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Modelling Glossary A - C
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 Post subject: Modelling Glossary A - C
PostPosted: April 14th, 2011, 9:17 pm 

An annual modeling activity shown in the signatures of some UAMF members:
A = # kits acquired during the year.
B = # models built during the year (any models, not just those acquired this year).
C = # models "chucked", as in made a pigs ear & binned it or maybe gave away or whatever.

A plastic polymer - acrylonitrate butadiene styrene - sometimes used to make model kits, but more often a componant of larger scaled, radio-controlled models.

This is a liquid that accelerates the curing, (or setting), of superglue. It is available as an aerosol or in a bottle with a pump action spray. (Traditionally, this substance has been used on larger scale, radio-controlled aircraft and boats, so spraying the accelerator is appropriate). However, for the smaller scale modeller, it is better to dispense the accelkerator into a small container, or to apply it using a cocktail stick. Note that superglue that has been set by the use of an accelerator is extremely hard and difficult to sand.
That said, superglue gel, smoothed into a gap, hardened with accelerator, makes for a useful filler. Accelerator also makes rigging with lycra thread so much easier.
"Zipkicker" is a popular brand of accelerator.
NOTE That the chemical reaction between superglue and accelerator produces heat. If you spill accelerator on your skin, where superglue is present, it WILL hurt!

Working on a model to add extra detail, or to refine the existing model parts, to make them more accurate and representative of the subject.

A generic term in modelling articles generally referring to a sheet of transparent plastic. A substitute for this can be found in blisterpack packaging. Useful for windscreens.

Traditionally, a water-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.
The new formular acrylic paints are not water-based. They may be diluted, but have an acrylic polymer emulsion base. The old ''Latex'' interior paints were water-based, but the exterior ''Latex'' was not. As a BTW they didn't contain latex either.

When using Acrylic paint the brush should always be kept wet. Do not thin too much as the adhesion may be affected and gloss may go matt.

A pressurised container that can deliver either sprayed paint (a mixture of paint, solvent and propellant) for a professional finish, or provide the necessary power to enable airbrushing of paint. Humbrol's Modellers Spray and Airbrush Power Pack are both examples of an aerosol.

After Market
A product not supplied in the box by the kit manufacturer but sold for use with the kit, generally by another supplier. Decals and photo-etch products are common after-market products. Examples of aftermarket suppliers include Falcon, for vac form canopies, Xtradecal for decals and Aeroclub for white metal pieces.

Abbreviation: Armoured Fighting Vehicle

Air hose
A length of tubing connecting the airbrush to the can of gas propellant or compressor.

A means of applying paint using a powered spray gun. Airbrushes are useful for painting larger areas of plastic such as wings, but generally require different skills from those of ordinary brush application. Using an airbrush allows for a finish devoid of brush strokes and it is easier to create soft-edges to demarkation lines.

Advanced Modellers Syndrome; A condition afflicting many modellers, causing them to become obsessive about all aspects of detailing their model. Extreme cases can cause the afflicted to progress through Rivet Counter, to becoming a JMN

A process whereby etched brass is heated in a flame to make it more pliable and less brittle.

Means of applying paint or glue to certain substrates. In model making, brush and airbrush are the most common methods.

The Aircraft Resource Center, a modelling website;

A person who constantly asks for advice but never takes it.

The Airfix Tribute Forum. A modelling Forum, formed at the same time as this one, when the official Airfix Forums closed down;

A process whereby paint is broken into finely divided droplets and then applied onto the substrate. In modelling this applies to the process of airbrushing, where paint is forced through the airbrush nozzle under pressure. The process is almost always enabled by thinning the paint down with a suitable thinner. It is important to get the correct degree of atomisation otherwise satisfactory end results will not be obtained, and usually some experimentation with either or both of paint consistency and airbrush pressure is required.

Authentic Colours
A discontinued Humbrol range of enamel paints matched to original BS, FS, railway, naval and army colours.


A colloquial term, describing the early Airfix Series 1 kits, (produced from 1954 to 1973) and Series 2 kits, (from 1957 to 1963). These were packaged in a polythene bag, sealed by a cardboard Header. These were discontinued in the 1970's, as they could only be displayed on special racks and were prone to crushing, resulting in broken parts. Frog, Playcraft/Aurora, Novo and Lincoln/Revell NZ also sold kits in this manner.

Weight applied, usually in ship kits intended to float, to balance the model.

A small part that remains irretrievably lost despite seeing exactly where it landed

Blister Pack
A term used to describe the packaging of a kit, consisting of a transparent plastic "blister", encasing the pieces, glued to a cardboard backing. Blister Packs replaced the Baggies in the 1970's. Whilst still needing a rack to display them, they were much more robust than their bagged counterparts.

"Lightning Build"
A term coined by Forum member, MattBacon, to describe a 24-hour Group Build, wherein a kit was started, built and totally finished within a 24-hour period. Participants in the Build took time-authenticated photographs, to 'prove' that all took place in the required time slot. Obviously, trust plays a part in such a build, but it certainly got some jaded modelling juices flowing.
Since the Group Build, some members have attempted solo Blitzbaus, with differeing levels of success.

Blu-tac, (produced by Bostick), is a malleable putty-like substance with a slight stickiness to it, intended for affixing posters to walls. Rolled into thin "sausages", it is very effective for delineating the edges of different coloured areas in camouflage schemes as part of the masking process before spraying paint. The thinner the sausage, and the harder it is pressed down, the "harder" the edge of the painted area. The area between the Blu-tac rolls can be masked with tape, masking fluid, or Copydex (see below). Also invaluable for holding small parts for painting, often attached to "craft sticks" (see below)

If available, White Tac® is preferable as a masking material, being less greasy. In any event, masking involving the use of blu- or white- tac should be removed as soon as the surrounding paint is touch-dry, to minimise the possibility of staining.

Braille Scale
Tricky one, I asked the members of the UAMF, the ATF, IPMS-UK, What-If and ARC forums.

Although there are one or two who believe that Braille scale is for the larger scales, (kits you can build with your eyes shut and by touch alone), the vast majority share the consensus that Braille scale is the smaller scale. For AFV's, this tends to be anything smaller than 1/35 and for aircraft, anything smaller than 1/48.

One theory has it that it came about as a counter to those who built aircraft kits and repeatedly proclaimed 1/72 to be The One True Scale. "You must be blind", went the response...etc..

A particularly useful suggestion came from MickeyThickey, over on ARC;
"If it's referring to something smaller, then it's the 'you'll go blind' definition. 1/48 modellers refer to 1/72 as Braille scale, 1/72 modellers refer to 1/144 models as Braille scale and 1/144 modellers refer to 1/350 and 1/700 models as Braille scale.
If it's referring to something larger, then it's the 'details so big you can read it like braille', or 'you could build it even if you WERE blind' definition. So 1/72 modellers call 1/48 Braille scale, 1/48 modellers call 1/32 Braille scale, 1/32 guys call 1/24 Braille scale and so on.

Confusing, as the term has two entirely different, almost oxymoronic definitions, but it's usually easy to work out from the context."

An alloy of copper and zinc, usually 60% copper and 40% zinc. Other metals such as aluminium, iron, lead, manganese, nickel and tin that are alloyed with copper is called "bronze". Brass is often used to make Photoetched parts.

One of the modeller's basic tools, the brush is used to apply paint to a model. Brushes vary widely in size and quality, so be sure to choose carefully to give the best finish. Basically, you get what you pay for and it’s advisable to buy quality brushes from an art supply shop. One sign of a quality brush is that it will form a very fine point, so you can have quite a large brush, but because it’ll form a fine point, you can still use it for detail work.For larger areas, a flat-edged, or chisel-tipped brush is ideal.
(See also "Hairy Stick")

BS Standard
British Standard colours.

Buggritt, The Law of
This covers many aspects of modelling;
When you lose a piece, scratch a carefully crafted replacement and then find that piece.
When you spend months painstakingly recreating a subject that no model company would touch and, a week or two before completion, some major company releases said subject for a fraction of what you've spent so far.
When the one tin of paint you need is absent from your supply, or all dried up and your supplier has the complete range, except, of course, that one tin.
When you apply all decals without mishap, until you get to the one, irreplaceable piece of noseart, which decides to disintegrate, after folding itself, Robert Harbin-style.


Cyano-Acrylate, the ‘proper’ name for Superglue-type adhesives.

The transparent bit, that fits over the cockpit.

The Carpet Monster
You know when that piece of kit you've been working on, drops to the floor and disappears forever? That's because the Carpet Monster has eaten it. This creature has an insatiable appetite for all things kit and will assuredly devour your dropped offerings at a rate that is proportional to the value of the piece dropped. The more unique the piece, the more likely it will get snaffled.
Some modellers have been known to cut themselves in order to make a blood sacrifice to the Carpet Monster. This is futile, unless you actually bleed polystyrene, or shed photo-etch.
Although known as the Carpet Monster, it has kin which are equally at home in linoleum, parquet flooring, slate tiles and rubber rooms.
See also;
Crack Goblin
Hair Fairy
Speck Sprite

Cats are the boon companion of many a modeller, although they come with certain disadvantageous characteristics.
When the Carpet Monster has eaten that ever-so precious piece of superbly folded photoetch, stroking the cat can sooth the most frayed of erves. However, whilst on your knees, looking in vain for the missing part, Tiddles may well be atop the tabletop, exploring your carefully arranged pieces, casually batting more choice items to the floor and shedding exquisitely fine hairs all over your previously immaculate paint jobs.
Whilst building that Classic Ship you’ve had in storage for over a decade, and rummaging below for that lost capstan, that cracking sound above will be the wonderful noise of Mrs. Tiddles picking her teeth with your top yard arm.
Miss Kitty may also decide to sit on your work, demonstrating that it is she who should have your undivided attention, as opposed to the silly pieces of styrene now scattered across the room.

That said, a cats whiskers make mighty fine aerials for AFV's and aircraft!

(Tempting though it might be, removing a cats whiskers is both cruel and unnecessary, as cats shed their whiskers naturally and should be collected from the floor/blanket/cat bed).

Classic British Kits. ie any kit, of British manufacture, made on, or before, 1980.

CE Mark
Conformite Europeene (French). Symbol used to indicated that a product conforms to the relevant European health, safety and environmental quality standards. All kit manufacturers products, on sale in Europe, should carry the CE mark on the product packaging.

Cellulose thinners
A blend of solvents that are very good for removing paint.

Circle Cutter
A tool for cutting circles in sheet plastic. Designed like a pair of mathematical compasses with a blade on one arm and a needle point on the other. (See also "Compass Cutter").

This is a useful Humbrol product. A solvent-based polymer solution for use as an adhesive on clear plastic parts without the risk of the 'frosting' effect sometimes seen using traditional glues and also for making small windows or translucent areas of 3mm or less.

A modeller's basic tool, clippers are used to cut plastic, most notably in the detachment of parts from a sprue. A good pair of clippers gives a very clean cut. Some modellers use standard nail clippers for this purpose, top good effect.

Colour matching
Adjusting a paint's composition so that it conforms to an agreed standard. Also, a method used by those with AMS, who will obtain authentic paint chips and then attempt to mix standard paints to match the exact colour.

Colour rendering
How a particular colour looks in specific lighting conditions. Different types of light render colour differently, for example natural sunlight contains more blue light, whereas artificial lights contain more orange. Thus blues will appear more intense in daylight than artificial light.
(See also "Metamerism").

Colour wash
Watering down paint to reduce its opacity and give a 'washed' appearance. This is then applied to a model as a weathering technique,, where the wash flows into crevices and engraved details, highlighting them.

Compass Cutter
See "Circle Cutter".

A motorised unit used in the application of paint when using an airbrush. The compressor forces the paint through an airbrush using high pressure and ensures it is atomised to give a smooth final appearance.

Copydex, (made by Henkel), is a latex-based glue, which is an excellent and rather cheaper alternative to Masking Fluid (see below). One technique for masking and painting wavy-edged camouflage schemes involves outlining the areas to be masked with thin rolls of Blu-Tack (see above) and filling the areas to be masked with Copydex. After drying for a few hours, it forms an impervious barrier which can simply be peeled off after the paint is dry.

The spreading rate of a paint or coating, usually expressed in metres squared per litre. Coverage figures are a useful guide, but it's worth remembering that practical coverage will vary from modeller to modeller depending on the painting style, for example if the paint is applied more thickly.

Crack Goblin
The little beggar responsible for placing cracks in your immaculately filled, sanded and finished model, usually after you've just applied the most perfect, streak free paint job. This creature adores fresh filler, although you can supply it with so much that it is violently sick, or sneezes. Obviously, this would not be good on a freshly painted model.

Craft sticks
Craft sticks are essentially wooden lollipop sticks for <ahem> grown ups. Available in big packs from craft stores, they come in the traditional lolly size (c 15cm x 1cm) and the "tongue depressor" size (c 20cm x 2.5cm). Invaluable for attaching small parts to while painting (perhaps using Blu-Tack (see above)) so they can easily be manipulated and kept from the Carpet Monster (see above)

Dried paint that has developed lines resembling crazy paving. Causes include incomplete drying of the paint film below when recoating, where the solvent in the topcoat re-dissolves the first coat, or by an aggressive solvent in the topcoat attacking the first coat. If using different types of paint in successive coats you should always do a test area on some excess plastic or cardboard first.

Allowing a paint or adhesive to fully dry. Curing is the chemical reaction with atmospheric oxygen that dries solvent-based paints and glues. It is also responsible for skins appearing in paint cans, caused by the can not being fully airtight when closed.

Cutting Mat
See "Modelling Mat".

Cyano-Acrylate (see CA)
Superglue .

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