12 Useful Tips Towards an Improved Scale Modeling

Scale models are made to resemble real stuff and creating one requires serious skills. Depending on the size and scale of the piece that you want to create, copying every detail exactly as how it looks on the real thing isn’t easy.

As a creator of these wonderful works of art, you need to be able to duplicate every shape, color and make sure that the size is right in order to bring every model into life. The level of difficulty varies from model to model and there’s definitely more to scale modeling than just putting tiny pieces of wood, plastic and other materials with a glue then coating it with the right color paint.

Here are some tips you can get ideas from in creating the best scale models. Be sure to put it in a checklist so you can easily see which ones you’ve already mastered and applied in every project that you work on.

1. STUDY YOUR SUBJECT

Choose something that you’re interested in on your next scale model project. For instance, if you love cars then don’t choose to create a motorbike, a plane or a ship as your next model. It can also be something that you want to learn more about so you won’t be bored working on it even if it takes months or even years to complete.

2. DO YOUR HOMEWORK BY RESEARCHING

After finding the perfect subject that you’d want to work on, it’s time to do some researching so you can find as much useful information as you can gather about the subject that you’re going to copy. The Internet is a good source of information on your subject and you can also get magazines or even books to read so you can get a better idea on the model and how it really looks like. Visit online forums that are known to other scale modelers like ModelSpace. In here, you will find even more information and even some friendly advice from those who are experienced in the craft.

3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT SCALE MEASUREMENT

Be sure that you’re choosing a scale that you’re capable of working on without losing focus and interest. And remember that the bigger scale model it is that you’re planning to build, the smaller room you’ll have especially if there are some other items that you want to show everyone as part of your creations. Scale models that are bigger in size tend to be harder to complete. Most of the time, it’s the advanced modeler who prefers larger scale models. Above all, be sure to follow instructions to the letter. The most popular scale sizes are as follows:

  • 1/72
  • 1/48
  • 1/35
  • 1/32
  • 1/24
  • 1/18
  • 1/16
  • 1/12
  • 1/4

4. USE THE RIGHT TOOLS

If you want to accomplish much in every single day that you spend working on your scale model, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right tools available. Don’t start a project without the tools necessary to accomplish every part of the job. You don’t need to have everything as you start but at least get those basic ones that can help you get started. You can get these from several model kit retailers both online and in stores near you.

5. USE THE RIGHT ADHESIVE

There are several types of adhesive out there but when it comes to the scale model that you are building, you should find the information about the kind of glue that you need to use on the model kit itself. And if you’re lucky enough, your model kit might even have a sample of the right glue that you can use. Some manufacturers want to make sure that their customers are properly guided by providing all the needed stuff to start with.

6. READ AND STUDY THE INSTRUCTIONS

The instructions sheet that comes with your scale model kit isn’t there just for show. It is meant to be read and studied by the modeler. So before you even start assembling the pieces together, be sure to go through the instructions and find out how the pieces should be grouped so you can assemble the different parts faster. Most instruction sheets group different parts together for easier construction and management. Manufacturers do this to avoid major mistakes from happening.

7. STAY AWAY FROM WRONG TURNS

One major mistake that beginners often commit when assembling a piece is jumping ahead only to find out later on that there were pieces which are meant to be attached to another section of the model. If it’s your first time building your own scale model, it is best to stick with the building sequence that is detailed in the instructions. Manufacturers made a sequence like that and took time to print it to be included in each kit so modelers can enjoy as they build every piece correctly.

8. IT’S NOT A RACE

Building a scale model takes time and it also requires one even more years and a lot of scale models to build to become an experienced modeler. When building your own model, be sure to take time especially on the hard parts. It’s not wrong to take things slow. It isn’t a race that you’ve embarked on. Be sure to take much-needed breaks and relax for a while so you can find time getting your thoughts together on how to tackle the succeeding parts that need to be built. Be sure to put time and build even those parts that you don’t really like and remember that the model won’t be complete without it. Patience is a virtue as they say and it applies in every part that you build to complete the model that you’re working on.

9. PRACTICE AND TEST

Before gluing different parts together, it’ll be good if your first fit any parts and see if they really are meant to be glued. If you see that they don’t match then find the right part and fit it again before applying the adhesive. There will also be instances where even the right parts don’t fit well with each other and in this case, you can use a fine file or a sharp knife to scrape and make adjustments before finally applying the glue. Testing also applies even to the paint that’s meant to be applied in every part. Most paints change color when they dry so be sure to apply small paint first on a testing surface and wait until it dries before starting on the major paint job for your scale model.

10. ENSURE PROPER VENTILATION

When you reach the stage where you need to use solvent, paint or even glue, be sure that you’re in a place that has proper ventilation. And always replace the cap after using any of these substances then store it in a place with that’s cool and dry. Also, you need to remember to keep them in places where children and pets don’t have access to. This prevents untoward incidents that can harm not just people but also the project itself that you’re working on.

11. FIND A GOOD SPOT FOR STORAGE

No matter what size of scale model it is that you’re working on, there will always be small parts here and there that needs to be kept safe all the time. You can’t afford to lose even just a single one of those or your scale model will end up as a disaster. Put them in clean containers or group the related parts together using resealable bags then place them in a well-organized box where both completed parts and those that still need to be assembled are also stored separately. If you need to be away for a while, be sure to keep the completed parts and the ones to be assembled together with all your tools away where they can be safe from your curious kids.

12. ENSURE PROPER LIGHTING

There’s nothing that beats natural light so be sure to work in a place that is abundant with this all-important factor. Working in places where there’s poor lighting can result in a poor quality of work especially on the paint job. And the poor lighting isn’t good on your eyes either. Invest on a head-mounted magnifier and as well as a magnifying lamp to ensure quality in every project that you work on.

Follow these 12 tips and you’re sure to have a better model building experience every time. Did we miss something important or do you have another tip to share with your fellow modelers? Feel free to let us know by posting them in the comments section below.

About the Author: Adam Bailey

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