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There are some very important points mentioned below that anyone who is building a vinyl kit, or even just owns one, should know. I have been building kaiju kits for some time (kaiju meaning monster in japanese). All of the kits on the previous page are my personal kits, and as for the diorama pics, I set them up in my backyard using the sun for lighting and the sky as a backdrop (a cool effect for any kit pic). Kits on this site are not for sale, however if you are interested in purchasing any of these kits you can acquire most, if not all of them, through dealers you can find on the internet. Happy modeling.
1 - Working with vinyl
1 - Working with vinyl
Working with vinyl can be a lot of fun, if you know what you are doing. Soft vinyl kits can be many different mixes of vinyl, some being softer or harder than others, and the warmer the temperature of the vinyl the softer it becomes making it very easy to work with. The parts can be heated with a hair dryer or even set in the sun in order to shape them to a more seamless fit before glueing. All vinyl parts should be heated before trimming off excess with a fine hobby razor knife. Tip: A great way to heat the pieces (especially larger ones) is by using an oven because you can heat both pieces to be joined allowing you to pre-shape even the toughest seams but be very careful for it is very easy to over-heat the vinyl using an oven !
2 - Building the kit
A sharp razor knife can trim excess vinyl literally like butter when the vinyl is warm. Each piece is heated and trimmed of excess vinyl and again heated to shape the pieces to the best possible fit. Each piece, if not too small, is usually stuffed tightly with newspaper. That way the kit will not sag with the changing temperatures over time, and also it gives the kit substantial weight. This is all done prior to glueing. The entire kit is then assembled glueing one piece at a time. On the larger kits I usually paint the inside of the mouth before glueing. Any paint overspray should be cleaned from surfaces that must be glued. A clear household oil such as WD-40 makes a great cleaner for removing oil based paints or even glue from many surfaces such as your hands, your kits, and even your paint brushes. You simply need to wipe the oil off with a clean, dry paper towel before you resume building your kit. There are many different types of glues that you can use as well as fillers for seams and gaps but the fact is glue can quit with age and fillers, such as green puddy and the like, can easily crack. The type of glue/filler that I use is a glue called Goop and is sold in any Home Depot store. I use it because it dries like a hard rubber making my kits highly durable. Keep in mind that just working with the glue, especially as a filler, is a skill within itself.
3 - Painting the (Godzilla) kit
I use oil based paints on all my kits because I prefer the paint to be permanent. As far as the Godzilla kits, I spray a base coat, usually black, and for highlighting I mix a little silver or white in with the black for a wash coat and I apply it with a rag over all the high points of the surface skin. It is relatively easy to paint highlighting on the Godzilla kits due to the texture of the skin. This gives Godzilla either a charcoal (black with silver) or a grayish (black with white) color as portrayed in many of the films. For the dorsal fins, I use mostly silver with a hint of black and I apply it first with a rag highlighting the fins, then I fill in around the edges with a brush for a glow-like effect. For the teeth, claws, and eye whites I use an antique white. I make the eyes blue with large black pupils and a final touch is a clear coat over the eyes giving him a glazed look for realism. The inside of the mouth is usually shades of red and the claws I do over with a brown wash and wipe so they look dirty. You can use any combination of colors you like on these kits, this is simply my way. Remember, too many colors can start to look a bit busy. The end result is an awesome high-detail replica of your favorite kit. Also, if you really want to get fancy you can use the glue(Goop) to create a saliva effect in the mouth by stretching the glue, across the teeth, tongue to tooth, etc. A skillful technique and a great feature on a monster kit - I used it on the Kaiyodo '89 Big Guy - totally awesome!
4 - Kit care
Vinyl kits should basically be kept indoors in a controlled environment, such as a house. Vinyl is obviously sensitive to heat and should be cared for appropriately. Built-up kits should be kept away from heat sources of any kind. Direct sunlight should always be avoided. Only a few minutes in direct sunlight and a fairly dark colored kit can absorb a tremendous amount of heat and if the kit is not stuffed it can sag very quickly, especially larger kits, which is why I highly recommend stuffing your kits. Also, because I used the Goop for the glue and filler, my kits are water- resistant and all I need to do to clean them is hose them off with a strong-mist setting of my garden hose and set to dry. If proper care is taken your kits can last a lifetime.
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