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Hobby shed - Modelmaking glossary
Category: Hobbies and Crafts > Modelmaking
Date & country: 12/11/2007, UK
Words: 275

Ranged Fire
A wargaming term for a unit capable of attacking something not immediately next to it.

Rare Earth Magnets
Neodymium, iron and boron based magnets used to hold interchangeable model parts in place. Despite their small size, they are very powerful.

A wargaming term measuring the historical fidelity of a rules system (or for a non-historical wargame, how 'real' the rules seem to be).

Reference Material
Any visual information used as an aid in creating a sculpture, converting a model, painting an area, etc.

Release Agent
A chemical used to ensure kits come away cleanly from their mould. Release agent can be left on a kit and its presence can be seen by dripping water over it; the water forms into beads. It can be removed by washing the kit in warm, soapy water.

A component of paint. Resin binds all the solid material in the paint together when the paint is dry.

Used to permanently fix two or more sheets of metal together.

A woodworking tool used to rout out (hollow out) an area in the face of a piece of wood.

An artist's brush made of sable hairs.

A large piece of fabric (usually canvas fabric) which is used to propel a sailing vessel.

A mid-sheen paint, higher than matt but lower than gloss.

Satin Varnish
A solvent-based varnish used to give a protective and decorative mid-sheen satin finish.

The relative size to which a model is reproduced. The unit length of a model corresponds to the equivalent length of the original. For example, a model in 1/72 scale means that 1cm of the model equals 72cm of the original. Common indicators for scale include 1/72 and 1:72, but they all mean the same thing.

The information needed to play a battle with wargame miniatures.

Scenery and terrain are broad terms used to describe either anything that accompanies a model in a diorama or anything on a wargame table which is not a unit or element of conflict.

Scenic design. Of or relating to scenery.

To mark a surface with lines or notches.

A term that describes creating a model by using model building stock in materials like plastic, metal, and wood, as opposed to starting with a commercial kit.

To shape, mold, or fashion especially with artistry or precision.

Sequence Of Play
In most wargame rules systems, a turn consists of a number of steps or phases which must be performed in an exact order.

Set Square
An object used with the aim of providing a straight edge at a particular planar angle to a baseline.

Where paint pigment has sunk to the bottom of the tin - especially common in low viscosity paint. Settling is generally not terminal, but the pigment must be stirred back into the mix to ensure consistency of colour and application.

A measure of how high the reflectance of a dry film is. Generally measured at a reflectance angle of 60 degrees. Sheen and gloss are terms that are often used interchangeably. Note that the sheen level of paint can also affect its apparent colour.

A strainer for separating lumps from powdered material or grading particles.

Abbreviation: Special Interest Group. A group for modellers whose interests are at least in part focused on a particular subject.

An effect that can occur when a decal is applied to a matt surface. Tiny air bubbles are trapped under the decal surface by the rough matt film, giving a frosted look which can mar the appearance of the finished model. The solution is prevention rather than cure: commonly the model is painted using gloss, decalled and then varnished using a matt varnish.

An undesirable effect where a layer of dried paint has formed on the surface inside its pot. Skinning is caused by the pot not being airtight, allowing air to enter, which then cures the paint at its surface. The paint underneath remains unaffected as the skin acts as a barrier to the air. Skinning can be prevented by ensuring a tight fit when closing the lid after use or by inverting the pot a few times after closing it to seal the rim with paint.

A wargaming term describing an engagement between two parties.

Snap Fast
Model components that lock together without need for gluing.

Soft Target
A wargaming term describing a unit or vehicle that lacks armour or other protection against small-arms and shrapnel.

Any of various fusible alloys, usually tin and lead, used to join metallic parts.

Liquid used in paint making, also called a 'vehicle' in chemical terminology. The solvent can be water or a conventional organic solvent such as white spirit, and it carries all the solid material to ensure it gives a smooth application and finish. The solvent evaporates during the drying process after application, leaving only the solid material in the paint as the final film.

Speed Painting
To paint a model quickly and without attention to detail. Wargamers who are keen to play with a new army benefit from the techniques involved.

A wargaming term describing the act of 'seeing' a previously unseen unit.

Spray Booth
A power-ventilated structure that encloses or accommodates a spraying operation so that spray vapour and residue can be controlled and extracted.

Plastic framework to which plastic components for kits are attached.

Sprue Gate
That part on a sprue where it joins the component. Often abbreviated to 'gate'.

The right-hand side of a ship or aircraft as one faces forward.

An alloy of iron and carbon. Mild steel contains less than 0.15% Carbon and hard steel more than 0.3% Carbon.

The rear part of a ship or boat.

To dry a paint at elevated temperature.

The removal of paint or finish from an object via chemical means.

The surface of a model. The word is generally used in the context of painting.

Super Glue
More correctly known as cyanoacrylate.

Often abbreviated to SD. A caricature model kit that has odd proportions, typically a very large head and very small body.

An aircraft where inadequate noseweight has been provided, causing it to lean back and rest on its under-wing wheels and tail, rather than under-wing and nose wheels.

The surface features of an area of land.

A product that lowers the viscosity of a substance, usually an enamel or acrylic paint, to change its application properties. Thinner is used notably for airbrushing a paint, to thin it down and enable it to be atomised.

A property of paint whereby it has a gelled structure when undisturbed but when stirred is quite mobile. This is caused by weak chemical bonds that set up in the paint when it is static, but are easily broken down when stirred. Products are usually made thixotropic to aid application. Tomato sauce is an everyday example of a thixotropic product.

Through Dry
When a paint film is dry throughout, not just on the surface. At this stage the paint can be re-coated without problem. Note that the curing process may still be occurring and the paint film will still not necessarily have achieved its full hard dry level.

Mixing different colours or colourants to produce another.

Touch Dry
When the surface of the paint or varnish is dry to the touch. This doesn't necessarily mean the paint can be re-coated, as moisture may be trapped underneath the film. It's useful to check if both dry and re-coat times are quoted for the product being used.

Levels of harmful ingredients in paint such as solvents and heavy metals including lead and chrome.

The track design used to establish a train's potential routes through a model railroad layout.

A first coat of paint applied before applying the finishing colour, or topcoat. The undercoat is usually coarser than the topcoat, to give good adhesion to the substrate below and the paint being applied over the top. It also brings a model back to a single colour, which can be useful if parts have been moulded separately and are slightly different in colour.

A product that seals paint or other substrates for protection, giving either a matt, satin or gloss finish.

Adequate air movement, needed particularly when using solvent-based products and aerosols in confined areas. As well as having suitable ventilation you should take regular breaks to avoid over-exposure to solvent fumes.

An expression of how thick or free-flowing a paint is. Higher viscosity means thicker, lower viscosity means more free-flowing. More viscous paints will generally cover better as they don't spread as far.

The ripple that a vessel creates as it moves through water.

A line reached by the water along the hull of a boat; the shape of the waterline and the handling characteristics of the boat change as the load changes.

The process of simulating wear and tear on a model. Pastel chalks and colour washes are favourite mediums.

Wet and Dry
A common type of abrasive paper - generally black in colour - that comes in a range of grades from coarse down to very fine for precision sanding. Used wet it can be very effective.

Wet Blending
Where two different coloured paints are blended together with a wet brush in order to create a seemless gradient.

The distance between a plane that intersects the radius of the front wheels and that of the rear wheels.

A horizontal wheel or turntable used to rotate workpieces.

White Metal
Used to describe low melting point metal. It is used to describe any metal except copper and gold. See Choosing a kit to suit your modelling ability.

White Spirit
A commonly used solvent in enamel paints.

Wing Area
The total surface area of an aircraft wing.

Wing Chord
The distance from the front of a wing to the rear.

Wing Span
The length of a wing as measured from wing tip to wing tip.

Wing Tip
The very outer end of a wing.

An identifier for sexually explicit material. Some model manufacturers cater to adult interests and packaging should indicate x-rated content.

Most commonly associated with white and solvent-based paint, this inherent effect occurs with age and is due to the presence of alkyd resins, a key component. The paint film goes yellow over time, caused by a chemical reaction within the alkyd. UV light from sun rays will slow the reaction down, but not stop it. Using a varnish can reduce this problem but not necessarily prevent it completely.

Zimmerit was an anti-magnetic mine coating produced for German armored fighting vehicles during World War II. It was created by the German company Chemische Werke Zimmer AG.

A hard white metal with a bluish tinge. Zinc base alloys are used extensively for diecasting.