Tutorial - How to prepare a Resin Miniature

by Roman aka jar

posted by roman, jarhead, kong

Resin becomes more and more popular at many miniature ranges as it is easy to handle, great to work with and for sure not as heavy as for example white metal. Maybe it is also cheaper due to the production costs but i am not really aware of that so i won't talk more about things i don't know. In fact i like to work with Resin very much. Preparation goes faster, conversions are easier and if the miniature is in a larger scale the model won't get too heavy to handle when assembled.

I have already written an article about how to prepare a white metal miniature - now i show you that there shall be no fear too when it comes to resin.

Ok, what does Kong mean with preparing a miniature for painting? Sure there are different definitions of "Preparing" - it starts with the cleaning and sure some take a shower different then others. Here we go - this is for sure just my own view on this theme and there sure are other views to it which are surely also right in the end, there will never be a way to pure Perfection, there are a lot - so it is up to you to find out what you like. Meanwhile i can say that a good preparation helps having more fun whilst painting - even 10 Minutes additional preparation time can make a difference, always keep that in the back of your mind.

What you need?

- Sandpaper, not so fine and finer one
- Some Rasps, finer ones and others not so fine (to file something)
- toothpicks
- Drills, small and big ones
- a knife or a cutter or a scalpell
- a calliper
- steel wool
- and a smile on your face while looking forward to take some time :)
- Sure a miniature you want to prepare... 

I did choose Hombre Toro by Spherewars for this article. A great Resin Model with no perfect cast quality, perfect for this article - but hey, where do you find perfect casts?


Taking a closer look makes me already know that there is work ahead - all parts out of the box:

When i am working with Resin i don't do much things different due to cleaning and preparing up white metal. There are minor things and as i am always cleaning, preparing and assembling at the same time i now take you on a trip with me. First i use my calliper to cut off the main Resin cast channels. I mean those cylindric Resin pieces which are to be found on a lot of pieces. I do not try to cut them off exactly and perfect on this first go as i could damage the sculpt itself by using a calliper as fine detail tool, following an example on where i was to hectic and did rip off a piece of the bulls neck...

I then used a scalpell with a sharp blade (more or less with mine) and did clean those areas in detail, Also i took teh scalpell for cleaning rough mould lines over the complete series of parts. Now i took some sandpaper (400 too 600 to 1000) to clean of the main areas from mould lines.

Take care while working with small Resin parts as if your go is with too much force you can easily break the material. At Resin Miniatures you will often find such detailed areas, as casting with Resin allows a higher grade of detail. Think before you clean such a place. Take aim on what tool you use and how much power you might need - be always gentle and patient and you'll never break your resin. Think before you do! Here is a little example on what problems i have occoured during my trip - Thin parts, or things you are scared of working with as they look like the could break:

Important to find a solution is to think. I am always cutting on a solid underground. Never ever cut in the air - you will have hangtime but not a really good prepared miniature and maybe even hurt yourself. Solid underground. I always try to bring the pieces i am working on in place, like i want exactly to cut in this spot, i try to get maximum contact betweet this spot and the solid underground to provide a clean cut. That doesn't work with all parts, it always depends on its form, but try to think about it. It avoids easy Resin breaking and misplaced cuts. 

After a clean cut i still have to work with Sandpaper. Often you can also see this little "Resin Skin" like on the garbage piece above. Sometimes such a "skin" appears at your model. Best for removing this is first a needle or a toothpick and then reworking with a scalpell and sandpaper. It is in fact always the same and always a question about concentration, wheter white metal, plastic and resin.

Sometimes you can also find areas that should fit together and won't and you just think "wtf?". That happens with resin, plastic or white metal and it provokes anger inside your soul, but you don't need to give space to that anger and stop yourself from cleaning. Resin is great when it comes to such problems - just cut your solution and take care you check the fitting all the time to provide the perfect prepared glu

In the upper photo you can see how i did cut my solution. The 4-edged plug was way too big to fit into the slot at the main body so while cutting i kept the form, just made it smaller. I took my scalpell do to so and afterwards sanded it again to get a plain surface to surface fitting.

You can aslo encounter little holes in your resin sculpts, that always depends on the sculpt and casting quality and the Resin brand which is used to cast, some are very fragile others are hard like teeth. Always when i see such a hole i am doing final sanding work, fitting tests and minor cuts and prepare my self to fill some gaps soon. Therefore you can use Milliput, GreenStuff or another Sculpting putty. I did choose to work with Magic Sculp this time as i really like it, just mix it 50/50 and work with it after 5 Minutes, works well with water and gets hard after around 4 hours - you can still work with it during these hours. Maximum Hardness - ready for sanding is after 8~10 hours. This hole in the cast really made me scared as it is at a thin finger:

So i mixed up my Magic Sculp and tried to fill the hole, in that moment i saw that there is no real hole - there was just some clear Resin in the sculpt, so i could use my putty in other places - lucky me! After assemblin the parts i still have those gaps to fill like at the tail/main body connection, but i show you at another place so just take a look at it.

I did damage the bulls neck as told before. So it is time to resculpt it. These steps are well placed in your work order during your filling gaps steps. So i did - think before you do - think about the amount of putty you might need, don't stop yourself from removing or adding some if this is what the spot needs. Pressing it in place and gently passing it to form by using your fingers and much water or just a sculpting tool.

Later on you can still sand and clean it to make it fit more harmonic to the sculpt. It took me about 4 hours to completly clean the bull and have him prepared. This is a normal time for such a big seized model and in fact i was also challenged by some places. Preparing with Resin is not a problem, always know that - it is more fun than you think, as there isn't much you can do wrong. Normally i am pinning the models parts together with thin metal pin in a drilled hole but the Hombre Toro has a good fitting quality when it comes to glueing - for sure my preparation and fitting tests are responsible for this too. Resin is not as heavy as white metal and superglue does super work here together with the good pin and hole work of Spherewars.

Some important tips while working with Resin:

- after everything is done, clean your model under warm water (for example from sanding dust in a hollow place).
- Resin dust from sanding is not good for your health, do it outside and if you want wear a breathing filter mask during your work. Clean your workplace afterwards with a wet hankerchief or something else to get rid of all the dust.
- Sometimes Resin parts are not straight as they should be, for example a 28 mm spear of a great Tribesman. Don't you get angry on this one - just switch on your water boiler and wait until he is ready, dip the strangly formed piece into the hot water (you can use a tweezer if the piece is too small), do this for just 3~5 seconds. Pull out your piece and bring it in form as you like, it will stay this way after calming down from the heat shock.

I hope this article may help one or the other. Every second spent for preparation makes your painting session more enjoyable - don't forget that. Here comes Hombre Toro, prepared.


If i did forget something, what for sure can easily happen - just tell me - i will add it to the article. If questions are left, please feel invited to ask. Please don't think that i am always preparing perfect - indeed i often forget mouldlines or just see them when it is too late. I have my fail moments here too, but more time means more chance of finding them all to hunt them down... those little mouldlines and things you are not prepared for when you just want to paint...

So far...
Think before you do and keep on happy painting!
Best Regards


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