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Now…on to the kit!!
Examine all the pieces of your kit to make sure the mold lines are clean and that there are no little bits of resin hanging off.
Next assemble your tools. At bare minimum you could get by with some superglue, a toothpick and a little 2 part epoxy. However, having a few other tools and materials can make the job much easier and the end result much better.I used a drill, a dremel, some aluminum armature wire, sandpaper, superglue, superglue accelerant, an x-acto knife, and a small small hobby file at different stages.
Now that you have your dragon laid out and your tools gathered, let’s start by preparing the individual pieces to be glued together.
The first thing to do is check the fit between the pieces you’re about to glue. I’m very pleased with how well Mountain View Studios cast my work but it is just the nature of model kits to have small imperfections that need to be fixed. While I was putting together 6 kits, I picked out the pieces that needed to be patched the most so that you’d have good examples for this tutorial. Your kit might not need some of these steps.
In the pictures below we can see an example of the tail not quite fitting to the body.
The problem is that there is a little extra resin on the base of the tail that needs to be cleaned away. You can use an exacto, sandpaper, file or a dremel to clean this up. Go slowly no matter what tool you’re using and only remove the excess resin or you’ll have a bigger seam to patch.
Go slowly and check the fit between the two pieces often. Get them to fit as best you can.
Now that the pieces fit together, it’s time to glue them. Smear a thin layer of superglue on one piece and press together firmly. If you have a helper handy then you can use accelerant to speed up the process a bit.
Repeat this process with each of the limbs.
While most of the joints fit together really easily with a small seam, the exception is the Left Wing. This piece has a bit of a gap sometimes and I recommend pinning it to the body. Some people like to pin all the joints and that is perfectly fine too.
To pin a piece you need to drill a hole that is fairly close in diameter to the pinning wire you’ll be using. Any type of wire can be used but I recommend the thicker aluminum wire you can find at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby or other arts and craft stores. Sometimes it’s in the jewelry section.
I’m going to switch to a kit that had a little more of a gap to illustrate how I patch seams. Patching can seem a little daunting at first and makes the kit look worse before it looks better but it’s an important step to make your sculpture look good up close. There are many types of materials that you can use to patch kits. Super sculpey, green stuff from GamesWorkshop, Procreate 2 part epoxy (one of my favorites) Magic Sculpt (what I use for this tutorial), Aves apoxie Sculpt, etc.
I recommend using gloves to mix Magic Sculpt and any of the two part epoxies. If you don’t use them very often it is probably ok to do the patchwork without gloves if you wash your hands thoroughly afterward but be careful.
Now, here’s our ugly gap that we need to take care of. Remember, things are going to look worse before they look better but don’t worry and have patience and you’ll make the seams disappear.
As you can see, this is worse than the first picture of this wing we saw and most kits aren’t this bad. The first thing to do after you’ve thoroughly mixed your patching material is to fill the gap completely. Push the material down into the gap and pack it thoroughly.
Next, look at the top of the muscle on the body and the bottom on the arm. Connect the two with a strip of patching material.
Now you’re ready to patch the rest of the seam. Lay the patching material along the line of the seam and smooth it in to the resin. Water really helps this process with most materials. Wet your fingers and the patch will smooth right down. If you’re using super sculpey, you’ll need to brush a thin layer of vaseline/petroleum jelly onto the area you’re working on.
Now that you’ve covered the seam and it looks hideous, do not panic. Play with your pet and breathe deeply…
To fix the ugly patch we need to texture it to match the dragon’s skin. To do this you can cheat like I do or you can recreate the scales by carefully carving them in with a small tool of your choice. I use small, hollow, aluminum and brass tubes that you can find at hobby stores. Typically Michael’s and Hobby Lobby don’t carry these. Look for a store that specializes in Radio Controlled cars. For some reason those stores typically carry these tubes. I cut an end off of a tube and whack it gently with a hammer to make the opening a bit irregular. You don’t want to have perfect circles on your dragon’s skin or it won’t look right at all.
Start with the biggest tube and work your way down. Wet the end of the tube or it will stick to the patching material unless you’re using super sculpey.
Press it into the patch in a random pattern and then move down to the next size tube. Keep doing this until you’re working with the smallest tube.
Don’t worry if the pattern doesn’t look right in the beginning. It all comes together when you use the tiniest tool. Be careful to try to smoothly transition the edge of the patch into the texture of the resin. The smallest tool really helps with this.
Yes, the contrast between the white patch and the black resin looks terrible, but after a bit of primer…
It all but disappears.
Now repeat this patching process on all the other seams. Don’t worry, the left wing is the hardest to do. Once you get that one, the rest are cake.
Once everything is patched up, spray the kit with a black primer (testors, krylon, or a good primer for miniatures all work well) and let him dry and you’ll be ready to paint him up!!!
Feel free to email me with any questions you have: email@example.com
Be sure to send us pictures of your results!!