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Techniques for assemble / modify of collectors trading kits

Posted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:01
by Russ
Area for techniques on assembling and improving or modifying 1/144 plastic trading collectors kit or gashapon models.

Articles needed.

Re: Techniques for assemble / modify of collectors trading k

Posted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:17
by Russ
Fortunately, basic assembly of collectors trading kits, sometimes referred to as "Gashapon" models in the countries they are originated from, is a built-in design. These models are made to go together with as little effort, time and consideration as possible. The end result is a collectible and one that is a compromise of ease of assembly and final details and precision.


First - a bit of background. Collectors kits have been around largely for a dozen years, starting in the early 2000's or late 1990's. They were at first made by just a few makers but are now a widening list of sources. They are in a variety of scales but a large number of the aircraft and armor subjects are in our incredibly useful 1/144th scale. Some larger subjects like ships and big airliners and sci-fi items are more commonly into scales of 1/200, 1/300, 1/400, and 1/700. The scales are designed to give the collector an item about the size of one hand or both hands in the case of multi-engined planes. The scale also allows for a big collection to be had in a space that does not fill a room. The boxes they are packaged in are meant to be packed into small displays or even vended from machines. The subjects are largely aimed at children of Japan and then the Orient in general, and finally the wider audience of the world. So, if there is a focus on Japanese airplanes and ships and the mecha robots so often featured in Anime (animated films) or in various Manga (comics - or graphic novels if you prefer), it is obvious as to why. Still, there are a wider range of subjects as interest and sales increase for these collectibles. There is a thriving market on Ebay and private vendors for these items. Older and discontinued subjects or certain rare color-schemes/markings versions are often in great demand and fetch bid prices well outside thier originals, sometimes 10 times or 20 times the original. This is because rather than just one basic color and marking type, the real magic of the collectors model is versions. The same airplane, tank or car form can be reproduced in a wide range of colors and markings.,often with special add-on parts or additional decals to customize them. Some subjects may have DOZENS of versions, but all seem to have at least 4 or 5, and then maybe just a few "specials" of very unique markings or colors, some even hypothetical or "what-if" ideas, like an airplane in the colors of a different nation or a tank in various states of weathering and concealment. These models are usually made of ABS type soft plastic with clear parts of varying degrees of transparency. They are painted with very colorfast and rugged finishes, and often marked with basic markings with a small decal selection to allow for a few different machines, like various planes flown by famous pilots or tanks from various land campaigns.
Overall, the molding is good to excellent, some even superlative. There are features like spinning propellors and tires and also some may come with effects like lights inside of jet nozzles or motorised propellors. Others will have some small diorama items or even a vehicle to accompany an aircraft, or a small display base and many come with the classic elevated display stand and have a slot or holes in the plane for these to mount to. Some armor kits have a small plastic capsule "display case" for each one, much like the NASCAR kits.
A few are (were) made almost like a standard model kit with all of the pre-painted and decal-ed parts on molded sprues or "trees" if you will, and required being cut out, trimmed and assembled. Often these were made with very well engineered and molded pins, sockets and tabs and could be assembled WITHOUT GLUE. Often the parts added would trap and hold earlier parts and the last part would key it all together. From a nation that created origami, it was just inevitable and for many of us, really fascinating to work with. Most are now however already built up with just small parts and optional parts like wheels up or down or added weapons to be snapped into place, and many can be ready for the shelf in ten minutes.


Some collectors are like the collectors of comics or figurines and the models never leave thier packages. Others of us will discard packaging and make these up as would be for full regular kit models by adding such things as:

Glued parts instead of just snapped into place. Seams filled and sanded.
Opened canopies or tank hatches or car doors.
weathering or additional painted details or different decals.
completely different color schemes, by stripping them down and repainting, or overpainting the original color.
modifications such as more or different weapons, different engines, extra or less crew seatings, different antennas or fittings.

Some of us have found these models to be a good source of parts for scratchbuilding other airplane or tank types or vehicles. Often a dealer will be left with a few extra models unsold of a certain type - a classic marketing dilemma, other subjects sold fast and some not at all or very slowly. These are often discounted and sold for very inexpensive prices and can be sourced for wing panels, wheels, tank tracks and cannons, aero engines, fuselages and clear parts and decals.


The collectors kit model Gashapon or trading-toy or even "Candy-trading-toy" (because some of them also come with a stick of gum or another sweet in the box - but only for thier domestic markets) is a very useful and welcome addition to the 144th scale model collector and artist.
They stand beside traditional styrene, resin, diecast metal or paper subject kits and enhance many of our collections. For those with limited time, tools or beginning skills, they are great doorway to the hobby.
Personally, they actually got me back into modelmaking after a long hiatus after an even longer collecting and building time in the 1/72 scale.

This is just an overview of the subject, so please feel free and encouraged as KG144 members to add your experiences, tips, sources and methods regarding these model forms here.

Re: Techniques for assemble / modify of collectors trading k

Posted: Thu May 05, 2016 8:08
by Wege
Additional tips. (ne ne ne Ne NECRO-POST!)

Isoprol alcohol works really well at stripping the paint off of the plastic off of the Bf109 and Fw190 of the Ftoys Select vol.1.

I have yet to find a stripper of the paint for Bandais Bf109K. Do not use Acetone on this model - it will melt the grey plastic beneath (as I just found out) So far it has resisted Iso. Alc., Oven cleaner, turps, meths,

Re: Techniques for assemble / modify of collectors trading k

Posted: Thu May 05, 2016 10:21
by pbhawkin
Ad Ad Adding to a Necro post....
Perhaps try a light sand with fine grade paper and then just paint over without worrying about removing the original paint?

Re: Techniques for assemble / modify of collectors trading k

Posted: Thu May 05, 2016 10:26
by Wege
I will try that next time - the issue was the yellow.. which was a very bright RLM 27esque colour.
I also since bought some grey to use as a possible RLM77 (which I think will work!) which is also one of the roughest feeling 'matt textures' I have felt from Humbrol... and is a 'new' tin too.

Re: Techniques for assemble / modify of collectors trading k

Posted: Fri May 20, 2016 8:44
by TonyG2
I usually take the fully or partly assembled models apart anyway in order to clean up, improve fit etc before reassembly.

With F-Toys recent models that is hardly a chore. They tend to have fallen apart before the box is opened :D

Once split apart, keep the parts carefully. Sounds obvious. Until you start hunting for a part that has now been digested by the carpet monster. Almost as bad, you can't work out what came from where and the basic instruction sheet doesn't help.

I use a mix of sanding sticks and files to remove any paint from joining surfaces etc, smooth down for a better fit. Touch up the paint in the cockpit. Where possible (and if my eyesight is up to it) add a suggestion of controls, a sliver of clear plastic for a HUD etc. Touch up the ejector seat, paint the pilot (where provided and if including). Then reassemble and glue using an ABS compatible liquid cement such as plasticweld. I tend to brush a small amount on the mating surfaces and then use a very fine brush to run glue into the gap through capilary action.

Unless I am doing a full repaint, I avoid sanding the joins after gluing. I try to camoflage the joints with some weathering. I use a Gundam fine marker (usually grey) to mark out the panel lines. Let that dry then remove most of the paint in the panel lines using a Qtip dampened in a little isopropyl alcohol. I may get a tad more ambitious with jet exhausts, dry brush some metallic brown and blue to give a burned metal look etc. Maybe more heavily weathered on certain operational models such as a Tornado which can look pretty grubby.

Finish construction, add the fiddly bits and decals.