Getting started with modelling

Making model kits can be a very rewarding pastime, with a great sense of achievement when you complete your kit.

It also involves the development of several skills, including researching your subject, working with plastics and other mediums, and painting.

The very first thing to consider is safety. To cut pieces from the sprue they arrive on, you need a very sharp scalpel like blade, sharp edge cutters, files, etc. Many modellers can attest to having cut themselves badly in their early days, and it takes practice and some thought to do this safely. Model glues and paints can also be dangerous, and must be used in a well ventilated room. Always ensure you have your parents permission to use sharp tools and chemicals.

Parents are also a bit upset when glues and paints end up on the furniture and carpets, so somewhere good to work is also needed.

Help with the housework! You need a dust and pet hair free environment too, otherwise your paintwork will be ruined!

It is always worth reading up on your subject, you get far more enjoyment from a kit if you have for example read the history of an aircraft, searched for lots of photos which may show the many configurations and paint schemes, maybe also learned something about the pilots who may have made particular planes famous. Often kit manufacturers include a short history of the type in the instructions too.

Dont try to dive in at the deep end, some modern model kits are extremely complicated, and require additional skills such as working with metal, etched brass, sophisticated spray paint equipment and expensive tools. Choose simple kits to begin with, many show a rating on the box for experience level.

To begin with you need some basic tools. These should include edge cutters for removing parts from the sprue, a sharp craft knife or scalpel to tidy up stubs from this, varying grades of very fine sand paper, a few files, and tweezers. Sounds a lot, but you can buy many of these items in discount stores, for very little money.

Secondly you will need model cement or liquid glue, the paints listed on the kit you choose, (I prefer enamels to the more modern acrylics but many use both), a suitable brush cleaner and thinner for the type of paint, some decal adhesive solution, and of course some brushes. You will need a fine brush, such as a 00 size, and maybe a 0 and a 1 to get started.

Finally, take your time, read the instructions carefully and follow the sequence shown, don't try and finish a kit in a day!

This is just a brief introduction to getting started, but we hope to have modelling classes at the Squadron for those interested in learning more. We can also consider building military vehicle models and figure painting, and that may also lead to learning tabletop wargaming!