This guide will help you to understand and join the model building from scratch.
What Are Model Kits?
Model kits are small pieces that need to be assembled. Model kits can be wood, metal, plastic or any other solid material. Depending on the model kit, the assembly could be done with glue, screws, small nails or a combination of the three. Most of the kits will require to be painted to appear like they do in the box. So Model Building is not just about assembling pieces.
We will be talking about plastic model kits as they are the most common ones. The most common kits found molded in plastic make scale models of figures, busts, diorama kits, accessories, cars, military vehicles, navy vehicles, aircraft.
The scale is the ratio of the original to the model kit. If a model is 1:35, then if you multiply the model kit 35 times you will get the original. The most common scales you will see are 1:72, 1:350, 1:720.
You might see skill levels on some of the boxes. These are graded for their complexity to assemble.
Level 1: No glue or paint. They are just snapped together. So basically they are like puzzles.
Level 2: They usually have less than 100 pieces and they are glued to each other. (They might require a small painting job)
Level 3: Detailed model kits with more than 100 pieces.
Level 4: The difference between level 4 to 3 is that level 4 has more pieces and details that need to be painted or assembled.
Level 5: These models are for expert modelers. They contain hundreds of pieces and often have moving parts.
All model kits made by Airfix require glue and paint, so their level 1 is really a level 2. Sometimes, you'll find a kit that does not have a skill level listed. In these cases, you can safely assume that it is at least a level-4 kit.
How to Get Started to Model Building?
If you are a modeler under ten, we often suggest that they start at skill-level-1, snap-together kit. These kits only require to be disassembled from the plastic sheet and then you assemble them. For anybody over ten, we typically recommend starting with a level-2 model kit. These kits require glue and paint to complete.
What Tools Do I Need for Model Building?
Regardless of what skill level you are assembling, you need a good hobby knife from the plastic frames. The second thing you need is a small file to smooth away the impurities and imperfections.
What about Other Tools?
Plastic kits are made of soft plastic so they are easily bonded with plastic cement. This plastic cement melts the edges of the plastic and combines them together. Modeling cement is found in two states: Paste and Liquid. İf you are a totally new modeler you should start with paste as it is easier to control.
If you are assembling a level 2 or more model kit, you might need to paint your kit. The average kit will require 5-10 paints. These lists might be overwhelming for newcomers. For example, sometimes you'll find kits that suggest using both gloss silver and flat aluminum (which are basically the same color). So for a first-timer, we often recommend ways to cut down on large paint lists and still finish with a nice-looking model.
Lots of Models sells 3 brands of paints. Testors, Tamiya and Model Masters. Testors and Model Master are enamel paints which are oil-based and require paint thinner to clean brushes or correct mistakes. Tamiya is acrylic based and it is water-soluble, so for a new modeler, Tamiya is easier to clean and to use.
Paint first or Assemble first?
There is no direct answer to this question. You need to plan ahead, each model kit has a different strategy. Sometimes painting first makes the best result, sometimes assembling and then painting.
Now you are ready to start your first model kit! We hope you enjoyed the Beginner Guide to Model Building!