Question: Cast resin modeling - is this what I should expect???

Hi, all.
I recently bought a cast resin model of a gun (the M41a Pulse Rifle from Aliens.
Paid a pretty penny for it, too.
When it showed up, I was a little surprised. Most of the pieces are okay, but some of the 'thinner' ones are slightly warped, meaning I'll likely need to gently take a heat gun to get them perfect. TONS of burrs from the casting, too - I'll need to do a lot of cleanup on the pieces. Plus, some of the more 'delicate' pieces are broken - I'm sure I can fix them or fabricate replacements, but that kind of bugs me... and not all the parts are there! I don't see any triggers! This thing should have two triggers and I shouldn't have to sculpt them from scratch.
It's not a wreck ot anything, but the whole thing is a lot less refined than I expected to find it when I unpacked it. I've never done this kind of cast model before, so I'm not sure if I've been taken or not. The burrs don't really bug me, the 'straightening' required on some of the parts I can forgive, and I can accept _some_ minor shipping damage - but all that together, combined with the missing triggers is kind of much.
Thoughts?
Thanks!!
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send it back. don't buy crap.
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This stuff is often called "garage kits". Now you know why.
There are a lot of people out there more interested in taking your money than delivering value for what you paid. It is often impossible to actually lay hands on some of these items prior to laying out your cash, but I still think that unless you have actually seen the product, or have talked with someone whose opinions you trust, who has, your better off keeping your money in your pocket.
Like someone else suggested, I would attempt to return it if you are not satisfied. Chances are pretty good that you may end up with nothing and still be out the money, but maybe this guy will actually return your money. If you don't tell him you don't like his product he might just think he is doing good stuff.
Quality resin work is not as simple as many would have you believe. There sure is a lot of junk out there.
Norm
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Well, I doubt that at this point - this WAS an Ebay sale, and any Ebay vendor should know the implications of scathing feedback and a buyer pursuing Buyer Protection options. The seller also has a good feedback record, and does not strike me as a one-off out to rip someone off.
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BD wrote:

It looks like this is more of a customer service issue than anything else. Being in the business I can tell you that some of the things you described are pretty typical from cast resin kits. Some flash, minor warpage, and resulting clean up of parts have to be expected, but not to the point where the parts can't be easily repaired and used. Resin absorbs moisture from the air which causes some warpage and there is just no way around it. A quick dip in boiling water should easily repair any warped parts.
However, broken parts regardless of how delicate they are, shouldn't (they sometimes do because sh*t happens) happen because if the shipper (the manufacturer) would have packaged it properly, breaks should seldom occur.
Missing parts also happen. Hell, we are all human and the manufacturer should be willing to replace them. Same goes for broken or poorly cast parts. The manufacturer should replace them if you send the defective parts to them to back your claim.
Resin kits aren't cheap and you should expect a good product and good customer service if needed. Replacing the whole kit unless it's just absolute unusable garbage, is a bit much to ask, but asking for replacement parts isn't (especially if you send them the defects). I would contact the manufacturer, explain the problem. I think you'll find they are understanding about stuff like that. FWIW
Rusty White Flagship Models Inc. flagshipmodels.com
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Rusty:
Yes, I agree with all of your points. The flash in this case kind of surprises me though - one some of the bulkier pieces I'm going to have to sand off over 1/8" of thick tough resin in order for the parts to fit properly and look correct. I can kind of see how the moulding process was done, though - it looks to have been cast without particular care to trim the flash at the time of manufacture.
As well, the warping does make some sense, especially if the deformation happened just after casting. I've already taken a heat gun to some of the parts, and straightening them out will not be a problem - the stuff takes on a consistency of stiff clay once it's warm.
But given the fact that some of the seller's Ebay feedback explicitly pointed out "excellent packing", I am really surprised here. I received a 2'x2'x1' box, filled with shredded newspaper - the resin pieces were stuffed all together in the middle at the bottom (no separate bubble wrap, no apparent attempt to keep the pieces from bumping during shipping). Small chips of resin that had settled in the bottom of the box are very likely the ones that snapped off the broken areas. Not impressed.
As well - this is a _gun_ model. You'd think that they'd make sure the triggers were there.
So, we'll see how the seller handles it - I didn't buy directly from the manufacturer, so I'm not expecting replacement/ spare parts to be on hand. Should prove interesting.
Thanks!
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I haven't seen the parts you speak of, but there will be thick resin on one area of all of the parts to deal with. This is what we call the "gate". The larger the part, the larger and thicker the gate. The gate is where the resin is poured into the mold. Being the entry point for all the resin, there has to be a sufficiently large opening for the resin to be poured. The thick part at the top is necessary to overfill with some extra resin in the event there is some shrinkage. The size of the gate depends on several factors I won't into, but sometimes the gate can be quite large and long. I use a jig saw with a fine blade to remove large gates. Take care to stay away from the part and remove as much of the gate as possible.
Now thick flash is not acceptable because that's just a sign of a poorly cast part or molds that have reached the end of thier useful life. RTV (room temperature vulcanizing) rubber for molds is EXPENSIVE. Especially for large parts. RTV rubber is what we use to make the molds. Some guys are just cheap bast*rds and won't replace the molds when they should so the result is heavy flass and poor cast detail and some angry customers. One guy already mentioned the importance of reading a review before buying a kit. That's good advice and could warn you of unscrupulous manufacturers who provide poor customer service.
Even obvious parts can be easily left out of kits. When I assemble the parts for my kits to be bagged, if the phone rings, or someone asks me a question, you would be suprised how easy it is to "lose your place" in the order of things. I have a "parts sheet" I use for each model that has a picture of each part and the number needed for each. I lay the parts on each picture so I always know everything is ready for bagging. It may sound simplistic, but it works. Unfortunately, everyone has thier own system. Some work well, some don't.
Just because you didn't buy the kit direct from the manufacturer doesn't mean you aren't entitled to a complete kit. That is unless you purchased it "as is" from an individual. That happens a LOT on eBay. However, the manufacturer wouldn't know that, so he is still obligated (IMHO) to replace the missing or broken parts. If the seller promised the kit to be complete and delivers less, then burn him with negative feedback. Can't blame the manufacturer because that idiot lost the parts and screwed you. On eBay the responsibility falls to the seller. BUYER BEWARE.
Like you say, give the guy a chance and I'll bet he'll suprise you. It's in his best interest to have his stuff out in the public and satisfied customers, so word of mouth sells more kits. I hope all works out for you.
Rusty White Flagship Models Inc. flagshipmodels.com
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Rusty: I agree. And thanks for the outline on the process. Sounds like anyone with some materials and a source mold can do this.
I'd considered a belt sander to remove the 'gate' from the larger parts, as I don't have immediate access to other power tools. I do have a friend with a bandsaw, so that might be worth the trip to his shop.
The flashing is generally very thing - paper thin. So that's not a problem. I can clean it up with no worries. Little difference between that and cleaning up the flashing on a 'commercial' plastic model.
What about 'pitting'? Is that typical? On some of the parts with sharp edges, there are pits, which I would attribute to air bubbles left during the pour. There are not many pits, and they are generally about 1mm in size. I can fill those with anything - epoxy, whatever. I only ask because I'm not sure whether to consider the overall appearance of this kit 'typical' or not.
As to the missing bits, I contacted the seller, and she (I believe it's a gal who simply had this in storage for the past 20 years) was very apologetic, and offered a full refund or a partial refund - and invited other suggestions as I may see fit.
Given that I've paid duty on the thing and don't expect her to cover THAT, I'll keep it. But since I have to repair 2 small pieces, and fabricate triggers, I'm considering just asking for compensation to the tune of the duty costs, or something similar. That would amount to roughly 15% of the entire cost paid. Sounds a bit much, but I really do feel this person should be penalized somewhat for just tossing all the bits in a box stuffed with shredded paper, and letting them knock about across the border. I feel that was just negligent.
BD
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<<Rusty: I agree. And thanks for the outline on the process. Sounds like anyone with some materials and a source mold can do this.>>
You're right. Anyone can cast thier own parts or kits if they can build a master pattern. Like anything else, some people do it better than others.
<<What about 'pitting'? Is that typical? On some of the parts with sharp edges, there are pits, which I would attribute to air bubbles left during the pour. There are not many pits, and they are generally about 1mm in size. I can fill those with anything - epoxy, whatever. I only ask because I'm not sure whether to consider the overall appearance of this kit 'typical' or not.>>
I would say below average. Lots of air bubbles is caused by several things, but the caster not putting thier resin filled mold under pressure in a pressure chamber is the biggest reason. Most of the air bubbles in resin castings are removed by putting it under 50lbs psi of pressure. This also greatly improves the cast details. It really sounds like one of those guys who doesn't use a pressure chamber. You don't have to use a pressure chamber, but you see the result when you don't.
Air bubbles like s*it happens, but it doesn't have to happen frequently. I use a resin that is a crystal clear amber color so I can see 99% of the air bubbles and I pick them out with a fine wire before the resin sets. Between using a superior resin for casting, a pressure chamber, and picking out the bubbles with a fine wire, VERY few air bubbles should occur in the final product. Plain and simple, the casting process must be done with a little TLC to produce a good product.
Rusty White Flagship Models Inc. flagshipmodels.com
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Hi BD,
use CA (cyano Acrylate) or superglue for the smaller pits. for the larger pits you just fil them with CA and sprinkle some resin dust over it. Resin dust from grinding/sawing the casting blocks from the parts.
Instant filler and the excess is sanded away quite easily.
HTH
Dennis
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<<I'd considered a belt sander to remove the 'gate' from the larger parts, as I don't have immediate access to other power tools. I do have a friend with a bandsaw, so that might be worth the trip to his shop.>>
A belt sander will work fine, but it puts out a LOT of resin dust that settles on everything. Be SURE to wear a mask when using it. That's why I use a hand held jig saw. You can get them cheap and they come in handy for stuff like this.
Rusty White Flagship Models Inc. flagshipmodels.com
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-but it puts out a LOT of resin dust that settles on everything.
Ohh, I'm used to dust. I'm the only guy I know who built an entire acoustic guitar from scratch in an apartment. Ebony dust is particularly nasty. ;-))
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Plastic zip-lock baggies work very well for most built-ups.
Bill Banaszak, MFE Sr.
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Mad-Modeller wrote:

I'm at the state where anybody who's kind enough to put the builtup in an actual ziplock bag gets overflowing positive feedback from me. Reasonably happy even if they use an old plastic supermarket bag with holes in it. Or even just newspaper wrapped up enough so the pieces that get broken off don't fall out.

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Most resin casting is a cottage industry. The results vary WIDELY. I am not familiar with that specific firm. Some resin detail stuff is exquisite, some is junk. Try to ask around before you purchase from a firm you don't know.
BD wrote:

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