What is a resin Kit? A model railroad resin kit is made from high impact liquid plastic urethane, which has much of the same characteristics as styrene and is used to replicate fine details with flat and one peice body model castings. The major difference from styrene is that resin requires the use cyanoacrylate glue (CA or superglue) to assemble the pieces.
What are the benefits of a resin kit? The main benefit of a resin kit is that it makes it economical to produce small runs of railroad equipment that would not be otherwise practical to model. The majority of resin kits are models of railroad equipment that injection molding companies will not produce due to the small demand.
Are resin kits hard to build? We do not think so. These are craftsman kits, which do require time and patience to complete. We think you will find the end result to be very rewarding and the working on our kits helps to relieve stress. For those new to resin kits, we recommend that you consider purchasing our video DVD, made by Al Westerfield "HOW-TO-BUILD OUR KITS", a 2-3/4 hour DVD that covers all aspects of building one of our resin kits, from explaining what is in the box, to assembly, painting and applying decals. Also for those new to resin building, we recommend starting with a one piece body kit as these kits come with the body (sides, ends and roof) already cast together. These kits are indicated on our website with an asterisk "*".
How long does it take to build a resin kit? This depends on your experience with resin kits and how much detail you want to add to your kit. Our instructions include steps that are optional if you are not adding air brakes, brake piping, brake rigging or other fine details. On average, a flat kit will take 8-12 hours as a basic kit or 12-16 hours with the full details. A one peice body kit will average 6-8 hours as a basic kit and 8-12 hours with full details.
What comes with my resin kit? Westerfield Models freight car kits are supplied with the necessary castings to make one freight car, and, in some cases, extra castings for variations of the car. The kit also includes brass grab irons, brass wire, styrene strips, a flat metal weight, Tichy brake details and certain other details, depending on the kit. Our kits also include a full set of instructions that cover all aspects of the car assembly, painting and application of decals. A complete history of the car is also included, with detailed information on any variations of the car, the operating era of the car and usually several photos of the finished car, either using prototype or model photos. A custom printed set of decals is also included, which, in many cases, includes extra decals for the lifetime of the car.
What is not included in my resin kit? Our kits do not come with trucks, couplers, paint or glue. We do not include trucks or couplers as there are several different manufacturers of these items. They all make great products, but modelers have their own preferences and it would be uneconomical for us to stock all the variations. We can also keep the kit prices lower without including these items. We do not include glue or paint for the same reasons.
What tools are needed to build a resin kit? The same tools you would on any model railroad cars. You should have available the following tools: an x-acto knife, tweezers, flush cutting wire cutters, several files of various shapes, a pencil, a set of small drill bits (#50 to #80 at least), several pin vises to hold the drill bits, single edge razor blades, small paint brushes, Squadron Green putty, super glue (CA), styrene cement, contact cement, whatever type of paint you prefer and decal setting solutions. We recomment using the small tubes of superglue from the hardware store or supermarket. These work the same as hobby shop super glue but cost less and usually get used up before the tube goes bad.
What about the kit instructions? Westerfield Model kits come with extensive instructions on how to assemble, paint and decal our kits. Our instructions also include recommendations on the type of freight car trucks, couplers and paint colors to use. Our kits also come with a complete history of the lifetime of the car, including any rebuilding variations. The history sheets also include photographs of the car, either using model photos or prototype photos, to aid in lettering of the car. We strongly recommend that the modeler read the entire instruction and history sheets before starting work on the model. Please make sure to understand which version you are building for those kits that cover multiple car versions.
What about painting resin kits? You should use a high quality model paint on your resin kit. We strongly recommend spray painting our model kits so as to not hide the detail that resin kits are great for. Some modelers prefer to use a primer before painting - consult other modelers who have done this as any extra layers of paint will also hide the model details. The first and most important thing to do before painting is to take extra time in cleaning the kit resin castings. You should use a good degreasing detergent (Dawn) and lots of rinsing with water to make sure that all of the mold release agents are removed. Wash and carefully scrub the castings as needed, then allow to completely dry. Floquil paints are being discontinued but we have heard good things about True Color and Scalecoat paint.
What about applying decals to resin kits? This is the same as applying decals to any kit. For professional looking models, decals should be applied to a smooth, glossy surface. Since many model railroad paints are "flat" right out of the bottle, glaze should be added to the paint or a final gloss coat applied. Allow the final coat to dry thoroughly before applying the decals. A good rule of thumb is that if you can still smell the solvent, the paint is not dry enough. To apply the decals, first trim as close as possible to the printed material. Place the trimmed decal in a dish of water to which one drop of dish washing detergent has been added. Allow the decal to soak until the backing paper falls off. On larger decals, you may need to nudge the decal to get the paper to fall off. Continue to soak the decal film to dissolve any residue of glue from the backing paper. Determine where the decal is to be placed on the model and apply a commercial decal solvent such as Solvaset (1:1 with water) or Micro-Sol with a small brush. Using a tweezer, carefully remove the decal from the water and run it over the edge of the dish to remove excess water. Place the decal on the model, making sure that all parts are floating on the solvent. Allow to dry. Repeated applications of solvent may be necessary to help the decal snuggle into crevices or over rivets. Slitting may be necessary for wood sheathed cars. If bubbles appear under the decal film, prick them with a straight pin and apply a small amount of solvent to the area. After the decals are dry, remove any traces of solvent using a water moistened cotton swab or non-shedding cloth. When the car is dry, overspray all surfaces with a matte finish coat to blend in the decals. Weather to taste. Note - Even a new car benefits from a light overspray of the base color, as it really blends the lettering into the car.
How durable are resin castings? The material we use to make our castings is a high impact and tensile strength urethane resin. It is much like styrene and has some flexibility.
What do I do if my kit has a broken or missing part? Please contact us for replacement parts, either by email or phone. Please be sure to let us know the kit number, the part number & description and your name. Please note that some early kits that were converted to one piece bodies may not have the flat casting parts available any longer.
Where are Westerfield Model kits sold? We sell direct only, either through our website, westerfieldmodels.com, or by phoned in order at: 303-658-9343, or by printing our PDF order form from our website main page and mailing in your order. We also attend certain Prototype Model shows, known as RPM's (Railway Prototype Modelers). Please see our website main page for a current listing of shows we plan to attend.
Are Westerfield Model Decals available separately? Yes. All of our decals may be ordered on our website, by phone or mail. All of our kits include one set of the appropriate decal for the kit.
How do we determine what freight cars to model? We are always glad to hear ideas and recommendations for new kits from modelers. We tend to focus our efforts more on porential models that have plans, drawings and photographs available as these items are needed to make the most accurate models possible.