Getting Started

If you’re looking for a fun and rewarding hobby, scale modeling might be the perfect choice. Whether you’re interested in building models of airplanes, tanks, ships, or cars, this hobby allows you to explore your creativity while also developing your manual dexterity and attention to detail. But where do you start? Here are the things you need when starting the hobby of scale modeling.

Tools and Equipment

Below is a list of some of the basic tools you will need to get started. Many of these can be found at you local hobby shop.

  • Hobby Knife – A sharp hobby knife is an essential tool for cutting plastic parts from their sprues and trimming them to fit.

  • Sandpaper – You’ll need a variety of grits of sandpaper to prepare surfaces for painting and remove mould lines.

  • Cutting Mat – A self-healing cutting mat is a must-have item to protect your work surface and keep your knife blade sharp.

  • Tweezers – Precision tweezers will help you handle small parts and place decals.

  • Paint Brushes – You’ll need a set of brushes in various sizes to apply paint and other finishes to your model.

  • Glue – You’ll need a variety of types of glue, including plastic cement and superglue, to assemble your model.

  • Cutting Pliers – Cutting pliers are useful for cutting parts off sprues.

  • Magnifying Glass – A magnifying glass can be helpful for working on small parts and details.

  • Cotton buds for removing excess moisture when applying decals
  • Masking tape – for when you need to mask off a particular area for painting

Types of Paint

Once you have your basic tools and equipment, you’ll need to choose the right paint for your model. There are several types of paint to choose from, including:

  1. Enamel Paint – Enamel paint is a slow-drying paint that is durable and long-lasting. It can be thinned with paint thinner or other solvents, and it requires a longer drying time than other types of paint.

  2. Acrylic Paint – Acrylic paint is a water-based paint that dries quickly and is easy to clean up. It can be thinned with water or acrylic thinner.

  3. Lacquer Paint – Lacquer paint is a fast-drying paint that is durable and provides a glossy finish. It can be thinned with lacquer thinner.

  4. Oil Paint – Oil paint is a slow-drying paint that is often used for weathering and other special effects. It can be thinned with paint thinner or other solvents.

Some popular brands of paint for scale modeling are Tamiya, Vallejo, Testors, and Humbrol.

Be careful when mixing different paints between coats as some are incompatible. click here to learn more about paint compatibility. 

Choosing the Right Scale and Genre

Before you start your first project, it’s essential to decide what type of model you want to build and what scale you want to work in. The scale refers to the size of the model in relation to the actual object. For example, a 1/72 scale model means that the model is 1/72nd the size of the actual object.

There are several different scales to choose from, including 1/72, 1/48, and 1/32 for aircraft models, and 1/24 and 1/12 for car models. It’s a good idea to start with a smaller scale, such as 1/72 or 1/48, if you’re new to the hobby. These scales are easier to work with and require less time and effort to complete.

When it comes to the genre of the model, there are several options to choose from.

  1. Aircraft – Aircraft models range from small prop planes to large commercial airliners and military fighter jets.

  2. Armor – Armor models include tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery.

  3. Ships – Ship models include everything from small sailboats to massive battleships.

  4. Cars – Car models include classic cars, sports cars, and race cars.

  5. Science Fiction – Science fiction models include spacecraft, robots, and other futuristic vehicles and characters.

It’s important to choose a genre that interests you, as this will make the building process more enjoyable. We recommend heading down to your local hobby shop to have a look to see what they have which matches your interests.