Resin Products Preparation & Handling

Preparation & Handling of Resin Parts

The following is a list of tools, tips and steps we suggest using to prepare your resin kit parts for assembly and painting.

Utility Knife/X-Acto Knife

An X-Acto knife and a cutting mat are essential to good model making. Use the knife to cut away thin pieces of flash, usually around the edges of the resin part. In addition to cutting, the knife has a small area on the top towards the tip that can be used for scraping away unwanted flash.


Side Cutters/Flush Cutting Pliers

These tools are very useful for removing larger pieces of resin that are too thick to remove with an X-Acto knife or emery board. Flush cutting pliers have the advantage of cutting the surface absolutely square on one side. Be careful and take off small sections at a time.


Emery Boards/Swiss Files

A set of files and a variety of emery boards - from fine to course grit - are invaluable for sanding flash from your resin parts. Sandpaper can also be used. Anything you can use on wood, you can use with resin. Their properties are very similar.

Drill/Pin Vise

Larger, heavier resin components can benefit from a metal pin inserted into the part where it will be glued to another. A small hand drill or pin vise is the tool you’ll need. Pins in detail parts are a great way to attach the parts to your layout substrate. We suggest this technique for our Steam Era Tombstones.

Super Glue or CA

Our two favorite brands of CA or Super Glue are Loctite “thick,” Zap brand Zap-A-Gap medium CA+. The advantage of the Loctite glue is that it is thick and has a longer set time so that if you make a mistake you can usually correct the placement before the glue dries. Zap-A-Gap is a quick setting glue. This is perfect when you have tiny parts that are hard to hold onto for the 30 seconds that other glues require for good adhesion.

Dust Mask

Our resin does not pose any health threats, but we do recommend wearing a dust mask when you are doing excessive filing or sanding. As with any fine substance, resin dust can be an irritant.

Taking Stock

After opening your kit, check to make sure that all the parts are there. Most of our instructions include a photo inventory for your reference. If you are missing a part, we will replace it at no charge. Call us or send us an e-mail to let us know.

Washing The Parts

You will notice that the resin parts have a slightly glossy sheen. This is due to the mold release we use when casting the parts. You will want to wash your parts so that there will not be a problem with paint adhesion when you get to that step. There are several ways to do this. One way is to soak your parts in a container filled with lukewarm water and liquid dish soap. Use enough of the soap so that the water is quite sudsy. Let the parts soak for about an hour. Find an old toothbrush, one
that will not be used again for its intended purpose. Gently but thoroughly scrub each part, paying special attention to areas with great detail, such as around windows. The next step is to rinse each part under running water, turning the part so that all surfaces are rinsed. Do not use water that is too warm as this may cause the parts to warp. Place the parts on several layers of paper towels to let them air dry. Take care in wiping the parts dry if air drying doesn’t get rid of all the moisture. We don’t recommend using a hair dryer as resin is sensitive to heat and may become misshapen or warped.


If any of your parts are warped, which can easily happen to thin flat pieces, you can reshape them as follows. Immerse the part in hot water for about 5 minutes. Remove the part and very gently coax it back into the correct position. Thicker parts may need more time in the hot water. If it is a flat piece, lay it on a table or
counter after heating it. Make sure that the surface you set it on has no bumps or texture that could affect the resin part. Cover the part with a paper towel and place several heavy books or other heavy object on top of the part. For more stubborn parts you can use a hair dryer or heat gun. Don’t let the part get too close to the heat source. Check the part after a few minutes to see if it is getting malleable. Again, handle the part gently so that you don’t snap the piece in two. If you are still having trouble, please contact us and we’ll arrange to get you a new part.


Once the components have been washed and all excess resin has been removed from the kit parts, the model is ready for assembly. If the model has any interior detail, now might be the best time to paint it, as it could be difficult once the model is assembled. If you paint a part before assembling it, remember that Super Glue does not stick to painted surfaces. You will need to scrape away the paint where the bead of glue will go. We usually use an X-Acto knife for this step. We recommend that you dry fit your pieces before gluing them. This means you test-fit the parts before you use any glue. You may find an area that needs more sanding in order for the fit to be correct.

Priming & Painting

We recommend priming your model with a primer gray spray paint, such as Rustoleum brand or other brand which can be purchased from a hardware store. Another benefit to priming, besides ensuring good paint adhesion, is that the primer will point out any rough areas that your sanding tool missed! After priming, your model is ready for its true colors. We are here to help you if you have any questions or encounter any problems during your model making process (use our Contact page). We want you to be completely satisfied with your Ralph Ratcliffe Models kit or accessory.