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Guest Post - Building Scale Models: 6 Tips for Beginners

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There are many different levels of expertise in building scale models. But what if you’re just starting out? Should you dive right into a complicated clipper ship scale model, complete with all the riggings? Or should you begin with simple snap-together models of your favorite Star Wars vehicle? What kind of modeling gear should you have? How much time should you be spending on all of this?

We’ll be covering questions like this and providing you with some excellent pro tips here so you’ll no longer be left with any confusion. Continue reading on to learn about six pro tips for beginners in building scale models.

1. Decide What Your Interest Is

This is the first thing you should be doing if you’re interested in getting into building scale models. If you’re interested in military models, for example, consider starting with a historical standard, such as a B-17 Bomber. If you’re interested in putting together some sci-fi plastic scale models like from Star Wars or Star Trek, consider getting one of the iconic starships from one of those series.

There are all kinds of scale models out there – you’re bound to find something that suits your interests.

2. Choose Your Scale

When you’re building scale models, the scale at which you’re building is crucial. Typically, scale models come in 1/32, 1/48, 1/72, and 1/144 – though there are models made other sizes, too. 1/48 and 1/72 are probably going to be the best bet for a new scale model builder; the pieces on these models are manageable and can help you improve your building and painting skills.

3. Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

It’s always important to be prepared with the required materials and tools for the plastic scale model you’ll be working with. This usually includes things like modeling glue or some other type of adhesive, a set of small pliers, and small paint brushes should be enough for a beginner level modeler.

Remember not to overdo it with the modeling materials when you’re starting out. You may not be quite at the level of needing a hobby knife or different kinds of paints yet, and that’s okay. This is about easing your way into the world of scale modeling.

4. Make Sure You Understand the Instructions

So you’ve decided which plastic scale model you want to build and you have the modeling materials needed to build it. You should just dive right in and start modeling, right? Hold on a second. You should know what you’re doing first. It’s important not just to follow the instructions that come with your model, but also that you understand them.

This means understanding why you’re putting things together in a certain order so you aren’t tempted to try and wing it and put it together yourself. There’s a reason these instructions are numbered. The last thing you want is to create two pieces of a model and be unable to put them together because you got overly ambitious.

5. Take Your Time

Now that you’ve started building your plastic scale model, you might find yourself wanting to get it done as quickly as possible. This, like trying to go your own way with the directions of your model, is a major mistake. You just may be getting the hang of this modeling business a lot faster than you originally thought, but make no mistake: it’s very easy to make a mistake if you start rushing through the process.

Check in with the instructions every time you complete one. This also means taking a break every now and then. It’s supposed to be relaxing, so remember to take a breath and chill out.

6. Don’t Give Up

If you’re making your way through your first time model feeling frustrated, feeling like you’re not making any real progress, know that this is okay and that it’s perfectly normal.

Often, a beginner’s first plastic scale model is their most difficult one. Modeling is not only a hobby, but also a skill that you hone and develop over time.

And that’s it! Those are six tips for beginners working with scale models. Consider them the next time you pay a visit to your local hobby shop, and good luck!

Written by Katie McDaniel

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