Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Working with Pla Plate: Designing and Adding Details

One of the more advanced modification techniques in plamo is using pla-plate (plastic sheet) to change the appearance of a kit. This gives the modeler free rein in redesigning the armor and even the proportions of a model. With so much freedom to make a design of your own, it is often difficult to imagine what shapes would look good on a certain part. Here's a simple technique on how to draft a design without wasting precious plastic.

What you will need:

1. Scissors
2. Acetate or transparency film (the kind used for projectors)
3. Marker or pen that can write on the acetate
4. Hobby knife and/or Scriber
5. Compass needle
6. Metal ruler
7. Plastic cement

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

1. Cut a piece of acetate/transparency and place it on the part you want to detail. Sketch your design onto the acetate using a marker.

2. Once you are happy with your design, place the acetate onto your pla plate. Secure it with some masking tape, and punch dots through the corners of the sketch down into the pla-plate with a compass needle.

3. Remove the acetate, and use a hobby knife to cut and connect the dots you made in step 2. Use moderate pressure when cutting. A metal ruler or other hard straight edge will help guide your knife, while the dots should stop the knife from sliding beyond the corners. For thicker pla plate, use a scriber to trace the pattern and pop the shape out (i'll explain how to do this in another tutorial)

*Tip: Connect the dots first with a pen so you can easily see the shape for cutting.

4. Clean the edges of your shape with some sandpaper, then use plastic cement to glue the finished piece onto the kit.

*Add layers of pla plate, or combine with scribing for even more detail
This technique is fairly simple and you can do a whole lot in a short amount of time - but never forget the golden rule of customization: The more you add, the more you have to clean up. Putty and sand away imperfections and scratches. Clean up excess glue and rough surfaces. If something looks messy before paint, it will not look any better once it's painted. Give the parts a quick wash before painting to remove any sanding debris and oil. Even the most heavily modified kits can end up looking half-assed if the mods are untidy. Anyone can glue pieces of plastic to a model, but it takes some finesse and a bit of OCD to blend the mods seamlessly into the design.

Here's the video tutorial by Kriz Kreations where this method was adapted from:

Until next time, keep building plamo!


  1. Nice little tutorial, btw I think I know where you saw this; the stenceling method was the feature of a youtube video I saw. I looked up pla plate and gundam on youtube, and there was a video called "how to make custom stencils for gunpla" by a guy named Kriz Kreations talking about tracing the acetate and laying it over the pla plate and tracing with a ruler then cutting it out. It may not be where you saw it, but if that's the case, you probably both saw the same source for your tutorials.

    1. That's it! No wonder I couldn't find it I thought it was on a blog and didn't think to check youtube. Thanks for the tip, the video is now linked.

  2. well...i use direct cutting method where i cut a certain parts e.g. for my astray's left shoulder and then i make that as a pattern for cutting another plate for the right shoulder. but this is new for me. thanks for posting it altough the guy bellow mentioned that this tutor has been on you tube but i prefer reading. videos are buffering with my connection. haha

  3. Thanks for crediting me, i love your spin on the tutorial...

    Sharing is caring.


    1. Thanks for sharing the video Kriz! it's still my go-to technique for drafting up plate designs.