Realistic finishes for cast resin kits are fun and easy!
Easy Methods for Painting Resin Kits
by George Riley/photos by the author
Resin detail parts and even complete kits are gaining wide spread popularity in model railroading. The resin medium allows manufacturers or even the modeler the ability to produce specialized items inexpensively and in short runs thereby allowing a vast range of unique details that would not otherwise be available.
Working with resin parts is equally easy since few specialized tools or techniques are needed to cut, shape or trim the castings. Usually all that is required is a sharp modeler's knife, a few files and fine sand paper. Resin drills easily as well using either a pin vise for smaller bits or a low RPM cordless drill. Joining the parts is easily accomplished using either CA or epoxy glue.
For this project an HO scale Wharf and Floating Dock from Model Tech Studios was used. Model Tech manufactures a respectable range of useful maritime themed kits and details. Bringing out the details cast into our models only required paint and weathering. The process that is used is outlined for you in the following five steps. This system works equally well for rolling stock, structures, scenery or even figures.
Step One: Begin by cleaning any flash from the castings with your modeling knife and files. The preparation that you do at this point will make a big difference in the completed model. Once satisfied with the cleanup all of the parts should be washed to remove mold release. Sylvan Scale Models offers a product that works extremely well called "ResinPrep." If you don't have access to this product a good detergent or dishwashing liquid can be used.
Allow the parts to air dry completely before moving on. With all the parts thoroughly clean assemble the parts and add any loose details. Prime each of the assemblies with a gray spray primer. Large inexpensive aerosol cans are available at hardware, paint or home improvement stores. Allow the primer to dry for several days until it is fully cured and there is no longer any paint smell present.
Step Two: In this step the base colors are applied. Polly Scale Railroad Tie and Track Brown and Pullman Green are used. Paint all the assemblies overall with the brown and allow to dry. Mask off the waterline and paint this area with the Pullman Green. This simulates the various marine growths that grow up to the high tide mark. Don't worry if some of the brown shows through. An airbrush was used for both these steps, however, brush painting works equally well since the paint should not be uniform over the entire structures.
Step Three: Paint the small details with appropriate colors of paint. Various shades of Polly Scale browns, white, reds and black were used on the various details. The barnacles on the main wharf were dry brushed using Polly Scale Aged White. Dry bushing involves using a stiff bristle brush that is first dipped into the paint and then most of the paint is wiped off on a cloth. The brush is the "scrubbed" over the surface highlighting the raised details. Allow the paint to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.
Step Four: To bring out the wood grain and heighten the effect of the detail a black wash is applied. This was consists of Polly Scale Steam Era Black diluted with water to which a few drops of Photo Flow or dishwashing detergent are added as a wetting agent. Mix the wash as you go so that there are variations in color and depth. Each side is painted and allowed to dry before doing the next. This prevents puddling of the wash around the base and gives a more even and controllable finish. If you feel that the wash is too dark add more water, if too light add more paint. Bear in mind that once dry, the wash will be much lighter in shade than when it was applied.
Step Five: The final step involves dry brushing the entire model to bring out the highlights and blend the various steps together. Testors Model Master Light Ghost Gray is used for the overall dry brushing step. Scrub the paint over the surfaces and watch the detail pop. A final touch of rust on the metal bolts and cleats completes the model. The wharf and floating dock are now ready to be added to the layout and blended into the scenery.