Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Back to Basics 1: Cutting Parts from the Sprue

Hello fellow otakus! As promised, I'm doing a "Back to Basics" series, which will feature some rudimentary plamo techniques along with some tips and tricks I picked up along the way. I know there are a ton of these tutorials online, and my methods might not even be the optimal approach, so if you have any suggestions feel free to contribute in the comments section below.

Let's start off with the most basic of the basic - how to properly remove a part from the sprue.

You'll need:
1. A kit
2. Side cutters

Click on the Read More link for the rest of this post...

For the uninitiated...this is a Sprue, also referred to as a "Tree" or "Runner".

Your kit's parts will come attached to Sprues. Each part will be connected to the Sprue at one or more points called "Gates". These gates are where you will use your Side Cutter.

These are Side Cutters. There are cutters specifically made for modeling, but a wire stripper or something similar will also work. You'll want a pair with a pointy tip for getting into tight spaces.

(*pic borrowed from the interwebs)
Take your side cutters and detach the part from the sprue by cutting the gates close to the part, but not completely flush. If you cut too close to the part, it will cause unwanted stress on the part's surface, or might even leave a dent. It is easier to remove excess later than have to fill in a dent.

Depending on how good your memory and organization skills are, you may choose to cut off all the parts from the sprues and organize them into small labeled containers. For novice builders though, I recommend cutting the parts according to where you are in the construction manual. If done correctly, your part should have little nubs of excess plastic.


  • If you plan on painting, wash the runners in a basin of water with some dish washing liquid to remove any residue left over from the molding process. Make sure no parts fall off.
  • If your side cutters are crushing the plastic instead of cutting it, it's time to get a new pair.
  • Save time digging for the correct sprue by labeling them with a bit of masking tape as illustrated below.

Click here for Back To Basics 2

Until next time, keep building plamo!

No comments:

Post a Comment