for making models can basically classified into two main categories – metal
and non-metal. For metal models diecast and white metal are the most
commonly used materials
today, while resin and plastic are mainly used for non-metal models.
Each material has its characteristics, some are suitable for mass production
and some are good at making more precise models. However, most models
may contain both metal and non-metal parts.
Die-cast models are strong
zinc alloy castings which usually include minor plastic parts. die-casting
involves major tooling costs which are
spread over production runs of 2000+ models. Die-cast metals are strong
but will usually break rather than bend.
White metals are usually softer alloys that allow finer detail but will
tend to bend rather than break. Some manufacturers use higher grade stronger
alloys with properties similar to die-cast. Initial tooling costs are
much lower but production costs per piece are much higher.
Resins are cold cast plastics which are often used instead of white metals
by small manufacturers. Resins tend to break rather than bend like injection
Handbuilts are usually low production runs of white
metal, brass or resin castings. Finished model prices are significantly
higher than die-cast because
of the low volume and considerable hand finishing. Handbuilts are often
the best quality and detail and offer interesting models which the larger
die-cast firms would never consider. Handbuilts are usually more fragile
and may offer functioning parts, but they are definitely not toys.