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Glossary of Terms

The hobby of scale modelling has its own terminology that has grown up throughout the years and this can be intimidating to beginners.  There is also the problem that a particular term will mean different things to different modellers.  For clarity here is a listing of all terms and abbreviations used in Scale Model Guide.com.  The definitions are what we mean by the use of the term as used on this site.

Table 1: The Glossary

Term Description
Acryli-goop A thick gel used for filling or texturing surfaces made from varnish, sugar and optionally flour.
After-Market A general term refering to products intended to supplement model kits.  These may be detail sets in photo-etched metal, cast resin or decal sets.  They are intended to update, super-detail, or change the version of the model.  Often refered to as after-market accessories.
Bolt Counter A nick name for a scale modeler who is particularly obssesive above getting details accurate.  also known as ‘Rivet Counter’.
Dry Brushing A technique where a brush (usually fairly large) has almost all the paint removed until it appears dry and then is repeatedly passed over corners and high spots of a model.  This gives emphasis to raised areas and to an extent mimics the way that light reflects off corners and edges.
Ejector pin marks On injection molded kits, metal pins are used in the mold to push out the newly formed plastic parts.  The plastic is still hot and pliable so these pins create circular depressions in the plastic parts.  A good model will be designed so that these marks are on the inside, or in other places where they cannot be seen.  If not, they need to be filled so they cannot be seen under the paint.
Filter This is a very thin wash applied over a large area, if not the entire model.  A typical consistency would be 5% paint to 95% thinners.  The aim is to subtely change the underlying colours, either to tone down or spice up the base colour. Filters are also useful to tone down the base colours when they appear to bright or to help to blend the different colours of a camouflage paint scheme.  Several filters may be applied of the same or different colours.
Flash On injection molded kits sometimes the two halves of the mold do not meet perfectly and some molten plastic can squeeze out in between the molds.  The result is parts that have a thin flap of plastic all around the edge where the seam is.  This rarely happens on recently released kits that are produced with new molds.
Kit bashing Not as violent as it sounds! Kit bashing is the creation of a new and unique kit by cutting up and otherwise utilising the parts from other kits.  Normally done when a particular subject is not available as a ready made kit.  Not as extensive as ‘scratch building’.
OOB Out Of the Box – literally making a model kit as the manufacturer intended without any modifications or additional detailing.  A model with a different paint scheme to that recommended or different decals/markings would still normally be considered to be built ‘out of the box’.
Pin Vise Small hand held manually powered mini-drill
Pin Wash This is a type of wash which is applied with a very small brush to specific areas.  The wash is usually dark and allowed to flow into panel lines or around small details to emphasise them and give the impression of shadow.  See also ‘Wash’.
Poly-goop A thick gel used for filling made from liquid polystyrene cement and styrene chips.
Rivet Counter A nick name for a scale modeler who is particularly obssesive above getting details accurate.  also known as ‘Bolt Counter’.
Scratch building Building either an entire model or a sub-assembly from ‘scratch’ rather than from assembling pre-formed kit parts.  True scratch building involves manufacturing parts from basic materials.  However, it is also used to describe the process of altering kit parts so they can be used for a different purpose to that intended.
Sink hole This is a defect on a kit part.  Sometimes, when molten plastic is forced into the mold it does not reach all parts of the mold.  This will result in some parts – usually large ones – having depressions in them.  These sink holes can be filled, but if there is complex surface detail that has been lost it can be difficult to reproduce.
Sludge Wash A term for a wash that includes a proportion of liquid dishwashing detergent so that it can be wiped off raised surfaces when dry.
Sprue Most model kits are injection molded where very hot liquid plastic is injected under high pressure into a mold.  Very large parts may be molded individually, but most parts are made together in groups that are held together by a plastic ‘tree’.  These plastic trees are known as sprues.  They are generally waste material although sometimes they can be put to good use.
Super-detailing The process of adding additional detail to a model over and above what is in the box.  This may be adding detail that is missing or replacing detail that is not up to the required standard.
Wash This is a term for a very thin coat of paint which will be largely transparent.  Normally, the wash is a darker colour than the underlying base colours and is used to show up panel lines or provide shading around raised details.  Typically it the solution may be only 5% paint to 95% thinner.  When applied to small distinct spots it is known as a pin wash.
Weathering This is a term to describe a range of techniques aimed at taking a model from a ‘factory fresh’ finish and giving is a well worn and used appearance.  This consists of adding dust, mud, rust, scratches, oil spills, smoke stains and all manner of other effects that a real life vehicle experiences.

Table 2: Abbreviations

Abbreviation Description
AFV Armoured Fighting Vehicle e.g. tanks, armoured cars and armoured personnel carriers
FSM Fine Scale Modeler Magazine
IPMS International Plastic Modellers’ Society
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