Sunday, June 25, 2017

My love hate relationship with resin kits

Every evening I check the Rumourmonger area on Britmodeller, which is one of the best sources of news about upcoming kits. My heart skips a beat when I see a new thread about an enticing subject, but sometimes a wave of disappointment quickly follows when I see that the kit will be in resin rather than injected molded form. 

This happened to me last year when a new 1/72 YC-125 Raider was announced. It’s an usual aircraft to be sure. I’d never heard of the plane, much less seen one, until I visited the National Museum of the US Air Force many years ago. (It's not one of those aircraft that makes it to magazine covers.) It has an ungainly sit, looking more like a 1950s era Soviet design than something an American engineer would create. The nose-mounted engine looks like it could have been the result of a barroom bet among the designers after wrapping up a more conventional two-engine configuration. "Hey Jerry, I'll bet you fifty bucks I can stick an R-1820 on the nose and the Air Force brass will eat it up!"

You can learn more about the Raider’s history on the museum’s web site,  but to make a long story short, only 23 Raiders were produced, so it’s a near-miracle that any manufacturer would choose to produce a kit of it. That said, I’ve always been intimidated by resin, and a lot of modelers I talk to feel the same way. I understand that resin is often the only choice for limited run subjects, but I wish the resin manufacturers would partner with one of the plastic manufacturers and produce subjects like this in injected molded form. As much as I'd like to build many of these resin subjects, I just don't see struggling with resin when there are so many other models awaiting my time.

Of course you might feel differently, especially if you really want a model of the YC-125 (as one example), and I can't deny the skill of modelers who are willing to tackle resin kits. We've all seen resin kits at contests to know they can be made into masterpieces just as well as a plastic kit can be. Kudos to you willing to give these resin kits the attention they require, but they're not for me.


  1. Resin kits are no different from injected styrene kits, in that they are not a struggle if they are well engineered and well molded. Look at the fine kits from S.B.S. Model for an example of what resin kits can and should be. However, this being an Anigrand kit: you have a point.

  2. Something similar happens to me with the exoteric subjects that some "hard" injected plastic brands launchs (early Learjets, Yak-25/28 family, obscure soviets prototypes and so...). This brands (Mach 2, Amodel, Avis, Roden...) are know for the extra effort that the kit assembly requires. And here I tend to balance, is the subject really a must for me, and deserves the extra effort, or the "bad plastic" is so bad that I really don´t need to put that extra work on it? The answer is purelly personal, I have, for example, the Me-262V1 from High Planes (because I think it deserves the extra work) and give away four Amodel´s Yak-28. Same with resin kit, I manage to put together two of them (both Antares Models) and I surrender to the Unicraft kits (really a challenge).
    Greetings from Argentina and excuse my por english, please.

  3. A quarter of a lifetime ago I purchased a plastic (as in: not resin) kit of Eastern German origin of the Vostok spacecraft. I never have seen such a crude and incorrect piece of junk moulded out of plastic. Devoid of almost all details and when it accidentally was there, it was mainly fantasy. After construction the model consisted out of 80% scratch built components. No resin. So 'regular' plastic kits also can be a huge pain in the *ss.
    My biggest problem with resin has always been the price although I know it often is made by enthusiasts in their spare time. I really appreciate their efforts.
    My biggest problem with regular kit makers like Revell is they apparently just don't care about reality and detailing. The 1/96 Saturn V is hopelessly incorrect and lacks loads of details. I had to spend double the price of the initial kit price on after market resin parts to get the rocket look like the real thing.
    That was the main reason I switched to paper modeling. It's a lot cheaper and the amount of available kits (and also very special ones) is tenfold. And when you mess up a part, you just print a new sheet of paper.
    I still have a couple of big plastic kits on the shelves. But they will stay there until my hands are old and unable to shape paper any more. Except perhaps Special Hobby 1/32 X-15...
    That YC-125 is a nice weirdo plane though. I Hope you will get over your initial resin fear and just give it a try. It might take some more effort and precautions when working with the stuff (dust, CA glue) but my experience with resin is it often is super detailed and has a very pleasing end result.

    1. Your criticism of kit makers in general, and the Revell Saturn V doesn't hold much water. You have to remember that the kit was originally released in 1969 so you can hardly expect it to be state of the art.

      I respect paper modeling (I've done some myself), but no: that medium simply cannot rival plastic or resin in terms of detail and accuracy.

  4. I definitely respect plastic modelers and the kit makers too, but perhaps they should think and retool those 50 year old models for once. Airfix is a good example of that.
    And as far as paper models inaccuracies: Just look at this model.
    And take your time, tell me whether there is any model that comes even near this version in detail, scale and precision. It is all paper.

    1. I looked. Those photos are too small and too dark to be able to see much. But - it still looks like paper. There's a roughness to the parts, particularly the edges, that is jarring. It may be accurate - I don't know - but intricacy does not equal accuracy. Granted: there is not a kit in this scale of the Apollo command module. But there is this kit of the Mercury spacecraft in 1/12 and it looks better in all ways, particularly parts that can't be replicated in a 2d medium like paper. I wish the photos were larger, but at least they aren't so dark.

      Also in 1/12: a Sputnik satellite. I'd like to see a convincing, polished sphere made of paper. Not happening!

      As for retooling the old 1/96 Revell kit: yes, that would be nice but since Revell is still making money on those old molds, it's doubtful they'll invest in a new kit. Besides: 1/96 is an oddball scale that fits in with pretty much nobodies collection.

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