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Modelling terms Glossary

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Modelling terms Glossary

Post by viper3111 » Sun Oct 31, 2010 7:51 am

Sorry this took so long, but I have had a few things to get through first.

Any way here it is.


There are 5 main scales in military aviation modelling, these are 1/144, 1/72, 1/48, 1/32 and 1/24. So for the beginner all you have to remember is the smaller the second set of numbers is, the bigger the kit will be. This means it will take 72 of the model to make 1 full size one, the biggest being 1/1 which is life size. These scales are usually shortened to 144th, 72nd, 48th etc etc.

Kit types

Styrene Injection molded-This is injection moulded polystyrene which is the most common of the kits. The parts are on 'sprues' that are cut of with a knife or model cutters.

Vacform-Not as common as injection moulded and is best left to the experienced modeller and not recommended for beginners.

Resin-Produced by mixing two chemicals and pouring into a mold, These are for experienced builders.

Model companies

There are no end of model companies out there but these are the most common

Accademy-Korean based company providing kits in 144th, 72nd, 48th and 32nd scales in quite good to very nice detail but can be fairly expensive.

Airfix-Uk based company, sometimes used as a general term for our hobby.

Hasegawa-Japan based company providing kits in 144th, 72nd, 48th and 32nd scales in quite good to very nice detail but can be fairly expensive.

Revell/monogram-Germany based US company providing kits in 144th, 72nd, 48th and 32nd scales in quite good to very nice detail. These are usually reasonably priced.

Trumpeter-China based based company providing kits in 144th, 72nd, 48th and 32nd scales in quite good to very nice detail but can be fairly expensive.

There are plenty of other companies out there who produce exceptional models but there are too many to list all of them.


Acrylic-Water based paint that uses evaporation to dry. Brushes can be cleaned with water

Aftermarket-A general term for detail/decal sets that are bought separate from the kit

Airbrush-Tool used for spraying models

Alclad II-Finishing product that give a very nice metallic finish in different colours eg Aluminium, Steel and Chrome. Also available are 'tones' such as Jet exhaust, Burnt metal, Transparent smoke, Clear blue and Clear purple. These can only be sprayed and are lacquers

Build-General term for the production of a model either a work in progress (WIP) or a finished model

Cellulose-Paint based on cellulose which uses a chemical reaction to dry. Brushes can only be cleaned with a cellulose solution

Cement-The glue that is used to 'stick' styrene kits together. It isnt sticky as it melts the surface of the styrene it is applied to, this creates the bond

Compressor-Essential tool for spraying your model as they are an expensive item but will save money on cans of propellant in the long run

Conversion-Changing the kit into a different variant using resin or brass sets

Cyanoacrylate-Super glue, used for resin details and brass etched parts

Decals-These are the water slide transfers which are applied to a model

Decal Solution-This comes in different forms, from different companies. It is a liquid that is used to make the decal stick to the surface and adhere to the details of the model

Dry brushing-Technique of applying a very small amount of paint using a paint brush to high light surface details

Enamel-Solvent based paint that uses the chemical reaction to dry. Brushes can be cleaned in white spirit

Etched brass-Also known as photo etched brass (PE), after market detailing set used to add detail to a model

Filler-For the purpose of 'filling' gaps between the parts of the model. There are two main types, two part such as milliput and one part such as humbrol/squadron/vallejo

Filter-Thinned down paint solution used for tinting the top coat of paint, this is normally sprayed

Fit you oh fudge-Term for when those parts just wont go together :lol:

Flash-Thin bits of styrene that are left over from the molding process

IPMS-International Plastic Modelling Society

Johnsons Klear-Floor polish which is used by modellers as a gloss coat. It is generally sprayed on but canopies and clear parts are best dipped into the solution. It is water based but also contains amonia but in a small amount and dosnt really smell of it

Liquid polly-General term for runny polystyrene cement but is actually humbrols own cement

Low impact-Meaning the glue on the masking tape isn't very sticky so it wont (usually) pull any paint of that you mask over

Mixed media-A kit which contains more than just the styrene kit such as resin, vacform and brass. These are usually limited run kits with a huge amount of detail and are recommended for seasoned builders

Pigments-Powders which are used for weathering, they are applied to a matt surface and fixed using turpentine (turps). Also mixed with other mediums to produce grease, snow, mud etc etc

Post shading-High lighting the surface detail suing an airbrush after the top coat has been applied and dried

Pre shading-Painting the panel lines or surface detail that you want to show through the top coat of paint. Mainly done with an airbrush but I have done it with a brush (it took me ages)

Propellant-Usually a can of compressed gas for airbrushes when a compressor is used (these are quite expensive)

Re boxed-Either it is the kit from that company that has been re released with some new decals or different box, also it could be when another company has boxed that kit in there own box eg the hasegawa 48th scale harrier re boxed by revell

Resin-Usually used as a short way of saying resin detail set as that is what they are made from, also resin model kits

Self adhesive mask-Masking tape that has been pre cut for the canopy/clear parts of the kit. Also wheels etc produced mainly by Eduard

Short run-Also know as limited run kits which are kits that usually contain special decals or detail sets and are only available for a short amount of time (so if you want it, buy it when you see it as the price will shoot up when they are discontinued)

SOTB-Abbreviation for Straight Out The Box which is a term for a model that hasnt been built using aftermarket detail sets

Styrene-Shortened version of pollystyrene which the majority of kits are made from

Tamiya tape-Very good masking tape which comes in different widths and is low impact

Tooling-Used to describe the kit eg new tooling means it is a new kit, old tooling means it is the original kit just re boxed, revised tooling is the original kit with some new mouldings added/re done

Wash-solution used to high light panel lines and surface detail. The most common one used is by pro-modeller which is brushed on and then wiped of with some kitchen towel leaving the solution in the recesses.

Water slide decals-Most common form of decals which are soaked in water in order to release them from the backing paper

Weathering-General term used for ageing the aircraft to make it look like its been in service

What if-A model of a subject that doesn't exist but could have or an aircraft in service with a country that doesn't have them

White spirit-Solution used for cleaning paint brushes/air brushes when using enamel paints

WIP-Abbreviation for Work In Progress

Zoom-A term used by Eduard for there sets that have fewer parts than the full set, but are good for adding essential details such as instruments and seat belts. They are also a lot cheaper and worth every penny (my own opinion)

I hope this is of some use, I will add to it as soon as I think of others or if someone wants to know something that isnt on here :thumb:

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Re: Modelling terms Glossary

Post by markmarples » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:44 pm

what about the modeling diease .. AMS!

After Market Synrdrome, where you must spend all your time searching out declas, resin, etch and never actually make any kits! :whistle:


Re: Modelling terms Glossary

Post by viper3111 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:53 pm


Sadly I am a sufferer of this illness :blush:

Thanks for bringing this to peoples attention, AMS aid will be here soon so please donate all your unwanted resins, decals and brass to us sufferers so we can get on with our builds :lol: :clap:

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Richard B
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Re: Modelling terms Glossary

Post by Richard B » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:20 pm

Styrene Injection molded-This is injection moulded polystyrene which is the most common of the kits. The parts are on 'sprues' that are cut of with a knife or model cutters.

Very common term and name used, but they are not on a sprue,
the molded bits are on a runner,
the sprue is the part of the injection mould tool that the plastic passes throught from the barrel nozzle.
most are heated, and are called( HSB'S heated sprue bush.)unheated leave a cold taper sprue, the plastic will then travel along runners to fill the reqiuerd cavities.

diffrent routes and thickness runners are used to allow an even fill of all parts.
get them unbalanced and you fill more in 1 cavity or less in another a short, if you try and then fill the short cavity you will flash the full one etc.
so an balanced runner system is key.
I spend hours in the tool with micro files or a windy grinder opening up gates and runner channels, Gates are the bit you have to clip off. the common name for the types used, most on model kits are Tab gates, thou there are many other types used in the plastics industrie.

I could go on with this subject, with 25 years as Moulding Technician, any questions please ask.


Re: Modelling terms Glossary

Post by viper3111 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:28 am

That is very interesting Rich :thumb:

most people I know all know them as 'sprues' if this is correct or not, and it is written in the reference books that I use to double check my info. I have also heard them called 'trees' but I dont like that one :lol:

I suppose its similar to hoover, this isnt what the machine is called as it is a make. The machine is actually a vacuum cleaner :lol:

Do you produce model kits Rich or other things? as this stuff fascinates me :thumb:

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