Please note: This entry has been updated on 02.13.06 w/ photos and better explainations of the process~
Some may be wondering what tools I used to clean up the seams and sprues - I'll show first what I used and then how I used them:
+ Dremel (optional)
+ Various craft files (metal works best!)
+ Various grades of waterproof sandpaper (200-1500)
+ Flex-i-files (optional)
+ Pair of good craft wire clippers
+ Razors (primarily for the holder edge - doubles up as a seam shaver)
+ Container of water (for the sandpaper and quick washing off of the resin dust)
+ Paper towels
+ Face mask/respirator (This stuff is RESIN and resin dust is not good for your health)
+ Goggles & gloves
There are various ways to go about doing all this stuff.. and truthfully, I work as I feel most comfortable. I highly suggest working in a well-lit, well-ventilated area too. Latex-type gloves are optional, but your fingers may thank you for it later... water blisters are *not* fun.
Clipping of the sprues
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CLIPPERS ARE FACING THE CAMERA FOR DEMONSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE CLIP AWAY FROM YOU.
Upon starting, I clipped off the excess sprues of each of the parts. Some parts may be easier than others. Think of it like clipping your toenails - clip little by little and leave a little space for filing~
Ready a container of water with slices of various grades of waterproof sandpaper to wet-sand your parts. The dremel is optional. If you have used power tools before/have them readily available, they might save you some time. However, if you haven't done this before, using coarse wet-sandpaper (200 grade or so) will do the same job with better control - just requires more elbow grease. ^_^
Be careful not to sand down *too* much with the coarse grade. Leave a little to touch up with the finer grade paper. I only use the dremel for the denser pieces like the thighs and torso. For the smaller pieces, I used the flex-i-file sanding belts instead. (They are available at most hobby shops~ I love using them because they're flexible and allow for getting into various nooks and crannies that are usually difficult for metal files and large pieces of sandpaper. It also requires very little effort to cut down really rough areas - like recently clipped sprues.)
You might be able to sand down the seams as well using the coarse/medium grade sandpaper. Sand in a diagonal motion over the seam to sand it down. (Think of it like sanding down stairs. If you sand upwards, you'll be doing a much more effective job than sanding downwards.) I like to use the back-side of razor blades to also shave down the seams - ceramic blades Volks sell does the same thing~ It just levels the surface and means a little less work when sanding~ ^^
I use metal craft files to get into those hard to sand crevices like the neck-shoulder section. I clean my files regularly because resin dust can get all caked up and making the file cut less effectively. Use gentle but firm pressure. Filing in a well-lit room also helps to ensure that you don't accidentally cause slices into the resin. I use the metal files sparingly - for some, it might be an optional step.
Using the wet slices of sandpaper, from coarse grade(200-300) to medium grade(600-800) to fine grade (1200-1500), sand down seams until a desired smoothness. Also, be sure to move around the sandpaper as it deteriorates as you work. The coarse grade should produce a white grit while the finer grades produce a grey grit. Wash off and dry your pieces (and hands often) and check your work. The finer grades (1500) polish your pieces. In the end, it should be smooth to the touch and the seam line should be barely visible (if not visible at all~)
This is the neck of the finished torso~ It should be clean, smooth, and even slightly polished to your liking.
The finished body~
I took my time, took many breaks and double checked my finished pieces and compared them to each other. I find that my seams still have a faint line - I'm not sure if it's because *I* am not being meticulous enough, but it's smooth to the touch and looks fine from a hand-held distance.
For the most part, the whole process of just cleaning up the resin body parts took roughly a quarter of my day.
As for my thoughts on the process? Well, it feels a lot like when I cleaned up my Super Dollfie seams... just on a much smaller scale. It was a little tedious working on such small pieces. I highly suggest working on the torso first as it's much denser than the rest of the body parts. Hands and feet were done last as I felt I had a good feel for just how much pressure I needed to apply to sand the sprues down.
Otherwise, I'm quite impressed with the detail and overall look and feel of these pieces. It is obviously made with high-quality Volks resin... It doesn't have the look of the pureskin - possibly closer to the old skin type dolls. Pieces are quite sturdy and easy to clip with craft wire-cutters. I think most people who work with resin garage kits or apt at modifying their resin dolls will have no problem doing this. For super beginners, I don't think it's overly difficult. The major deterrants would be the purchasing of new tools and materials. Second, being the hesitancy to alter the resin. As I mentioned before, it's not *difficult* to do - just tedious/time-consuming?
Next time - Part 3: Joined at the hip... (and drilled to fit)