Your Basic Checklist for Building a Scale Model

The building of model cars is a hobby of patience, detail, and a moderate inclination towards artistic ability. In the post WWII years, Revell pioneered the concept of plastic kits with a 1932 Roadster kit, and have led the way ever since. Today the hobby is a decent sized industry, complete with hundreds of different models, methods, and tools to play with.

Because there are so many different kinds of models and subsequently materials to make them with, it can be hard to know where to start when getting into the hobby. Let’s take a look at the most important tools in your arsenal for crafting a perfect scale replica of your favorite 57 Chevy.

1. Glue – there is more than one kind of glue out there, and if you find yourself with the wrong kind, you’ll be stuck with a sticky mess when you try to put your kit together. Plastic Cements are good for many reasons. They’re simple, they’re not toxic and they don’t make too big of a mess. But, keep in mind that cements actually melt and meld your plastic pieces together. When you use cement you’re taking a road with no u-turns. Cyanoacrolytes and epoxies however are slightly more dangerous though they’re fixable if you make a mistake. Superglue’s, they tend to find their way onto your fingers and subsequently stick you to your desk. For my money, plastic cement is the way to go for all beginners. When you begin to work on kits with full scale collections of every piece from a car, you might want to reconsider.

2.Knives – Exacto all the way. These nice, die cast knives are perfect for cutting apart your pieces, opening a sticky bottle of paint or just throwing at the wall in frustration. All you’ll need (though, I’d recommend picking up some extra blades)

3.Sandpaper – You’re going to want a nice collection of modeling sand paper. There’s usually 8 or so grades in a packet, each with a different grain, perfect for sanding down lumpy paint jobs, taking off excess plastic, or getting rid of that unsightly cookie crumb you accidently glued to your hood.

4.Paint – Paint is the most complicated item on this list. Here’s why. There are a million different kinds. I recommend you start with acrylics. Water based tend to be problematic on cheap kits, and oils are expensive, but acrylics are also not nearly as clean looking. You can find nice ones though and simple paint thinner will take it off most of the time. Don’t over estimate the usefulness of a bottle of spray paint for a chassis either.

5.Brushes – a full set of fine hair brushes are a must. Don’t get the cheap plastic ones, they’ll leave lines on your stuff. In fact if you can afford, spray everything that’s a solid color for a nice even coat, then gloss it over later. But always have those brushes on hand, they’re a life saver.

It’s an expensive hobby, but as satisfying of one as you’ll ever find. Hours of time go into a perfect miniature replica of a beautiful machine and the joy you’ll feel in its completion make it all worthwhile.

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