I have fun building Sylvan automobile and truck kits. Here’s what you typically get in a Sylvan automobile kit:
The build, a 1941 Nash 4-door sedan, starts with cleaning up the kit parts, let’s start with the body…
The window openings are cleared with a sharp No 11 blade. The flash over the window openings is quite thin and all that is necessary is to run the knife lightly along the profile. Sometimes there is a thicker section to remove – carve this with small cuts until it looks right.
There is usually a mold parting line running along the bottom outside of the body and bumpers. This is cleaned up by scraping with the blade. Sometimes a little 320-grit sandpaper his needed. Although usually quite good, sometimes the bodies have some small imperfections that can be sanded away – I use a good LED light and wear magnifiers as it is not easy to spot defects on the white resin.
The chassis/underbody is cleaned up much the same way, mainly by scraping. Sometimes the are some voids in the casting. Also, sometimes there is a cream-colored residue from the mold – it can be scraped away with the knife. This is a good time to make note of any voids and pin holes for filling later. The steering wheel openings need to be cleared. I leave the sprue attached as I find it is easier to grab onto the part.
The wheel rims have the sprue nipped off and the flash cleaned by scraping. The nub from the sprue likely will need to be filed down. I also test fit the wheel rims on the axles and make any adjustments on the axles by filing.
Similarly, the rubber tires have a sprue stub that is removed with the knife. The inside flash is cleaned by lightly running the knife along the edge – it is very important to get this cleaned up or the tires may not sit on the wheels well. The flash on the exterior of the tires is removed with sandpaper. The instructions call for 80-grit, but I use 100-grit as that is what I have on hand, and it works just fine. Hold the tire between thumb and index finger and with short, sharp strokes along the axis of the tire tread, work that flash away.
At this point it is good to test-fit the tires on the wheels. If they don’t sit right, filing the wheel some is usually possible to make an adjustment. I almost never use the driver figure, but now is a good time to clean that up if you would like to add it.
After clean-up, wash the resin parts to clean off any mold release. This is important to ensure that the paint will adhere, especially when masking certain areas for a second color. I use Sylvan’s RESIN PREP, but their website also lists alternatives. I’ve never been good at cutting corners, so I usually go with what is recommended.
I have two foil tart pans. In one I put the parts what are coated with RESIN PREP; in the other I have clean water to rinse off the parts. Avoid doing this over a sink with running water for obvious reasons. I use an inexpensive Tamiya 12mm brush, but anything suitable can be used even an old soft toothbrush. After rinsing the parts, I use a small cotton rag to get most of the water off and I let the parts dry overnight.