Beyond Basics: Tips On Using Styrene

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by REDLINE, Jan 28, 2008.

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    REDLINE longer days, plz? Veteran

    Dec 2, 2004
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    Tips On Using Styrene

    Credit for this goes to Ops_Was_A_Truck:

    Virtually anything can be built using styrene plastic – from extra weaponry to a completely new car-body exterior for your Transformer. It can be bought in strips, sheets, tiles, etc. at your local hobby store. Styrene can also be used to rebuilt certain pieces of Transformers that are prone to break – thick, .50 styrene can be used to rebuild G1 Optimus Prime’s trailer door latch, which snaps off a lot.

    However, building anything with styrene is a much more exacting process. Note that you are essentially fabricating a new part for your transformer, but you’re doing it the hard way: You’re building it from blank sheets of plastic, which you will cut and paste and sand into the right shape.


    1. Anything you needed for the previous repaint project, depending on what you plan to add/modify/re-build
    2. Glue, particularly Cyanoacrylate glue. I use the local model store’s stuff: “Handibond.” There are other versions out there, including Sealtight and Zap-A-Gap.
    3. A hobby knife, scissors, an X-acto knife, a pocketknife or whatever you feel comfortable cutting plastic with. (A chainsaw, maybe?)
    4. Sandpaper.
    5. Styrene plastic – you’ll have to choose which thickness and patterning you need for your design.
    6. Pencil and paper
    7. Creativity, luck and plenty of patience

    1. Sketch your idea out on paper. You don’t have to be a master artist, just capable of getting a basic idea of the size and shape of your new part, as well as approximate lengths, widths, etc.
    2. Using the paper sketches, begin transcribing your sizes over to the pieces of styrene plastic. Pencil writes easily on styrene and, since you’ll be repainting the piece later, you don’t have to worry about errant pencil marks all over the thing.
    3. Cut out the pieces you’ll need from the styrene, using whatever cutting device you’ve chosen. Note that an X-acto knives and pocketknives often offer a more accurate cut, while scissors will cut through most styrene plastic like a hot knife through butter.
    4. Sample-fit your parts together, checking to see if there will be any gaps or blatant errors.
    5. If all looks well, grab the glue and start sealing pieces together. A nice little trick is that, if you’ve accidentially covered the part with glue or you’ve got a small seam, you can use the glue to fill that seam…and once the part is completely dry, you can sand down all areas where there’s too much glue, creating a smooth surface.
    6. Use the repaint guide from above to paint your part.

    You’ll note that the styrene how-to is a lot more generalized. This is because styrene projects range from the mundane to the magnificent; people do a lot with styrene model-building.

    Tip: Hot water works well for slight deformations. To make the gaurd on my latest kitbash's sword, I heated the styrene up over a candle. It's real easy to melt the plastic doing that. It took me a couple of tries to get it right. You might also try using a hair dryer. A heat gun would probably work great, if you have one. Whatever method you use, the plastic will remain pliable untill it cools back down.


    From google:

    Evergreen Scale Models (Has Tutorials)

    I use varying sizes of the flat plastic with no patterns on it, between .005 to .05, I have like 2 sheets of .1 for building up thickass stuff.
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