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The use of Resin in modeling

posted by RJ 2:23 PM
Monday, January 13, 2014

Recently I have had some inquiries about resin. I do not have a lot of experience with resin as a medium so I asked one of our advanced designers for some feedback. His response is as follows.

As a material, resin is not as forgiving as plastic. It is more brittle, and if made solid, the end model is much heavier than a plastic one. Most modelers’ experience with resin kits are building “garage kits”, which means a guy or group making an unlicensed kit of their own in their basement or garage and selling them to whoever is interested. By the nature of that market, quality is very spotty. A lot of the product being sold at a show like Wonderfest is this kind of stuff. A lot of what you see in Amazing Figure Modeler is this kind of product. If we or Moebius didn’t make a kit you see in there, somebody made it themselves and they are selling them.

Yes, resin kits are much more expensive, but we are trying to find sources that will make them for a reasonable price and with more consistent quality than those found in the aftermarket. Garage kits usually go for no less than $125 and could be anywhere above that. Take a look at the product review pages of AFM.

Why are we doing kits in resin rather than styrene?

Our public answer is that we want these to be super detailed kits. Because of the injection molding process, detailed textures get minimized on the sides of plastic parts. They almost always have to be smooth to keep the part form being trapped in the tool. It would be easier to show you an example than to explain it in writing. Anyway, with kits like Kane or King Kong, a lot of the great detail would get compromised.

What are your thoughts on resin as a medium?


18 Responses to “The use of Resin in modeling”

  1. Mach7 says:

    I don’t fear resin at all. I have built many, and have many in my stash.

    I don’t think resin models are any more difficult to build than injection molded

    They require a slightly expanded skill base, but nothing odd.

    My gripe with resin is the cost. I completely understand the economics behind it, but I have to think before I buy any kit that costs more than $50.

    Some kits, like the TOS Enterprise are must haves, and I will plunk down the $150 for the kit and another $300 for the add on stuff. I did not buy the big C-57D because it was too much, same with the big Seaview, Jupiter 2 from Moebius.
    Over $50 I have to justify the purchase.
    The new C-57D was under $50 so I bought it, same with the Pegasus classic WOTW kits.

    I might buy the new Kong, it depends on the final price. I don’t expect he will be much below $150. But that is the price we have to pay for this kit. It looks really nice and its an interesting subject too me.

    I will not buy Kane, but thats because I’m not interested in the Alien movies. Not because it is resin.

  2. Mark Taylor says:

    While resin is different than styrene, once you learn how to use it it’s not “better” or “worse” just different. I wouldn’t have any hesitation to buying/building a kit in either medium if the subject was appealing.

  3. Ron says:

    Sorry, I know Round 2 may think that this is a good idea but… I won’t buy any resin kits. I’ve tried them in the past and just plain don’t like the stuff at all.

    I don’t even care for it when used for add-on parts.

  4. Ed Bailey says:

    The advantage of resin not quite mentioned above is the flexible rubber mold, which allows undercuts and fantastic detail, as well as a reduced parts count. Modelers who’ve only built injection molded kits before will be surprised at the detail and texture. Some modelers are scared of resin, but no big deal–you wash it with dish soap, glue it with superglue or epoxy, and primer it–techniques many use with injection molded kits.
    But it’s odd to hear R2 plugging Moebius while dissing garage kitters…
    Many GKers are producing outstanding castings, sometimes because they outsource casting to professional resin casters. A few still put out resin with bubbles or (rarely) incomplete curing, but the overall quality of resin kits has improved over the decades, too. A lot!
    That figure of $125 sounds scary, but a lot of resin products are much less expensive since resin is more suitable for smaller kits and conversion parts. If you have a few extra Polar Lights 1/1000 Enterprises and want to modify them, conversion parts start at $2, and you can add to your fleet with full resin kits starting around $40.

    • RJ says:


      As I said initially that I am not very familiar with resin as a medium so I deferred to an interview. It was not meant as an endorsement or a slam on either part, and both have good and bad. Garage kitters are able to provide pieces that are not feasible or available because of licensing restrictions (which I am not endorsing – just stating a fact). There are many great qualities of resin (as I am learning) and I can also see why it is unappealing to some modelers.

      • Ed Bailey says:

        I thought “spotty” was an inaccurate characterization of garage kit quality, so I gave my more positive view.
        Yes, the licensing thing is what it is. The GK industry is peanuts, so it’s ignored but for the occasional Cease and Desist letter. R2 must obey the law more closely, but it’s injection molded kits that justify licensing–your resin figures are a bonus.
        Could you post some how-to articles or videos featuring your resin figures? Modelers would benefit (and be more likely to buy them).

        • RJ says:


          That is a great idea – I will have to see if I can get one of our modelers to try their hand at them. My son and I posted our adventure in modeling for the fair last spring (in case you missed it). We may have to try a resin kit this year – although our biggest challenge seems to be the paint.

  5. nicholas says:

    Resin is great if you want detail. Sure it can be a pain to work with sometimes but the final product is well worth the effort, especially for science-fiction subjects.

    • RJ says:

      I also have to appologize that we were cleaning out the spam folder and someone was a little too quick on the draw and inadvertantly deleted 2 posts that had landed in SPAM that were not. If these were yours. I appolgize, please feel free to repost. This was not intentional, but when you delete from SPAM it completely erases them so that I cannot recover them.

  6. I’m with the pro-resin (or even vinyl) crowd because both materials are cast with far greater detail than the injection-molding process can accommodate. Most every other type of plastic models – the “triple As, for example – have long enjoyed multimedia offerings. I’d be willing to pay more for similar figure kits, rather than having to purchase aftermarket parts separately.

  7. Jeff says:

    Resin is not hard to work with. You have to pay attention to pinning the limbs and such. If properly cured, it’s easy to work with. Some attention is needed when choosing primer before painting, but I’ve never had much trouble. I use Aves 2-part epoxy putty for filling, it works well. The dust from sanding isn’t good, so don’t snort the stuff. The only real issue is price. I’d love some of the magnificent 1/6 garage kit figures, but dropping $150 on a single kit just isn’t in my budget. I will get Kane if he’s well under $100, otherwise I’ll have to have a good cry and add to my list of what-might-have-beens.

    One option you might consider in the future, which might or might not be cheaper, is styrene with some photoetch for details, or even a mix of styrene and resin (e.g., styrene body with resin hands/heads/etc.).

  8. Larry Fugate says:

    Resin? No thanks. I’ve passed on the Tarzan resin kit, even though I thought it was a most excellent pose and I really wanted to build it. I just don’t care for resin. I can handle ABS, but styrene is my favorite medium, and if there are tiny details that can’t be produced in it, and can’t be made separately to be attached, then I have to pass. (No matter the cost.)


  9. Rocketfin says:

    Resin is ok. I agree, if it gives better detail, that’s the way to go. If someone is a modeler, and it’s a subject they want, I don’t think it will matter, they will buy it. I know I do (when I can afford it). All your recent new models have been exceptional in detail and quality, so don’t let the material stand in your way. 🙂

  10. Ken Lee says:

    I will never buy a resin kit, I have built some resin kits in the past and I just really don’t like the stuff. Also, price is a factor, if a resin kit costs twice or three times as much as a similar styrene kit I cannot justify buying it. I have limited incomes and cannot justify the cost.

  11. Michael says:

    I’m used to incorporating different materials into build-ups so resin is no issue for me. I agree about the detail, but any drawbacks can be remedied with a little work, which every model needs anyhow. Bottom line for me is the subject, I would never pass up a model of something I really wanted for the material alone.

    I loved the inclusion of the resin heads in the Dark Shadows two-pack. We get the added bonus of accurate sculpts to go along with the original heads, plus it was a thrill to see garage kit conversion heads showing up a licensed set.

  12. Vincent G. Bordeaux says:

    When can we start seeing more of your PDF instructions sheets on more of your model car kits, like AMT, MPC, Polar Lights, Lindberg, etc? This way, it gives us an inside view of your model kits–at least by way of your PDF instructions sheets.

    • JamieH says:

      We’ve been working on transitioning the Lindberg line over to our website. I’ll see if we can catch up with the instruction sheet links once that is all done.

  13. Justin Leighty says:

    One downside of resin is that it can sag over time. That may not be as big an issue with most figure kits, though it could develop in arms. Any subjects with relatively thin supports will see some bending in those over time with resin, unless it’s reinforced with an armature of some type.

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