Glossary of Terms

AM – Aftermarket parts. There are many manufacturers that make detail sets (usually resin, but not exclusively) to fit commercial kits to bump up the level of detail, to change a kit from one variant to another, or to correct sections of the commercial kit that are inaccurate.

Brain fade – This is commonly, and mistakenly, often referred to as a “brain fart.” It’s not. Brain fade is where you’re aware, awake (not always the same thing), and seem to be paying attention. And then the awareness/intelligence just…fades. It’s an insidious condition that can happen to anyone at any time and it offers NO warning it’s about to happen. Most often the person experiencing brain fade only realizes it’s happened when they look at what they just did, realize it’s wrong (sometimes VERY wrong), and can offer absolutely no reason why they did what they certainly know they should not have done, not even the phrase, “It seemed like a good idea at the time” (frequently heard in the ER) can explain it. I blame Loki and/or Eris.

Brain fart – This is what happens whenever a politician (doesn’t matter the party) opens their mouth and speaks.

Buck – A form used to create a shape over. A buck is used when something like aluminum or lead foil needs to be shaped (sometimes a relatively complex shape).

Dry-Fitting – Putting a part or assembly in place without using adhesive; it’s done to check fit.

Molding rubber – A two-part compound comprised of the rubber (most often, “RTV”, for room-temperature vulcanizing; it doesn’t require heat to cure) usually silicone, and a hardening agent.

Parting agent – A thin lubricant, sprayed on or brushed, that keeps things from sticking.

PE – Photo-etched. A sheet of brass or stainless steel is coated with a photo-resist chemical and then a pattern is used with a light source (usually of a required brightness level) to “set” the photo-resist. The unexposed chemical is then washed away and the metal is immersed in an acid bath to remove sections of the flat sheet and/or to add details to the surface of the sheet. The PE part is then cut from the sheet and very frequently bent and folded to its finished shape.

Pot life – How long a mixed compound can be worked before it starts to set up and cure and varies from compound to compound.

Rattlecan – A aerosol can of paint. It’s called “rattlecan” because of the metal sphere inside the can that aids in mixing the paint and rattles when the can is shaken.

Resin – Essentially a task-specific epoxy. Resins come in enough varieties to require a separate, in depth, article to cover them all (presently I’m using a urethane resin). Resin is what gets poured into a mold to create multiple and identical pieces.

“Rubber band” tracks – These are the tracks for a tracked-vehicle (aka, treads) that are one continuous strip, too often molded in a substance that doesn’t respond to adhesives and aren’t too fond of keeping the paint on once they’re bent…which they must be in order to mount onto the suspension.

Scale color representation – This involves the psychology of sight. We see things because visible light bounces off surfaces and our eyes pick that bounced light up. The optic nerve brings the signal to the brain where it is interpreted. A person can match a paint color perfectly to a sample, yet when that perfectly matched paint is sprayed onto a scale model, it looks too dark. The reason for this is the amount of light involved. For example, if I’m trying to accurately replicate the color of a surface that’s six feet long and four feet wide in 1/48 scale, that means I’m working on a surface that’s actually and inch and a half long by an inch wide. A LOT less light will reflect from the scale surface than will from the actual surface I’m trying to replicate. When that light is interpreted by the brain it results in a color that looks darker, even though it’s not. And since modeling is about how things look, that needs to be addressed. The way to get a scale color representation, the color(s) being used have to be lightened. That’s done by adding white. I use about 25% white for 1/48 scale and about 18% white for 1/35 scale. The added white offsets the too-dark effect my brain’s interpretation of sight creates.

Sprue – That’s the “tree” that kit parts are attached to. What it really is is a channel that brings the molten plastic into the hollow cavity that, once filled, becomes the part. Sprue is really handy stuff! Heating it (GENTLY) over a candle allows it to be stretched, and if you shape the sprue first (like for a bolt head you need), it retains that shape when it’s stretched.

Tooth If paint doesn’t bond with the surface it’s covering, anything will make it flake off. “Tooth” is a term used to denote the process where the substrate of the paint actually “bites” into the surface it’s covering and creates adhesion. A good tooth for brass PE parts is a short immersion in vinegar. The acidic vinegar micro-etches the surface of the metal providing tooth for the paint.

YMMV – Your mileage may vary.

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