Professional Model Making Techniques: Are there any books out there ?

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Vacformedhero

Sr Member
Hi Everyone,
Is there any books out there on some of the techniques used in making modern professional models. I have read a lot of the film related books but technique is not always covered .......like materials, adhesion methods etc ?
I know this is a very open question but if there is any reference book you found as a model builder that helped you build more robust miniatures I would appreciate it
Thanks
Brian
 

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trooper

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
fon Davis has a couple DVD's out on building models, vacuum forming, making molds and casting resin
 

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Vacformedhero

Sr Member
Thanks Leigh and spherical Thor , this is what I'm looking for personal recommendations of books you actually got something from
 

OB10

Sr Member
I don't know that they'd be considered professional building techniques, but growing up, I learned a lot from some how-to scale modeling books from my local hobby shop. They were mostly how to assemble model kits and some customizing, not so much about total scratch building. The subjects were mostly traditional model kits: cars, planes, tanks, etc. But I think a lot of the serious amateur model builders use pretty much the same techniques as the pros. And since they were older books, they didn't really cover molding, resins, and stuff. Sadly, I don't remember the names of the books offhand.

There are a bunch of awesome books and mags that CultTVMan carries. I've found Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller to have some great info and demonstrations in it. It's an expensive magazine, but has some great stuff in it. If you can find the earlier version of the magazine (they sorta went out of business, or at least out of publication 10 or 15 years ago), those also had some great info in them, too.

CultTVMan's books and magazines are here: http://www.culttvmanshop.com/MagazinesBooksDVDs_c_11.html

Okay, I found some of the books I learned with:
http://www.amazon.com/How-Build-Plastic-Aircraft-Models/dp/0890240655/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1JFB78ECH8TMHFTQ985C

http://www.amazon.com/Building-Plastic-Models-Robert-Schleicher/dp/0890245274/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1GCK9WW8KJV1TNR7HJ5N

http://www.amazon.com/Hints-Tips-Plastic-Modeling-Angle/dp/0890245460/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=1JFB78ECH8TMHFTQ985C

And Leigh, that book looks pretty interesting!
 

swgeek

Sr Member

Mysta2

Member
I'm a professional model maker, have been for about a decade, we just make it up as we go.

That's of course said tongue in cheek, but really it's pretty true. I learned from those before me and there's a ton, a TON, of personal preference. Some love silicone, some love epoxy, some love bondo, some love putty, and it really all depends on circumstance.

Also we are driven by deadlines and budgets, we make a lot of compromises based on these two factors. Just last week I finished up a model of an oil refinery, a residential HVAC system (house cutaway) and a commercial building cutaway that I could have spent months detailing and making really cool, but I did them all in one week, because that's when they needed to ship and that's what the client wanted to pay for.

This web forum is a much better source of knowledge and insight than any book.
 

Vacformedhero

Sr Member
I'm a professional model maker, have been for about a decade, we just make it up as we go.

That's of course said tongue in cheek, but really it's pretty true. I learned from those before me and there's a ton, a TON, of personal preference. Some love silicone, some love epoxy, some love bondo, some love putty, and it really all depends on circumstance.

Also we are driven by deadlines and budgets, we make a lot of compromises based on these two factors. Just last week I finished up a model of an oil refinery, a residential HVAC system (house cutaway) and a commercial building cutaway that I could have spent months detailing and making really cool, but I did them all in one week, because that's when they needed to ship and that's what the client wanted to pay for.

This web forum is a much better source of knowledge and insight than any book.
Thanks for that....I am a very practical man, I used to install HAVC and refrigeration systems a while back and have installed full kitchens in 2 of my homes , but I over engineer when I try and scratchbuild, a ship I came up with as a concept when the last star wars trilogy was announced, it was my take on a Prequil Y wing.....wow was I gut punched when the ships came out clean and prestine, anyway I like the art deco ships of the PT now LOL , When I revisited my hidden stash as I began work on the Hasbro Falcon I realised that in some cases superglue and painting held up well, in others it fell apart from a lack of material knowledge and how they can be bonded to each other, I may revisit this concept after I finish the Falcon.
Now I am investing so much in the Hasbro I want to make sure it "Holds together"
I appreciate there is no one stop shop for answers and I'll have to suck it and see with most of it .....but I really appreciate the engineering in the studio models that are mean't to be only used for a short period but end up being handled roughly and shipped around the world and are still exceptional .
I did subscribe to Sci Fi and Fantasy Modelling for many years so have some interesting interviews, but like many books they don't talk about the core structures and building with FibreGlass , acrylic etc. for Ships.
Appreciate the feedback
 

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Mysta2

Member
Ah, well speaking to the specifics that you mentioned of superglue not holding up.

Super glue is never my first choice, it can glue almost anything to almost anything else, but it is very hard and therefore brittle after it sets up. It will not hold under vibration or any kind of expansion of differing materials, it snaps off if anything moves. Never glue anything flexible to anything else with superglue if you need it to stay.

My absolute first choice for plastic will always be solvent (WeldOn 3 for styrene, ABS and acrylic) Solvent is awesome for so many reasons (and it sucks for a few)
Theoretically when you bond two pieces of styrene with solvent there is nothing left after evaporation but the plastic, all the solvent does is melt the plastics and allow you to literally weld them together (this is a chemical weld) This is why it's incorrect to refer to solvent as a glue, it's not a glue, it's a bonding agent.
And oh my god the wicking! If you're unfamiliar with how wicking works, it's amazing. You do need good fitting surfaces for this to work well but when you place those pieces together and just touch a paintbrush loaded with WeldOn to the seam it shoots out of the brush and all across your seam (this is best demonstrated with clear acrylic)
All that being said, solvent will not work if you have gaps. Or if your parts are painted, it destroys paint and you cant really bond paint to paint if you want it to last.

Second option is often silicone (clear E6000 is amazing, it's really a silicone adhesive rather than a simple silicone) Silicone is less ideal when you have little surface area to glue, but if you have a good amount of space, where solvent may not wick all the way across, silicone will hold forever. Unlike solvent it is a glue meaning it's bodily holding two things together. It does dry, but it doesn't ever get hard or brittle, so it handles stress with no trouble. You could glue a teddy bear to a brick wall in the middle of an earthquake with a reasonable amount of E6000.
Also it's pretty non reactive meaning it will not melt paint or substrate materials like solvent will. Silicone you might call a last step glue while solvent is a first step "glue". I will often solvent bond sub assemblies, paint them, and then put it all together with silicone.
Another benefit of silicone is that whatever squishes out of your seam, you can just cut or tear off after it's fully dried (make sure to wait for it to fully dry)
The working time can be a benefit or a weakness, it's relatively slow cure (measured in hours) That means you have plenty of time to get your placement right. It also means that if you get up and walk away after half an hour holding it, your parts might just slide right off each other.
If you don't have much surface area, i would not use silicone though, it's flexibility is as much an asset as it is a liability and it's possible to tear it right off if leverage is applied.

Epoxy is a great option, it has most of the benefits of silicone with a shorter working time. But if it squishes out there's not much you can do about it.

And believe it or not, hot glue is a great option. Working time is nearly non existent (good and bad)
One of its best features is the fact that it will hold on for ever, but if you soak it in or even rub it down with denatured alcohol it pops right off leaving no residue behind (Caviat: there are a million types and brands of hot glue and I have not tried nearly all of them so there may be some where this does not work)
 

Vacformedhero

Sr Member
Ah, well speaking to the specifics that you mentioned of superglue not holding up.

Super glue is never my first choice, it can glue almost anything to almost anything else, but it is very hard and therefore brittle after it sets up. It will not hold under vibration or any kind of expansion of differing materials, it snaps off if anything moves. Never glue anything flexible to anything else with superglue if you need it to stay.

My absolute first choice for plastic will always be solvent (WeldOn 3 for styrene, ABS and acrylic) Solvent is awesome for so many reasons (and it sucks for a few)
Theoretically when you bond two pieces of styrene with solvent there is nothing left after evaporation but the plastic, all the solvent does is melt the plastics and allow you to literally weld them together (this is a chemical weld) This is why it's incorrect to refer to solvent as a glue, it's not a glue, it's a bonding agent.
And oh my god the wicking! If you're unfamiliar with how wicking works, it's amazing. You do need good fitting surfaces for this to work well but when you place those pieces together and just touch a paintbrush loaded with WeldOn to the seam it shoots out of the brush and all across your seam (this is best demonstrated with clear acrylic)
All that being said, solvent will not work if you have gaps. Or if your parts are painted, it destroys paint and you cant really bond paint to paint if you want it to last.

Second option is often silicone (clear E6000 is amazing, it's really a silicone adhesive rather than a simple silicone) Silicone is less ideal when you have little surface area to glue, but if you have a good amount of space, where solvent may not wick all the way across, silicone will hold forever. Unlike solvent it is a glue meaning it's bodily holding two things together. It does dry, but it doesn't ever get hard or brittle, so it handles stress with no trouble. You could glue a teddy bear to a brick wall in the middle of an earthquake with a reasonable amount of E6000.
Also it's pretty non reactive meaning it will not melt paint or substrate materials like solvent will. Silicone you might call a last step glue while solvent is a first step "glue". I will often solvent bond sub assemblies, paint them, and then put it all together with silicone.
Another benefit of silicone is that whatever squishes out of your seam, you can just cut or tear off after it's fully dried (make sure to wait for it to fully dry)
The working time can be a benefit or a weakness, it's relatively slow cure (measured in hours) That means you have plenty of time to get your placement right. It also means that if you get up and walk away after half an hour holding it, your parts might just slide right off each other.
If you don't have much surface area, i would not use silicone though, it's flexibility is as much an asset as it is a liability and it's possible to tear it right off if leverage is applied.

Epoxy is a great option, it has most of the benefits of silicone with a shorter working time. But if it squishes out there's not much you can do about it.

And believe it or not, hot glue is a great option. Working time is nearly non existent (good and bad)
One of its best features is the fact that it will hold on for ever, but if you soak it in or even rub it down with denatured alcohol it pops right off leaving no residue behind (Caviat: there are a million types and brands of hot glue and I have not tried nearly all of them so there may be some where this does not work)
Brilliant , thanks for that explanation, I am clearer on the differences , and thanks for opening my eyes to the potential of hot glue, usually the preserve of costume makers I would never considered it for rigid structures......you have given me plenty to go ahead and test with , thanks again.

great quote btw "You could glue a teddy bear to a brick wall in the middle of an earthquake with a reasonable amount of E6000."
 

Vacformedhero

Sr Member
Thanks jbergenudd , I'm a big fan of tested.com and the one day builds (cannot wait to see adam tackle weathering of the falcon )
 

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