Thursday 11 December 2014

Prepping and working with Vinyl kits

I recently embarked on a rescue project. In the stash of Alien kits I bought a decade or so ago, was a rather special piece: a 1:60 scale vinyl Space Jockey (naturally, from the Halcyon range). The box art shows the scene from Alien when Dallas, Lambert and Kane discover the corpse of an alien being, slumped in a very phallic chair (straight out of Giger's Necronomicon), with a hole in its chest, seemingly created by something bursting out from the inside.

The kit itself is made up of few parts, but, as it's a vinyl kit, it's more detailed than injection plastic. There are, however, some consturction dangers to be aware of. Whoever had attempted to build this was clearly a vinyl newb. The prep wasn't thought through; mistakes had been made, and the paintwork was terrible.

Paint stripping was achieved with neat Dettol - and then scrubbing with about 3 old toothbrushes. Once the old paint was removed, and the model assembled, I primed the whole thing in Alclad II grey primer. It's lacquer-based, and dries properly and without residue. I've made the mistake in the (way-distant) past to use acrylic can-primer, and the vinyl stayed tacky for weeks - and then I binned the model.

I made a change to the scene suggested in the box art - instead of the 3 crewmen first finding the Jockey, I've posed the figures so that Kane looking down the hole to what will be the egg chamber, and Dallas and Lambert inspecting the chest cavity on the fossilised pilot. This is the pivotal moment in the film - the 'curiosity killed the cat' point of no return.

No photos on this one - but watch the video. It's a bit of an experiment for me - presenting to camera and live commentary while working.

Things to consider when working with vinyl - call them rules, if you want.

1. Heat up the parts before cutting or reshaping - soak in hot water or use a hairdryer.
2. Use a brand new blade to cut with - and cut away from you!
3. Cool the parts with cold water to fix your reshaped part.
4. Glue using 2-part epoxy, not superglue. Elastic bands and clamps are essential.
5. Prime with lacquer-based paint. Acrylic primer stays tacky/sticky on the vinyl, and is almost impossible to remove. As is a misspelled word in a video. Lacquer. Not Laquer. Duh.

As always, please leave comments below, or on the video - thanks for reading and watching!

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