I thought, following my review of Amera’s plastic island set I’d write a post about working with resin (I apologise for the poor photos, my camera died leaving me with just the wife’s iPhone (other smartphones are available)). Specifically scenery. This isn’t a how-to guide per se more just the differences in working with resin as a material over plastic.
The first thing to remember is; Resin is not your friend. It’s fragile, it’s easy to ruin, it’s often badly cast with badly fitting components, it’s shavings are toxic, it’s weight makes it tiring to work with & it doesn’t like being painted.
The second thing to remember is; some of the nicest models ever made have been cast in resin.
So what should one do when working with resin?
Rank & File
It’s important to filed down the rough edges and bits of flash. Depending on the type of resin and the complexity of the casting there can be an awful lot of cleaning up to do. Resin is funny stuff. It’s a big to file and often be very timing consuming. Not because it’s terribly tough stuff, but quite the opposite in fact. Resin will practically melt beneath the gaze of a standard needle file. But the shavings will also get stuck in the grooves to the point that after a minute or so you’re filing resin with resin.
An emery board is the perfect file for resin as it’ll do the job without gouging the resin. I, however, couldn’t find my two emery boards so instead I went against my own advice and used a needle file. The resin used for this fantasy house is not the best grade so the rough approach was exactly what it needed to get rid of all the flash and mould lines.
Keep it Clean
One of the byproducts of casting resin is the hideous residue that is left all over the pieces. It’s not something you can see or touch but it’s there and if you attempt to paint over a resin cast without washing it first, all you’ll achieve is creating some very interesting splodges sat on the resin like a spilled drink in zero gravity. Most will tell you to wash, literally wash, your resin in a sink full of hot soapy water. Although this is good advice, there’s two things wrong with it – 1. it takes ages to dry, and if one drop of water is left when you undercoat you are simply buggered. 2. any washing up liquid left to dry out will make your paint flake.
So my Shell Case top tip is use general purpose anti-bac wipes. They do the exact same job as washing up liquid, if not better, without soaking the model and it’ll dry within a few minutes. You may need a couple just to make sure you’ve been thorough but it’s quicker and a hell of a lot less faff than chucking everything in with the dishes.
Putting my Fortress Grey where my Gob is
So on to the important part – painting. Something that doing the review for Amera taught me was that when it comes to scenery; keep it simple. Some scenery, like Games Workshop’s excellent multipart plastic kits, having staggering amounts of detail on them. Which is fine, but the need to paint them isn’t the same as the want to paint them. And it’s an important distinction. Wanting to paint every single skull, pipe, vent, grate, bulk head and light to the best of my ability exists in a very real state within the vaults of my mind, however, my need to put down som scenery that looks good and enriches the gaming experience for me and my opponent/s is far greater. And I imagine that’s the case for the majority of gamers. So keep it simple.
The house I was painting had lovely texture to it. Uneven walls, wood floors, coarse log supports, wood braced doors and windows. But all of it can be painted well and quickly because the result is, for a piece of scenery like this, is the same. It took me no more than 20 minutes to paint the red on the exterior walls, start to finish. The same to do all the black wood detailing. The parts that took the longest were the ‘natural’ wood – so floor boards etc – as this had a four stage process but even then we’re not talking long. Which brings me onto another top tip – keep your colour palettes simple. Pick the colour you’d choose as a base, then go a shade darker & lighter – as in chuck in a spot of black or the next shade up for a 50/50 mix.
Basecoating everything a shade or two darker than the original colour you’ve chosen allows you to essentially lo-light for free so long as you don’t go in too heavy in your next layer. And for goodness sake, don’t be afraid to drybrush where appropriate. It’s scenery for goodness sake. This is the one time when ‘that’s good enough’ is good enough.
The end result is a piece of resin scenery that looks passable but offers an interesting and useful gaming feature for the Mordheim campaign I’m running for the Chaps. And, start to finish (including filing, gluing, breaking it, gluing it again, painting it, breaking it again, finishing it, then rebuilding it), it only took a couple of hours.
So there you go; some handy tips on how to prep & paint resin. Hopefully it’s been of help, or at the very least mildly interesting…