Scale Modeling Glossary

WordExplanationHow To
ABS PlasticABS plastic consists of a mixture of Acrylonitrile, Butadiene and (poly)Styrene plastics. The mixing ratio may vary, resulting in a lot of different grades of ABS with different properties. --
ASA PlasticASA plastic consists of a mixture of Acrylonitrile, (poly)Styrene and Acrylester plastics. This type of plastic has broadly similar properties as polystyrene, but will not degrade over time. --
Dissolved PlasticSmall bits of polystyrene dissolved in thin glue to form a paste that can be used as a filler. --
Dry-fittingFitting parts together without using glue. --
FlashThin film of plastic surrounding the actual parts, formed by the halves of the molds not closing properly which caused some plastic to leak out. --
Heat stretched spruePiece of sprue made thinner by stretching.Cut a straight length of sprue from the parts frames, hold it by its ends over a suitable heat source (light bulb, candle flame or similar) gently rotate until the center gets soft, then move away from the heat source whilst pulling both ends apart until the center has the required thickness.
Different cross-sections can be made by shaping the sprue before heating (e.g. half-round, aerofoil shaped or even hollow by drilling a hole through the center).
Kristal Kleer™Thick water based (PVA-type) glue made for creating small windows. Can also be used for creating small bulbous lights.

Kristal Kleer™ is a trademark of Microscale Industries Inc.
To fill a window hole, put a drop of Kristal Kleer on a toothpick and run the toothpick along the edges of the hole until the hole is filled. Kristal Kleer is white while wet but becomes clear once dry.
To make a small bulbous light, put a small drop of Kristal Kleer at the location of the light. As Kristal Kleer shrinks while it dries, it usually takes several drops on top of each other to create a bulbous shape.
Instead of Kristal Kleer, some types of white paper glue (PVA-type) can also be used.
Number tabThe rectangular tabs on a sprue indicating the part numbers. --
Plasticard™Sheet of polystyrene of a certain constant thickness.
Plasticard can be bought from a model shop. Also known as 'Plastic card' or 'plastic card stock' (Plasticard was a trademark but I forgot which firm used it)
Plug-FormedPlastic shaped by pulling a heated plastic sheet over a raised mold. --
PolystyreneThe type of plastic used for model kits.
Some household items such as food containers (dairy products in particular) and 'jewel cases' for compact discs are also made out of polystyrene.
Household objects made from polystyrene are often marked with a recycle symbol with either '6' () or 'PS' in its center or simply with the capitals '<PS>' without the symbol.
Sink Mark or Shrink MarkDimple in the surface of a part caused by the plastic shrinking after it was molded. --
SprueThe plastic frame that holds the parts of a model kit. --
Vac-Formed or VacuformedPlastic shaped by sucking a heated plastic sheet into a hollow mold (or over a raised mold) using vacuum. --
TweezersNifty device for holding small parts and launching them across the room.
CamberAngle by which a wheel is off vertical. With negative camber the top of the wheel is closer to the center (of the vehicle) than the bottom of the wheel; with positive camber the top of the wheel is farther out from the center than the bottom. --
CenterlineImaginary line drawn through the exact center of an object. --
DatumlineImaginary line drawn through an object to serve as a reference for other measurements. A datumline may or may not coincide with the centerline of that object, depending on the choice of the designer. --
DihedralAngle at the root of a wing or horizontal tail plane in frontal view.
If the tips are above the root the angle is called dihedral, or anhedral if the tips are below the root.
IncidenceAngle of a wing or horizontal tail plane in side view, compared to the fuselage centerline.
Incidence is at a positive angle if the leading edge is above the trailing edge.
PortLefthand side (viewed in the direction of travel);
Indicated by a red navigation light.
StarboardRighthand side (viewed in the direction of travel);
Indicated by a green (or blue) navigation light.
DorsalUpper side (a.k.a. 'back'). --
VentralLower side (a.k.a. 'belly'). --

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