Part 2: Creating the blank model
Once models are moulded, cooled and elastic banded (click here to read about that part) the next step is to bond or "stick" the two halves of a model together, to create one complete blank horse. Glue, plastic and another adhesives can be used, but we used a technique known as "Ultrasonic welding" which welds the two halves of the horse together without the use of any bonding glues or other materials. Clever huh?
Ultrasonic welding uses sound to weld two pieces of plastic together to create a solid bond. The high-frequency of the sound makes the plastic molecules vibrate, generating heat. This heat melts the edges of the plastic enough for them to bond together, resulting in a join that is extremely strong once cooled.
Here is a little video of the Ultrasonic Welding in action. Two halves of a horse goes in and one whole horse comes out!
Part 3: Polishing
This is where the magic really starts to happen! From this point onwards, everything is completed by hand, including the polishing process. Polishing is the stage where any excess plastic created by the moulding process, like seam lines and excess plastic, are polished away and off the model. This process is done delicately by hand, using tiny sanding tools and files.
The models start to get their own character and personalities at this stage too. As each one is polished by hand, it means that they can be slightly different, depending on who polishes them and what is being polished. Hand polishing means we can get into all the nooks and crannies that a mechanical polisher could not reach and also by feeling the plastic you can sometimes feel it before you see it.
Here are some images from the polishing stage. The big grey blocks on the table are for sharpening the sanding tools and files, and the squares are tiny pieces of sandpaper. When we said hand polished, we truly mean by hand.
After assembling a model and polishing it, the next step is painting. Painting is a very big stage in itself and is broken down in to smaller steps- base coating, layering, detailing and varnishing. Painting is so much more than just a quick stroke of colour and off you go. It's an art form of it's very own. Find out more in our next post.