Do you remember assembling model kits in your childhood? These are the best memories of our lives. Assembling and reassembling the plastic models were the best ways to spend our time without getting bored. Presently, there are many model kits used by youngsters to bring the best of their time. For those who are always searching for some good hobbies, model kits are the best option for them.
Before adopting model kits as your hobby, one should get a complete idea about the materials from which model kits are made. Many materials are used to construct model kits, but the most significant among them are plastic, diecast, and resin. You may have witnessed many model kits in the toy shops in the forms of cars, airplanes, and many others. There are marks given onthose model kits to avoid exposing them to the mouth of the children. What’s the reason? The materials used in their construction.
Plastic Model Kits – A Short Overview
Talking about the plastic model kits, they are the unassembled parts that are integrated, leading to a particular structure of toys. You may see military aircraft and cars made up of single pieces of plastic model kits. They are generally manufactured with the help of a particular process called injection modeling.
Creating a plastic model is one of the classic hobbies you can ever adopt. But it will be more beneficial to assemble the parts when you have a complete idea about the materials of model kits. Besides resin and diecast, many other materials such as molded polystyrene plastic, photo-etched frets, and metal gun barrels are also used in their manufacturing.
So without further ado, let us jump to the list of materials used in the manufacturing of model kits.
Materials Used in the Manufacturing of Model Kits
A short overview of the materials used in the construction of model kits is as follows.
Die casting is one of the fundamental processes that is used to make model kits. Die casting is a process in which lead and zinc are put together in the mold, which leads the material to adopt a particular shape. For making plastic models, die casting materials are melted and poured into a specific mold according to the form of the toys for building up the structure.
Toys manufactured with diecasting consist of different materials, including metals, plastic, and glass. A perfect combination of these materials is responsible for the sturdy structure of model kits. Besides this die casting, injection molding is also used in making the specific types of toys. One of the most important things to mention about die casting is the materials used in its manufacturing.These materials can be lead or zinc alloy. Zinc can also be mixed with small quantities of aluminum and copper.
2. Polystyrene Plastic
As we have discussed earlier that plastic is the core material that is used to make model kits. But the type of plastic also varies greatly. Polystyrene plastic, mainly injection molded, is adopted mostly to make the model kits with excellent efficiency. Model kits are made up of these beaded polystyrene materials since the 1950s.
The polystyrene beads are molded into a particular shape with the help of a specific process. In this process, the plastic beads are melted under controlled conditions of pressure and temperature. After that, they are dealt with the help of the mold’s ejector pins to give them a specific shape. Keeping in mind while doing so is to handle the plastic with great care as it can be very hot.
One of the primary reasons for using polystyrene plastic in manufacturing model kits is that they can be turned into the color of your choice. Most plastic models are created in the original color of plastic as they have to be painted later. Considering the demand, most model kit industries are adopting polystyrene plastic as a significant material to make models.
3. Photo-Etched Metal Parts
You may have seen very delicate metal parts of the model kits. Do you ever wonder about the process by which they are made or by which materials they are manufactured? Photo-etching is the process used to generate very delicate parts made up of different metals. This is because injection molding can’t be used for such portions of the model kits. That is why photo-etching is adopted in industries to develop those parts with great delicacy.
For adding delicate details to your model kits, PE techniques have added great comfort. In the factories, different metals are cast into the CAD drawing program. This program is used to print or clear the film; after that, a photographic plate is used to expose the light.This gives you the shape you need to design the parts. One of the fantastic facts about these PE parts is that they are exceptionally delicate, and the majority of the users don’t like to use them. But still, they are used to add more details to the model kits to make them look perfect and elegant.
4. Cast Polyurethane Resin
After plastics, resin is another significant material used in the construction of model kits. To make the model kits more sustainable for continuous usage, cast polyurethane resin is generally added. Conversion kits are mostly used instead of injection modeling in the processing of polyurethane resins. Unlike alloys, resins are viable materials added to the models for making the best model parts of different toys.
In the processing of cast polyurethane resins, two different liquids are mixed and poured into semi-rigid rubber-like molds. After cooling the fluids, the mixtures of the fluids are separated from the molds to turn them into particular shapes.
One of the best things about resin molds of the model kits is that they are relatively cheap and easy to make. The process of their manufacturing is way more comfortable than injection molding. But at the same time, it has a downside too. The parts manufactured with the help of cast polyurethane resins are not much durable if they are compared to plastics or alloys.
5. Metal Cabled and Tank Tracks
Most children are fond of buying their favorite military models. But the most important thing about the military materials is that they consist of some additional materials such as metal cables or wires and tank tracks. Many military model kits own different metal cables for towing the other vehicles. They can’t be replaced with plastic strands because of durability problems. That is why some leading companies provide them with their model kits while in the other you have to buy them from the market.
If you’re having a model kit of any tank, you may get the tracks to run them most efficiently. These tank tracks are mainly manufactured with the help of rubber-like materials. Other than rubber resins, the injection molding method is also used to make them.
Compromising on the quality of the model kits will be one of the worst things you can do to yourself. A wide variety of materials are used in the manufacturing of model kits. Out of them, some are mentioned above.