Why spend the time to actually prep your toy soldiers before assembly?
I don't suppose you'll let me off with just a basic "Just do it, cause you should", will you? No? Alright fine, let's dive into 3 key prepping procedures and find out why your time is well invested.
Scrubbing ResinRaise you hand if you've bought something from Forge World. Now keep it up if you've ever noticed some parts of your horribly expensive, and yet entirely addicting resin toys a bit more shiny than other parts. That, my friends, is what's called mold release. It's this oily compound that resin casters coat their molds with to help the cured resin piece release easier from the rubber molds. The problem with this compound is that is oily. Ever heard of the expression "oil and water don't mix"? Well our paints are water based, and they don't mix with the mold release compounds, or sit on them either. Easiest way to remedy this is to soak the resin pieces in a mixture of water and degreasing dish soap overnight, then scrub the pieces with a spare toothbrush. I tend to go a bit heavy on the dish soap in the mix, just for good measure, there are times when you may have to repeat this to get all the compound off. You'll be happy you spent the time on this one, folks. Nothing worse than spending a hundred bucks on a single model, just to rush the prep and not have your paint stick to the model.
This could pertain to resin, plastic or metal. Or even that weird resin-plastic hybrid stuff that some companies use now. Either way, we're talking an out very carefully removing the extraneous flakes of material along the edges of most figures. This is the extra material that's left over after the casting process is done, and yes, this even includes the mold lines. There are many ways to do this, but my favorite is to have two hobby knives, loaded with two different types if blades. One is a scalpel style of blade that is truly my go-to blade, and the other is the long tapered point style of blade. I use the scalpel blade to gently scrape along the mold lines and shave flash off, and the rounded blade helps to avoid gouging into the figures. I use the long tapered blade to clean in small nooks and crannies that the scalpel doesn't reach. I do know some use hobby files to gently smooth out mold lines and flash, but I've found this to be a bit clunky for me, personally. However you choose to do it, do not skip this step. Nothing shows mold lines better than a well painted figure.
No, this particular prep doesn't always actively involve glueing your figures, or fingers, together. It does, however, help some of the best conversions come to life. It also helps avoid irritating situations when your ranked troops, won't rank. Take the extra time to sketch out your ideas, dig through your bits box for options before you glue things together, and maybe use some blu-tac to plan out your poses first. Not only will you be happier with the results, your wallet will thank you.
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of preps you can do in our hobby, but they are the 3 most important to me. Have something to add to the list? Shout it out in the comments below!
PS: Yes, the picture above does indeed mean I'm dusting off the Engineer on Mechanical Pegasus conversion. I'll be finishing it for Golden Demon this year in Chicago!