai kits say they do not require paint, is this true?
  4. What tools do I need to build an injection plastic model?
    1. Cutting
    2. Sanding
    3. Glues
    4. Seam Filling
    5. Advanced
  5. What tools do I need to build a resin model?
  6. What tools/supplies are recommended for scratch-building and modifying models?
    1. Tools
    2. Supplies
  7. What paints work best for anime models?
  8. How can panel lines be enhanced?
    1. The Pen
    2. The Wash
    3. Edge Gradients/Pre-Shading
  9. What are some recommended airbrush setups for an enclosed space like an apartment?
  10. What sorts of paints should I use on Vinyl?
  11. How do I cast my own parts?
  12. What are some common techniques for mech weathering models?
  13. How do I paint anime eyes?
  14. What are these abbreviations?
  15. Who are these people?


Where are some good web sources for buying anime models and supplies?




Ordering over the web is, of course, a highly personal decision, but the general consensus is that the best way to go is to order from one of the Japanese based businesses that accept international orders. Of these Hobby Link Japan is the most popular due to both its low prices and excellent webpage, but many people also like Rainbow Ten for their quicker response time, and because they only list what they currently have in stock, so there is never any confusion as to whether or not your order will be placed on backorder.

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What is the difference between an original model and a recast?




There are many differences between original kits, and recasts that fall into the category of ethical considerations. I will not get into those, as they are highly personal issues that a person has to decide for himself or herself. Legally speaking, the difference between recasts or bootlegs, and licensed original models, is that the licensed original model has legal permission to use the copyrighted subject matter where the recast/bootleg does not. This means that the studio that created the subject of the model is getting some sort of compensation for the use of their design or character in the case of licensed originals, whereas the company is not getting any compensation from recasts or bootlegs. Practically speaking, the difference between originals and recasts is primarily on of cost vs. quality.

Original Japanese resin kits are typically of good to excellent quality in terms of both the materials used, and the quality of the casting and accessories, where recasts range in quality from absolutely horrible, to excellent in terms of quality on both categories. The biggest functional problem with recasts is that it is often difficult or impossible to know the quality of materials and casting before actually purchasing the item, whereas original kits are almost always of a known quality. However, recasts are typically half the price or less of the original kit, which is why they are so appealing to so many.

Usually the quickest way to tell the difference between a recast and the original is by looking at the packaging. Most original Japanese kits have rather elaborate boxes that clearly display the name of the company that manufactured the kit. In contrast, most recasts have rather plain boxes displaying only a picture of the finished kit, and usually no company name what so ever. The other way to tell a recast is often by price. Japanese garage kits come with a suggested retail price, and it is extremely rare to see an original garage kit sold for more than 20% below that suggested retail price, so chances are if the price is lower than that, it is probably a recast.

Do remember, however, these are just rules of thumb. I have seen recasts selling for more than the original kit, in clearly branded boxes from companies like Elfin or Ben Di.

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New Bandai kits say they do not require paint, is this true?




Many of Bandai's newer kits are “molded in color” meaning that the parts of the model are cast in a color that either matches or is close to the color of the design in the show. Many people find that this color molding is an acceptable substitute for painting the model, while others feel that small additional amounts of paint are needed to enhance the appearance of the model, while still others feel that color molded plastic is no substitute at all for a complete paint job. Ultimately, it is a matter of personal preference. However, as a rule, color molded kits will be acceptable to the majority of anime modelers in their un-painted or semi-painted state.

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What tools do I need to build an injection plastic model?




As with many other of the questions, this will vary wildly according to personal taste. Some people like to use household items like nail clippers, and emery boards, while others like to use items you pick up at common hardware store, like wire cutters and automotive sandpaper, and some prefer tools made specifically for hobbyists, like sprue cutters and flexigrit plastic backed sanding sheets. Whatever the flavor of tools and supplies you prefer and have available to you, they fall into a few groups.


This is one of the few tools in which people almost unanimously agree to some extent. Exacto brand knives are the defacto standard for hobby cutting tools, and what most people use. The standard #11 blade that comes with the handle seems to be the most popular, though I have also found several of the other blades (especially #5 blades) to be very useful. Exacto knives, and the many compatible knockoffs, are quite useful for a variety of cutting tasks, from trimming to full on carving.

The other commonly used cutting tool, is some form of nipper, to remove the part from the sprue it comes attached to. However, there is not nearly the consensus on this tool as there is on knives. As far as nippers go, some people find that they don't need anything more than a pair of toenail clippers, where other people prefer the type of wire cutters available at most electronics stores, and some use specialized tools designed specifically for removing model parts from their sprue. Largely this difference is an issue of personal preference, and you should just decide what works best for you.

Beyond this, there are a number of more exotic cutting tools, but these are covered in the scratchbuilding section.


Often, it will be necessary to sand a part for various reasons, whether to correct fit, clean off excess plastic left over from the casting process (called flash), or to smooth out the finish of a part. Many people buy their sandpaper from a myriad of different sources, but for beginners, I recommend going to a hobby shop, and getting an assortment pack of flexible sanding films. The main reason I recommend this, is so that you will get some idea as to what grades of sandpaper you need, and so that you can experiment with both wet and dry sanding plastic. Once you are familiar with the various grades, you can then get whatever grades you found most useful, from whatever source you prefer.

Another sanding product that many find useful is called a sanding stick. These are various grades of sandpaper attached to a thin piece of foamcore board. You can buy sanding sticks at most hobby shops, though some people prefer to make their own, or use emery boards available for nail care at beauty salons and drug stores.


Many modern anime plastic models are snap-fit, and a lot of people choose to put their models together that way. However, even on a snap fit model, there will be times, when some sort of glue might be needed to better join two parts together. Therefore, I recommend that even if you are planning to simply snap a model together, it might not be a bad idea to get a little glue anyway.

There are a variety of different styrene glues available, and for the most part, brand makes very little difference, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Plastic model glues work by actually melting the two parts of the model together, as such, none of the “nontoxic” model glues are very effective at all. Also, even though the gel type model glue that comes in a squeeze tube is the most commonly found, liquid model glues are typically stronger, easier to control, and all around better for most needs.

In addition to styrene glue, you might have times when you wish to glue two parts together, without melting them together. For this, cyanoacrylate based glues (like SuperGlue and CrazyGlue) can be very useful.

Seam filling:

Those who paint their models, often like to use some method to fill the seams before applying paint, there are some particular putties and primers that can help you do this, which are covered below in the seam filling section.


There are a number of other tools that are very useful for more advanced modeling, the most notable being an airbrush. An airbrush setup could well be the most expensive single modeling tool you will ever buy, but it also has the potential to add more to your finished models, than any other single tool. Since an airbrush is such an important tool, it gets its own question further down. Aside from an airbrush, other useful tools include specialty tools, like panel scribers, files, drawknives, and razor saws, which are covered in more depth further down in the scratchbuilding section.

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What tools do I need to build a resin model?




Resin kits require most of the same tools needed for plastic models, but there are a few differences. First off, styrene glue will have no effect on polyurethane resin. Instead, you should use a cyanoacrylate based glue (like SuperGlue or my favorite Zap-A-Gap), and even this will not stick that well, so it is recommended to get a length of metal wire that is at least 1mm in diameter (this will often be included with the kit) and drill a hole into both joining parts, then put your cyanoacrylate based glue on the pin, and use that to join the parts together. This will require what is called a pin vise. This tool is a bit like an Exacto knife in construction, except instead of holding a flat blade in the nib; it holds a small drill bit. You will also need various sized bits for the pin vise. I have noticed that all the holes that need to be drilled in resin kits, usually do not exceed 5mm, and the model parts that are suppose to fit snugly in these holes are always metric sizes, so it is more than worth your time to hunt down a set of bits that are exact metric sizes, else you will have some loose fitting parts. Secondly, resin kits require considerably more sanding than plastic kits, so a set of jewelers files is also recommended. Last, a scribing tool is most helpful in freshening up those obliterated details that fall across the casting seam.

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What tools/supplies are recommended for scratch-building and modifying models?




Obviously, once you head out into the uncharted lands of scratchbuilding and modification, anything goes, but here are a few tips that can help you along the way.


One of the most useful items you can pick up is a razor saw. These are made by most of the same companies that make Exacto type knives, and come with a handle with a removable blade. Blades come in several different sizes and tooth configurations, and you should experiment to see what works best for you, but basically these things are for the quick and dirty removal of parts in a straight line. There are a million uses, so these things always come in handy.

Another must have is a scribing tool. These things come in a variety of configurations ranging from simple dental picks, to specialized carbide tipped modeling tools, but the basic idea is a very sharp point on a handle used to scribe detail into a surface.

Drawknives are also a nice addition to your modeling arsenal. These can range from a simple utility knife of the sort available at hardware stores and larger grocery stores, to the very fancy hook bladed knives often seen in Hobby Japan magazine. The main advantage of these types of knives is that they are gripped like a standard steak knife, rather than held pen-style like an Exacto knife, and pulled toward you as across the surface. This gives you a much steadier cut, and results in better straight-line cuts.

A Dremel style rotary tool is another item that most people find invaluable. These tools can fit a large variety of ⅛-inch bits, allowing hundreds of uses including cutting, grinding, shaping and even polishing. Some people find these tools too coarse for model work, but others swear by them.

Clamps are pretty much a must when scratch building your own parts. Holding a part in the exact position for as long as it takes for your putty or glue to dry can be at best trying, at worst impossible. There are a number of different hobby clamps available, including miniature plastic C-clamps, alligator clips, and miniature vise clamps, and none of them are bad things to have, and I would suggest a selection of all of them. However, I have found one type of clamp that is even more useful than the others: Berna Assemblers brand friction clamps are one of the nicest solutions I have ever come across. These clamps use two polycarbonate I-beams with rubber ends, sliding along a carbon-fiber rod. The friction of the I-beams against the carbon-fiber rods is what provides the clamping force, and can be adjusted to apply anything from light finger pressure, to 11 pounds of force! They also come with connectors to form jigs for holding more complex shapes. I highly recommend giving them a try.

If you are working with tubing, a tubing cutter can save you a lot of trouble. This is basically a tiny version of a plumbers pipe cutter, utilizing a vise like clamp that has a small cutting wheel in the center of the top jaw. As you slowly tighten the clamp on your tubing, you rotate the clamp around the circumference of the tubing to successively cut deeper and deeper until you cut through the tubing. This is much easier than trying to cut the tubing with a razor saw, and yields much nicer results.


Sheet plastic is by far the best friend of the mech model scratch builder or modifier. Various sizes and gauges of sheet plastic can be cut to shape and used to fill the back of hollow parts, add volume to a part, add detail to a part, or even fabricate entirely new parts.

Epoxy putty is to figure modelers, what sheet plastic is to mech modelers. With a 12-24 hour cure time, and clay like consistency and a simple 1:1 mix ratio, epoxy putty is ideal for those looking to sculpt their own freeform parts. There are several different brands of epoxy putty out there, ranging from hardware store products made for plumbers to patch pipes, to specialty putties made specifically for modeling applications. Any epoxy putty will work pretty much the same, but the ones made specifically for modeling tend to be finer grain, and less tacky than those made for general applications. Some of the popular brands include Mori Mori, Milliput and Briggs A+B.

Polyester putty is a relatively fast-curing, high-tack putty. Polyester putty is especially useful for building up or filling parts that need more volume. This putty uses a small amount of catalyst to cure a putty of polyester resin in a few hours. Polyester putty also forms a fairly strong bond with the surface it is on when it cures, so can be very useful for repairing chipped or cracked pieces. In its initial state, just after being mixed, polyester putty is about the consistency of Toluene based putties. After about an hour, its consistency is about that of uncured epoxy putty. Once fully cured, Polyester putty is very similar in hardness and consistency to the type of polyurethane resin used in most resin kits.

Tubing and solid wires can also be very helpful. You can use these to add detail, provide support, create armatures, or act ad the post for a polycap. There are a million sources for tubing and solid wires, but I find that some of the most accusable sources, are stores specializing in train models, they tend to have a lot of different gauges of both this and sheet plastic.

For mech modelers, both Wave and Kotobukiya make a line of very nice option parts that make it quite easy to add detail, and even joint structures, to your creations. I highly recommend that any mech modeler check these out!

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What paints work best for anime models?




There is no magic paint that will automatically make your model look better, and everyone tends to have a strong personal preference, but here are a few guidelines.

Most of the models in Hobby Japan magazine are painted with Mr. Color lacquer based paints, which is the only brand that makes paints specifically for anime paint schemes. Mr. Color is also one of, if not the, most durable hobby paints, but yields much better results when airbrushed, rather than hand brushed. However Mr. Color is hard to find, and rather expensive in the US, though readily available, and reasonably priced in Asia.

Tamiya makes the largest selection of colors in a liquid acrylic paint. However, Tamiya paints are one of the least durable hobby paints, and tend to streak when hand brushed.

Humbrol makes the largest selection of colors in an enamel hobby paint, and has a recipe book for exact mixing instructions on many other colors, but is hard to find in some areas of the world, including parts of the US, and their line is heavily weighted toward military colors. However, Humbrol is a fairly durable paint, and by far the most likely to yield good results from either airbrushing or hand brushing.

Testor's enamels are the easiest to find paint in the US, and between their ModelMaster and Boyd brands have a fair selection of colors, however, not all Testor's, ModelMaster, and Boyd paints can be intermixed. The various brands of Testor's paints respond differently to airbrushing and hand brushing, but most look far better when airbrushed, with the extreme being ModelMaster Metalizer (which is actually a lacquer and can not be mixed with any other Testor's paint) recommending airbrush only application. Testor's is, however rather durable.

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How can panel lines be enhanced?




There are a few techniques for doing this, and which method you use will largely be dependant on the effect you are going for, and the surface of the part to be enhanced. Basically, the techniques break down to three categories.

The pen:

Many people like very stark, and prominent panel lines. One of the best ways to achieve this, is with the use of a dark technical pen, or specialized marker. You can use this technique with any type of fine tipped pen, or even pencil for subtler effects, but some of the favorite pens for this technique are Micron Pigma disposable technical pens, Rapidograph technical pens, or Gunze Sangyo's Gundam Markers. There is very little difference in the finished result of these various pens, so you should probably choose which brand you use based on the availability, color selection, tip size, and price range that best suits your needs.

Using the pen method is probably the easiest to explain of all of the methods. In fact, all you do is literally draw the seam as you want it to appear on the model. This is, of course, often easier said than done, but here are a few tips that will help you with your experimentation.

This technique works best, with either a gloss paint job, or on bare plastic, because then it is easiest to clean up mistakes. If you accidentally draw outside the area you intended to, you can lightly wipe away the excess using a Q-tip that is moist with either rubbing alcohol, or acetone, with little or no resultant discoloration to the finish. If you are doing this on a painted surface, you should test for compatibility on some scrap, before trying to wipe ink of an actual model. Unfortunately, this technique does not work as well with matte paints, as the ink will be absorbed into the matte pigment, thus causing edge discoloration, and making it impossible to wipe away mistakes.

Tip size is very important to achieving the desired result. Optimally, the tip of the pen should be narrow enough to rest on the bottom of the seam groove, without touching the uppermost sides of the panel line groove, but wide enough that it does not wobble from side to side along the bottom of the groove. It can take some experimentation to find the tip size that works best for you, but the resulting line will appear much smoother once you have found the correct size.

Play with colors. Varying up the colors can make a dramatic difference in the final appearance. Think about the look you are going for. Many people like the stark black look of a drawn cartoon, but lighter tones, or even colors like reddish brown, can also be used to nice effect.

There is also a variation to the pen method, instead of markers, ink or paint, get a mechanical drafting pencil [Stadtler brand, for instance] at an art or drafting supply store. Be sure and get the kind that has a three or four jaw “chuck” at the front [much like a drill] but NOT the kind that automatically advances the lead as you click the end button... although the chuck-type pencil does use an end button to free up the lead.

You'll also need to get inexpensive “lead” [polymer or graphite], which comes in different hardness [try several kinds], and a sharpener specific to that type of drafting pencil. You needn't get the expensive four-inch diameter metal kind: Mars or Stadtler makes a perfectly workable one-inch diameter plastic sharpener for them too [in either style the pencil sharpens via a sort of stirring motion in the sharpener]. I used one for years as a tech illustrator. You'll also need to get a grey kneaded eraser to clean up errors or smears.

Then just sharpen your lead to the panel line thinness you want and draw on the model where you want, using plastic drafting templates and/or rulers as needed. Goofs are easily fixable by simply erasing and redoing: much easier than repainting! When the lines are done, spray over with matt or gloss finish to seal.

For variety/effect, you can also use conventional colored pencils.

The wash:

Another method for blacking panel lines is the use of thinned out paint, which is then carefully applied to model so that capillary action will carry the paint along the panel lines, since they are the lowest point on the surface.

This technique is much more difficult to master than the pen method, but has several advantages that might make it worth the trouble, depending on the result you desire. The biggest advantage to the wash method, is that it can be done with any color of paint you desire, allowing for a greater range of effects that the pen method. Another advantage is that when done correctly, it can produce a much cleaner, and regular line than pens typically do.

The major disadvantage to this method is that if done incorrectly it can quickly ruin a paint job, or even destroy a model. As such, I will go into a bit of detail of what not to do when using a wash.

The first and most important thing to pay attention to when doing a wash, is what you are using as a thinner. A common mistake is to use brush cleaner, or turpentine/turpenoid as a thinner. This will eat through a plastic model and destroy it, so don't do it! Another common mistake, is to use a thinner that is corrosive to the previous layers of paint, this runs a high risk of destroying your paint job, so be careful!

One of the best ways to safely apply a wash, is to do your base paint job in one type of paint, clear gloss coat over your paint job with the same type of paint, and then apply the wash with a less aggressive type of paint. This way you can easily apply or even remove the wash with no fear of it effecting the paint you laid down before the wash. As a general rule lacquer based paints, like Mr. Color and ModelMaster Metalizer, are the most aggressive, closely followed by enamel-based paints, like Humbrol or ModelMaster, with acrylics being the least aggressive. Of course, these are just general rules, and I would recommend testing various brands before actually trying a wash. However, if you are using a lacquer or enamel paint, acrylics make a perfect wash, because you can thin them with water, and clean them up with the same, thus risking no damage to your original paint job.

All of that said, I will get to how to apply a wash. First, you want to thin the wash color heavily. I will usually start with as much as 5 parts thinner (water for acrylics) to 1 part paint, and then thin even more from there depending on the effect I want. How much you thin depends on what you are trying to achieve, so you just have to play with it a little to get the hang of it. Then you put the wash on the model. How you put it on once again depends on what you are trying to do. Some people only wish to darken the panel lines, and therefore apply the wash to the edge of a panel line with a small brush, and allow capillary action to carry the paint along the panel line. Others wish to darken all low-lying areas and details, so will apply the wash to the entire surface area of the model part. Whichever way you apply the paint, you can then wipe unwanted excess away with a Q-tip moist with thinner. If the end result is not as dark as you would like, don't be afraid to apply another wash, as long as the first wash has not completely cured, you will still be able to cleanup with a Q-Tip.

Edge Gradients/Pre-shading:

This is by far the most complicated form of panel line enhancement, but can also offer some of the most stunning results. This technique requires an airbrush, and an understanding of how they work. There are a few different ways to achieve this effect, but the basic idea is to create a gradient running along the edge of the panel line, to accentuate the panel line. The main ways this can be achieved is either by underpainting, masking, or a combination of both.

By underpainting, what I mean is that you first paint a dark colored airbrush stroke that follows the panel line, then once that is dry, then put a thin coat of either a lighter color, or a transparent color, over the part, so that the first stroke blends into the second coat and appears to be a gradient. The trick with this method is to make sure not to apply too much paint on the second coat, if you do your gradient will be completely obscured, and you will have to start over. This can take quite a bit of practice to get right, and you have to carefully pick the colors you are using, to make sure the blend together well, but can look quite nice, so is well worth the trouble.

By masking, I mean to use frisket, masking tape or masking film to isolate each panel after your base paint job has been applied, then one panel at a time, spray a gradient of another color along the edge of that masked panel. The trick here is to never spray directly on the model itself. Spray, instead, on the masking material, or out to the side of the part, so that you only get the soft spillover at the edge of the airbrush stroke (called overspray) onto the model. This technique can be very time consuming and difficult, but much like a wash you can do it in several stages, with any color you want, to achieve a variety of effects.

Of course for extremely complicated panel line effects, you could combine Pre-shading, masking, washes, and even pen or pencil strokes to get some amazing, and truly time consuming, results!

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What are some recommended airbrush setups for an enclosed space like an apartment?




An airbrush setup is probably the single most expensive part of a decent modeling tool kit, and as such many people have strong personal preferences when it comes to particular brands and configurations. However, most can agree that the extra control and added accuracy make dual-action airbrushes far more useful than their single-action counterparts, and therefore worth the extra money. As far as brands go, there are several out there, and some of the favorites include Aztek, Paasche, Badger, and Iwata, but brand is less important than features. If you are getting the airbrush specifically for painting models, you need to make sure that it has a head capable of dealing with the fairly heavy paints used for models. You also might want to consider a low maintenance airbrush like the Aztek, or Paasche Millennium, if you do not want to have to completely take apart the airbrush between sessions.

The next concern is what kind of air supply you will be using. For painting models you really want to go with some sort of regulated constant air supply, like a compressor, or a large refillable air tank, as cans of propellant will get very expensive very quickly, and do not offer a very consistent supply of air on long painting sessions. The preferred method is to use a regulated compressor, but many people like the lower cost, but more inconvenient, air tank solution.

The thing to remember with compressors is that the main thing you are paying for is how quiet it is. For example you can get an extremely quiet (DB40 or less) HP compressor from Paasche that has a regulator, and a 4-gallon tank for around $800, or you can go to Sears and buy an extremely loud (DB 90 or so) Craftsman 2 HP compressor that has a regulator, and a 12-gallon tank for around $200. Personally, I recommend the Craftsman, because you only have to put up with the noise for ten minutes, then the tank is full, and you have hours of quiet airbrushing before the pressure drops to the point that the compressor needs to be turned back on, but many people prefer to just have an expensive studio compressor quietly humming along as they paint. Either way, having a compressor with an air tank, regulator, and water trap will greatly improve the quality of your finished paintjob. If your compressor does not have a regulator or water trap, you can always buy one and add it on. One of the nice things about compressors is that they all use standard connectors; so most accessories are not brand specific.

Just remember that the point here is to get a steady flow of moisture free air running through your airbrush at between 20-40 PSI. Don’t let a salesman talk you into spending more than you intend to with some promise of their compressor providing “better airflow.” As long as whatever device you use allows you to regulate the flow of air, filter out the moisture, and provides a steady flow (as opposed to a lot of tiny little bursts of air), then it will work just fine.

The final thing to think about is waste removal. An airbrush can generate a lot of fumes, as well as a lot of particulate matter. If you are working indoors, this can quickly become both a health risk, and a great way to ruin your furniture and carpets. The best solution for this is the use of what is commonly called a spray booth or vent hood. A spray booth is essentially a semi-enclosure of some sort, with a filter and a fan at the back that sucks the fumes and particulate matter into the filter. The simplest spray booths expel the fumes to the exterior of your workspace through a length of ductwork that you then run outside. Some of the fancier spray booths use a filtration system to clean the air then expel it back into your workspace. Some people buy commercially made spray booths, and others make their own, but either way, the use of some sort of spray booth is highly recommended if you are painting in a confined space. If you do attempt to make your own spray booth, one thing you should note is that both enamel and lacquer fumes are flammable, and there is a higher risk of combustion when those fumes are concentrated, so be sure to use a type of fan that will not rub, or otherwise generate sparks.

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What sorts of paints should I use on Vinyl?




Vinyl kits are made of semi-flexible PVC. As such, painting them can be difficult. Primers like Mr. Surfacer can help enamel and lacquer paints adhere to a vinyl kit, but any flex in the part can still cause cracking and chipping. In light of the flexibility issues, it is often advised to use acrylic paints on vinyl kits, since acrylics tend to be more flexible, and cling more readily to vinyl. Ultimately it is best to experiment, and see what works best for your needs, but acrylics are probably a good starting point.

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How do I cast my own parts?




Casting can, and in fact is, a subject for its own FAQ alone. So I have included some links to some sites describing how to cast your own parts.

From the RMS FAQ

A very technical, and complete FAQ from alt.sculpture

A brief run-through of the process

Resin Casting for Dummies!

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What are some common techniques for mech weathering models?




Of course any weathering technique used for any other type of modeling can be applied to a mech model, but there are a few techniques that tend to be some of the preferred methods among mech modelers. The first of these is to darken the paint job around any sharp edges. This is accomplished in much the same way as panel line pre-shading, except instead of masking the surface, and spraying on the masked area, you spray out away from the part, and let the darker overspray fall on the leading edge of the part. This gives the part the appearance of the sharp edges having gotten burned or having collected dirt, if you use a darker color. You can also make it appear as though the paint has worn off the sharp edges, by applying the same technique with a lighter color.

Another great effect that is very useful in mech modeling is that of metal fatigue. This can be achieved by applying a wash of different colors of metallic paints. You can thin to the desired consistency, and simply wash the desired piece with various colors to get the look of worn, or heat distressed metal.

Battle damage is also a very popular way to detail a kit. This can be achieved in many different ways, but for the most part you either use a knife to gouge pits in your model, or use a soldering iron to burn holes into your model. You can then take a brush with very little paint on it, and drybrush the area to bring out the raised detail, and accent the effect of damage having been done.

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How do I paint anime eyes?




Here is a Great How-To

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What are these abbreviations?




GunPla: Gundam Plastic

Often used to refer to Gundam modeling as a hobby, or to the models themselves.


Plamo: Plastic Model(s)

Often used to refer to modeling as a hobby, or to the models themselves.


Retconned: Retroactive Continuity

Used to indicate that something has been rewritten or redesigned after the fact, presumably to better fit with the story/design continuity as it currently stands.


MS: Mobile Suit

The name given to the giant robots in the Gundam Saga. Often used as a generic term for any piloted robot of approximately Gundam size.


MSV: Mobile Suit Variation

A line of old Bandai original kit designs that featured quite a bit of back story created to explain the different variations.


MSiA: Mobile Suit in Action

A line of PVC Bandai Gundam toys in approximately 1:200 scale.


PG: Perfect Grade

Bandai’s highest quality line of kits. These kits are typically in 1:60 scale, and feature complicated internal skeletons, high amounts of external details, and many other extras, such as snap-fit construction and color molding.


MG: Master Grade

A line of Bandai plastic models in 1:100 scale. MG models are typically of higher quality than their earlier 1:100 predecessors, and feature high external detail, as well as detailed interior parts, and other extras like snap-fit construction and color molding.


HG: High Grade

This was once a designation meaning the top of Bandai’s model line, but now is the base grade for Bandai kits, and as such does not mean anything more than snap-fit construction and color molding.


HGUC: High Grade Universal Century

A line of Bandai HG kits in 1:144 scale, consisting entirely of suits from the Universal Century saga of the Gundam universe.


FG: First Grade

These models harken back to the old days of Bandai models, and feature low prices and no other features at all. Strictly your basic cheap kit, with limited articulation, and no color molding.


LM: Limited Model

The only grade below FG. These models feature, poor moldings, bad fit, cheap plastic, and next to no articulation.


SD: Super Deformed

A line of inexpensive Bandai models depicting mobile suits with shortened torsos, enlarged heads, and generally widened proportions, so as to make the suit look like a caricatured version of the original. This term is also often used to refer to anything depicted in this style.

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Who are these people?




Max Watanabe

Hobby Japan Magazine’s resident master modeler. Considered by most as one of the best modelers working with anime subjects, Max Watanabe has long been the example to look up to for many anime modelers.


Hajime Katoki

One of the most popular modern mechanical designers working on Gundam designs, Hajime Katoki got his start with a series of designs that ran in Model Graphix magazine, under the name Gundam Sentinel. He now works for Bandai, as their main designer for most of their Gundam models. His illustrations are also often the inspiration for garage kits, which are usually then designated “ver. Ka” meaning Katoki’s version.


Mamoru Nagano

Considered by some to be the best mechanical designer ever, Nagano’s distinctive work on Z Gundam, L-Gaim, and the manga series of his own creation named Five Star Stories, has won him a following of extremely devoted fans who hold his designs above most others. Nagano’s work is usually characterized by a heavier bent towards fantasy inspired styling, than most other designers.


Kunio Ookawara

The man responsible for the Gundam, Ookawara has had some level of involvement with every Gundam show ever made. His work on such pivotal shows as Gundam, Dougram, VOTOMS, and others, helped introduce the modern idea of the “mech” as a machine of war, as opposed to the older idea of the “hero robot.” Ookawara’s designs


Shoji Kowamori

Probably one of the most popular Mechanical designers in all of anime, Shoji Kowamori, has done designs for everything from Macross to Cowboy BeBop. Kowamori has been involved with a number of series, including Gundam, and his work has certainly had a big influence on anime mechanical design.


Yutaka Izubuchi

A very influential mechanical designer, with a large fan following, Izubuchi has brought his clean, modern stylings to many shows including Gundam 0080, Char's Counterattack, Patlabor, and Gasaraki.


Makoto Kobayashi

Best known for his work on Z Gundam, Makoto Kobayashi is both an innovative mechanical designer, and master modeler. Most of Kobayashi’s designs are best known by their wide girth, hyper-detailing, and semi-organic look.


Kazuhisa Kondo

Best known for his manga work, including his manga adaptation of the original Mobile Suit Gundam and several side stories, Kondo's mechanical designs are often confused with those of Makato Kobayashi, due to both strong styling simularities, and the fact that the two commonly use each others designs in their own work.


Kow Yokoyama

Probably best known for the SF3D series of models, Kow Yokoyama continues to have a huge cult following for his mech designs, great models, and beautiful paintings.

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