Vinyl Models


The Mighty Thor!
The Joker on Throne
Judge Anderson

OK, let's talk vinyl. In the 90's we had a new generation of model kits. I prefer the plastic kits, especially the classics. When the vinyl model kits started hitting the market, I was less than impressed. They were called "garage kits" because the company usually consisted of one guy making these in his garage, so the quality was spotty and the price reflected the high labor and low volume of this kind of production. In other words, they cost a fortune.

Today they only cost half a fortune, with the exception of a couple of companies that have made it to the mass production stage. I must say there are some great artists turning out some great work. Now there are only two areas of criticism I have left. The first is that I prefer a base for the model - a kit that gives me an entire scene - and many lack this. I will go in and create my own (such as with my Thor and Joker models) but I'd like to create a scene, not a big action figure.

The second concern was a moral one. When these were first being marketed, only the larger companies bother to get the rights to the character they are selling. This is usually because a company like Universal does not want to bother with such a small scale production. Still, the ethics bothered me.  With the mainstream companies like Monogram getting into the business, this is less a concern today.

That said, I'm starting to put together a few of these, the ones that really stand out in my opinion. I still won't pay $100.00 for a vinyl when the same money will get me an old Aurora plastic model, but as they get into the stores and come down in price I'll be looking a lot closer at them.

Working in vinyl.

Vinyl is not better or worse than plastic, just different. The molding is easier, so you have fewer pieces. No "two parts of a head" to put together. You use superglue instead of plastic cement, use the same putty and painting (acrylic) techniques as on plastic. You heat the vinyl with a hairblower to cut it off the mold and do the trimming. A good wash, followed by a base coat and regular brushwork will give you a good paint job.

If you're used to plastic, there is one important difference you should keep in mind: vinyl is soft. It bends, and the pieces are hollow. You will need to pack many pieces to stiffen and brace them to keep the model from suffering a case of the sags later on. I pack mine with thin plastic bags cut into strips, and sometimes include a pin in the joint to keep the pieces together. There are vinyl model websites out there with plenty of tips, so before building your first vinyl model I'd suggest you check them out.

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