Pickups are easy, I think, because they don't have a lot of trim that needs bare metal foil, have nice large bodies that make painting pretty easy, and relatively square surfaces that make sanding and prep go fast. I got this Revell "Trucks!" kit, 85-7210, at a Walmart Blowout for eight bucks! OK, no mods, no tricks, just a basic box stock build right?
I imagine if you get 100 builders together they will have 100 different ways to do a box stock build. For me, first thing I do is take out all the "white plastic" (non clear, non chome etc.) and wash it with warm water and dish soap and let it dry. I have read this gets rid of mold release agents and other chemicals on the parts. In reality, I have skipped this step many times and not seen a heck of a lot of difference.
Next up I go through each step in the directions, cut the parts from the sprues, and bag each group of like parts. Yo!! So: one bag. for the interior, one for the engine, one for the body parts, etc. Sometimes I will leave a bit of sprue somewhere to help with painting (more on this next time, and I have talked about this before).
I like doing prep work in batches, like trimming parts from sprues, otherwise I am picking up my sprue cutter 100000 times during the build vs. just blasting it all out at once.
Next it's clean up time....I go through every part--yes, every single one, and get rid of mold lines, flash, ejector pins, and any other gremlin I can find. Even if I think the part's defect will be invisible! For this I use a series of files and sandpaper, putty, and glue. And if I work efficiently it goes pretty fast.
This particular kit was remarkably free from flash and mold lines. However there are some ejector pins or ejector holes or ejection donuts whatever you call them all over. My understanding is that these are used during the casting process to "shoot the parts out of the mold". And little disk is visible from whatever is used to do the shooting.
Revell's craftsmen were careful to try to put these ejector holes on a non visible surface, but they can affect parts fit, and they always bug me, so I get rid of all of 'em anyway. Sometimes they easily sand or file out, but in this case, for this particular body part, they were really deep, so I am using Tamiya Light Curing putty, which dries relatively quickly and is easy to sand out when it's dry. I apply this, let it bake overnight, and then run some sanding sticks over it.
Sink marks are another thing to watch for. As I understand this: this is when the cast part "sags" a bit while cooling off. You don't want these--they look bad, can affect parts fit, and in general drive me crazy. Fortunately this kit didn't have a lot of sink marks; some of the older AMT kits or whatever have a ton, but this kit was pretty good. Again, light curing putty and files to the rescue.
OK! once the cleanup is done, I will unbag the parts groups and start test fitting. Here, I am trying out the exhaust/axle/frame fit, because I have seen this be extremely problematic on a lot of kits. For this build, the exhaust pipe setup wasn't documented well, but it looks like it will glue up OK without heating and rebending, which is nice.
And of course the body needs extra attention, always--this is what everyone sees! This particular kit has a lot of body parts, I count 13. Since I want to try to paint this as a unit, I am going to preassemble it and clean it up once glued.
Here's what I have after some gluing. The hood fit is dicey; it almost always is, and is going to need some more work.
That's a big seam, so big you can drive a truck through it; But this is a truck, so perhaps you can drive it through itself? Something like that. The hood is a 4 piece affair. I know it has to be sturdy or will fall apart when I try to clean it up. So I glued it from the inside and will let it dry overnight before trying to fill in the above seam and try to improve the fit. The complex shape will make this a bit tricky, but i figure I will manage.
Next time: prep for paint.