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Modelling Glossary D - F
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 Post subject: Modelling Glossary D - F
PostPosted: April 14th, 2011, 9:16 pm 

A less-than-useful Humbrol product. Since replaced by an excellent product. A water-based solution for softening decals and securing them into position.

Transfer bearing markings that were applied to the original of the model you are building. Decals finish a model off and give it distinctive markings. They are commonly produced in gloss or matt finishes.
Decal FilmThis is the (usually) transparent film, onto which the coloured decal is carried. This may show up as a silvered border around the decal, detracting from the look of the finished model. It is advisable to cut the decal as closely to its edge as possible, when removing it from its sheet of decal film. Aged decal film may have yellowed. This can be bleached back to near-transparency by placing the decal in a polythene bag and leaving it in a sunny window for several days. UV light will then bleach away the yellowing. However, this may cause the decal film to become brittle, which will then cause the actual decal to break up in water. A coating of Johnson’s Klear will provide an alternative decal film and will hold the decal together.

Demarkation line
This refers to the border between different colours of paint. It can refer to the line between upper and lower surfaces, or the line between differing colours of camouflage.
A demarkation line can be said to be "hard", (ie a clear distinction between one colour and the next), or "soft", (ie a blurred, or fuzzy distinction between colours).
A soft line is more easily achieved with an airbrush, although careful stippling with a brush can create a reasonably soft demarkation line.
(See also "Stippling")

A scale model scene made up from models set in a realistic background.

Dry brush
A technique used to simulate wear and tear on a model. A brush that's almost free of paint is used and run across an edge or raised area to give a weathered or worn look. Note thought that dry brushing can ruin a brush quickly, so it can be advisable to use an older brush.

Dry fitting
Assembling a model without glue to check the fit of parts, and possibly the required order of assembly. Dry fitting can prevent time-consuming (and possibly expensive) mistakes later in the build process.

Drying Medium
Used to speed the drying time of oil paints (qv).

Drying Retarder
Used with Acrylic Paints (qv) to slow the drying rate. Especially useful in warmer climes or in heated rooms. Do NOT use too much as drying times, adhesion and gloss may be lost.


A gloss level lying between semigloss and flat matt. Eggshell is very similar to satin finish.

Solvent-based modelling paint that comes in a variety of gloss levels. Can be applied either by brush or airbrush, or sometimes both, depending on the product specification.

Emperors New Clothes. A reference to the popular morality tale and, when used in the context of model kits, refers to the mass praising of a particular kit that, upon closer, more objective inspection, appears to be not quite as good as enthusiasts make out.

Epoxy Putty
This is a two part putty originally designed for use in plumbing and car repair, but soon adopted by modellers. The best known brands in the modelling field are Milliput and Kneadatite (also sold by Games Workshop under the Citadel Colour brand). When the two parts of the putty are mixed, the putty remains malleable for some time, but eventually sets hard. It can be used as a filler, for building up fillets or raised areas and for scratchbuilding parts. It is often used to make the masters for wargames figures. When working with freshly mixed epoxy putty, it is good practice to wet tools with water to stop the putty sticking to them. Milliput is manufactured in several colours, which can be mixed to make a marbled effect.

Etched Brass
Photo-etched brass detail parts. An example of an after-market product, these usually come in dedicated sets for specific models. Etching is a means of reproducing very fine detail in thin sheets of metallic materials, including brass. It is a photo-electrical process during which the excess metal is removed from a sheet, by a selective, corrosive attack of the parent material. The components will then need removing from the sheet using snips or fine scissors.
They will often then require folding or forming to make 3D shapes.

See Photoetching.

Evaporation rate
The rate at which solvent or water evaporates from an applied film. Ambient temperature and humidity can significantly affect this and increase drying time.


The small amount of paint you get on your finger when trying to pick up a Humbrol paint lid.

Any substance used to fill gaps, cracks and so forth. Sometimes referred to as putty, such substances include Squadron Green and Milliput. That said, superglue gel can be used as a filler, especially when used in conjunction with an accelerator, such as Zipkicker. Even Tippex can be used as a filler, for finer cracks.

Where some hot plastic has run between two injection mould halves during the manufacturing process. Flashing manifests as very thin wafers of plastic that can be easily removed with a modelling knife.

Flat ended stirrer
Used like a paddle to stir paint from the bottom of the tin. Pigment can often settle in a paint and it is important that it is all re-incorporated to ensure consistency of colour.

Flying Hours
Tokens given on certain Airfix kit boxes that Airfix club members could exchange for further kits. (This scheme is currently under review by Hornby)

The tiny part that was accepted to be lost to the carpet-monster, then turns up a week after you've scratched a replacement and finished the build.

Transparent low-tack film available in art shops and the like, particularly where airbrushes are sold. Useful for masking, particularly cutting stencils and the like.

To fondle with feeling and to rummage lovingly amongst your plastic pieces, esp. when experiencing the contents of a newly opened box.
(See also Snurge).

FS Standard
Federal Standard colours (US). In model making the relevant standard is FS595A/B. FS colours have no names, only 5 digit codes. Cross references to Humbrol paints are available here.

The Full Mike Grant
Taking an innocuous CBK and turning it into something special. Based upon Mike's excellent work in the series "Circuits and Bumps" in SAMI magazine.

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