Plastic Model Kits: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners
Is your kid crafty and you’re looking for the perfect gift that will challenge and excite them? Or maybe you’re someone who enjoys building things from the ground up, and you’re not sure how to kill time in the midst of this pandemic? It may come as a surprise, but plastic model kits can be the solution to these problems. It’s one of the most challenging and rewarding hobbies you can have, where you have to be extremely careful and pay attention to detail. However, many people are turned off by the idea, simply because they don’t know where to start, and what type of kit to pick. No matter whether you’re a car, motorcycle, aircraft, or Star Wars enthusiast, there’s probably a kit for you out there.
What Are Model Kits?
Model kits are scaled models that come with unassembled parts. They’re available in snap-together (recommended for beginners), or models that require plastic glue to be assembled. They’re basically replicas of real-life subjects. Ducati plastic model motorcycles are replicas of real-life Ducatis, Mustang plastic models are replicas of real-life Mustangs….you get the idea. The models are usually made using a process known as injection moulding. It’s a hobby that’s been around for many years, and it’s constantly evolving thanks to advances in manufacturing technologies. Even though people have been building models for many years, the newest kits released today are better than ever. If you or your kid enjoys building Legos, then a model kit building is the obvious next step. It’s the ideal hobby for DIY-ers who are looking to test themselves at something new.
Where Should You Start?
Whether you’re looking for plastic model motorcycles, cars, tanks, or anything else, the first step is to visit your local hobby shop or browse an online hobby store. Determine what you want to build, and figure out what skill level is suitable for you. Then, decide on the size of the kit, and then the kit itself.
Model kits are sized by scale, which represents the size of the model relative to the real-life item. For instance, a 1/12 model Ducati is 1/12 the size of a real Ducati. So if the real-life Ducati is 2075mm long, the 1/12 model will be 172mm long. Basically, the smaller the scale, the larger the kit. If there’s any confusion about the size of the model kit you’re considering, just google the size of the real-life item and divide it by the scale number.
Model Kit Skill Levels
After you’ve decided on the scale, you have to figure out whether a kit is the right skill level for you. If you’re a beginner, you should consider getting a quick-build kit. These kits are similar to Legos, except they have a curved, smooth exterior that looks just like any other kit model. There are also build and play kits that feature anywhere from 10 to 20 pieces, and you can even use them as a toy, something you can’t do with traditional model kits. And the last type of kits meant for beginners are snap-together kits. These kits are more challenging to build, and they’re considered the last step before you get into the real deal – glue-together kits.
Once you’ve got a hang of how snap-together kits work, or if you consider yourself handy, you should get a glue-together kit. These kits will usually require hobby-grade glue and paint. The skill level of glue-together kits varies based on how difficult they are to put together, which is usually related to the number of parts they come with. If you try to build a glue-together kit, but you aren’t really skilled enough to, you’ll just end up getting frustrated.
What Else Do You Need to Buy Besides a Kit?
Depending on the type of kit you get, you’ll probably also need to buy some hobby tools, paints, glue or other supplies. Snap-together and glue-together kits will generally require sprue cutters and a hobby knife to help you remove and clean the parts. When you remove the parts from the sprue, some sprue may be left on the part, and you’ll need to remove it. Glue-together kits require special hobby glue, paintbrushes and paint. However, if you’re just starting out, try not to overbuy things. Just get the basic essentials, such as a few paint bottles, basic glue and the tools required to put your first kit together. You’ll expand your toolkit with sandpaper, masking tape, files, tweezers as you progress through the learning curve. You can ask the staff at the hobby store you’re buying from for advice about which tools and materials you need for your particular model. Most model kits will state the colours required either in the instruction manual or the box. Again, if you’re just getting started, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on tools – start with the bare necessities.