Car model building is a great hobby, but can be frustrating when you make mistakes. To ensure enjoyment rather than frustration, we’re going to look at some model-building tips and tricks, so you’ll know what tools to use and what pitfalls to avoid. We’ll also look at examples of scale models for beginners and seasoned modelers.
How to build a car model: motivation
Modelling is a worthwhile hobby, not only because of the incredible models, but because it makes you feel good. The concentration required and the practical nature of model making is very calming. It’s a way of challenging yourself, learning new skills and keeping your brain active and is also an activity you can share with others.
Therefore, ensuring model making is enjoyable and enriching, and not one that causes frustration or conflict, is important.
Tools: tips and tricks for your model car
Having the right tools is important for enjoying the process of model building and being satisfied with your finished product. Here are some tips on what tools are an absolute must.
Cutting and snipping. You’ll need a cutting mat, a hobby knife, and a pair of cutting pliers. And it’s important that these are knives are sharp.
Gluing clear parts. To avoid fogging, there are several clear-drying glues on the market. However, we recommend PVA, as it’s cheap and easy to apply. Depending on how you want to apply it, you can water it down or expose to air for a moment, so it thickens.
Gluing larger parts. For plastic pieces, liquid cement is an easy to apply and quality choice. It creates a strong hold by slightly melting and merging the parts together. For metal, however, you’ll need a superglue; superglues are a godsend when it comes to gluing metal, but you’ll have to get it right the first time, as quick drying times leave little room for error.
Manipulating fiddly pieces. You’ll want a quality pair of tweezers to hold parts while you work on them. This also ensures no finger grease contamination before painting.
Sanding. Use 400 grit sandpaper for heavier work, and up to 3000 for smoothing and finishing. Below 400 and you’ll risk scratching up your plastic.
Tools: just a screwdriver
An alternative to collating the tools above is to simply use a screwdriver; partworks kits from Fanhome and De Agostini provide all the materials and tools to make their models. However, rather than being a simpler option, Fanhome and De Agostini models are complex and incredibly detailed despite the few tools needed to make them.
For example, De Agostini’s diecast Ford GT model has working suspension and moving parts such as opening doors and boot, while Fanhome’s remarkably accurate Dodge Charger replica has functioning steering, working lights, and an incredibly detailed engine. The simplicity of the tools and the complexity of the build make them excellent for both beginners and hardcore modelers.
Building: tips and tricks for your model car
First builds. The first is always the hardest, so go for the easiest one you can find. Some models don’t require painting, for example. Once you feel more confident, move up a level.
Preparation. Kits often come with mix and match options, so get to know all the pieces in the kit and read through all the instructions before starting. This allows you to then be creative and make choices as you go.
Spray painting. Spray paints require specific room temperatures to spray well, so check the temperature needed to avoid lumpy paint on your model. Some paints can be thinned using water to compensate for colder temperature, however, this requires spraying more layers.
Don’t lose detail. Sanding takes away layers of plastic and painting adds layers to the plastic: both activities can make car panel lines disappear. To keep the detail, use a penknife to carefully score and deepen the panel lines.
Building: model with confidence
Alternatively, you can use detailed assembly guides to take you through the building process. Partworks kits from Fanhome come with step-by-step guides and tutorial videos, making them very accessible despite their complexity. This makes them perfect for embarking on your first model, but also an interesting choice for more seasoned modelers who would like to work on something special and complex.
For example, Fanhome’s interactive 1:8 scale K.I.T.T replica includes working lights and a remote-control watch. It has movable parts, such as functioning steering, and a rotating license plate, and its bonnet opens to display its detailed engine inside.
Model car building is a challenging hobby, and having a few tricks up your sleeve when building a car model can take away some of the stress of the learning process. Knowing the pitfalls and knowing how to avoid them can set you up for an enjoyable and relaxing experience.