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Fordhampton Plastic Kits

Let's Get Started - An Introduction to Kit Building

Terry Smith




In the first of the articles to accompany our new Fordhampton range of plastic kits, TERRY SMITH explains the basic items you need to get building.

Fordhampton Plastic Kits

Glues and Adhesives

We all over the years must have built a plastic construction kit, whether it was a simple model Spitfire as a child or one of those huge 1/12th scale high detailed Formula 1 car kits that came out of Japan in the 1970ís. The art of putting something together and looking back at it saying "I made that" has an almost timeless appeal.However before we just open the box, push the instructions to one side and start glueing pieces randomly together, letís try to make life a little easier for ourselves.
Firstly give some consideration as which glue you wish to use. Many years ago Styrene glue was usually supplied in a tube which was like a smaller version of a toothpaste tube. Although this type of glue is still available there are other options available which do the same job, but it all boils down to personal preference.
The traditional glue or cement can still be bought and a good example and a modern take on this type is the DLAD-70 Plastic Kit Glue from Deluxe Materials. It sets faster than the glues of old and now comes in a plastic bottle with a fine plastic applicator. Over the years many have found favour with the brush on type of plastic cement that uses capillary action to bond the gap between two pieces and again Deluxe offer this type of glue under the name of DLAD-24 Plastic Magic.
A personal favourite is the FA170490 Super Expert Glue from Faller, which we used with no issues on the construction of the Fordhampton kits. The plastic bottle features a fine metal tube applicator which accurately places the glue just where it needs to be. Before we leave glues sometimes where there is a mix of materials used plastic glue will not do. Take for example the black plastic wire supplied in the Level Crossing and Signal Box kits, this would be better attached using a Cyano type glue with the slightly thicker DLAD-45 Rocket Max being the ideal adhesive.

Tools

After picking your glue of choice the next thing you need for perfect kit construction is cutting blade. We use the GM616 Soft Grip Cutting Knife, which comes complete with five spare scalpel blades. This lightweight but well constructed knife is a pleasure to use and should give years of service despite its moderate price. One bit of advice is to replace the blades as soon as they start to lose sharpness otherwise they tend to start tearing at the plastic that you are cuttting, and this then just gives you more work trying to clean it up!
Although not entirely necessary a cutting mat such as those offered by Gaugemaster are also a good investment, with the GM602 A4 Cutting Mat being big enough for most plastic kit construction including the Fordhampton range. Cutting pieces away from their sprues seems easier and more satisfying when done on a mat and of course protects the surface of any table you are using, and a useful habit is to lay out a sheet of newspaper to place your mat and your kit parts on for further protection.

Instructions?

Finally for this instalment read the instructions! It is so easy to look at the parts and think that you know where they go, but often there are parts of a kit that look identical but can applied to the opposite side or another part of the model. Help is at hand as with our kits, as almost all the parts have the part number moulded onto the sprue which makes them easy to identify.

More hints on improving the models with paints in the next article.

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