Model kits are made of small pieces that need to be assembled. They create a final product – whether it’s a car, ship, tank, train, plane…and there are many different types of kits!
Kits can be made of different materials as well – plastic, wood, metal.
In our segment here we will be discussing PLASTIC MODEL KITS
At the store we carry hundreds of models! Come on in and check them out! Don’t see what you are looking for? Ask away! We can order in thousands of kits!
What do Skill Levels Mean?
Model kits generally come in one of five skill levels. This indicated how difficult they will be to complete.
Level 1 – snap together pieces, they do not require glue or paint
Level 2 – Easier kits that require glue and paint. Usually made of less than 100 pieces.
Level 3 – Smaller and more detailed parts. Usually over 100 pieces
Level 4 – Advanced kits with extra fine detail
Level 5 – For expert modellers. Very detailed parts, can contain hundreds of pieces. Will often have moving components like movable turrets, propellers or suspensions.
There are always exceptions to the rule! For example: AIRFIX kits always require glue and paint.
And some kits won’t list a skill level. Use the information given to you here to help determine if it is something you would be able to accomplish – Consider how many pieces, if there are moving parts, the detail of the pieces, etc.
To Paint or Glue First?!
This is a commonly asked question – glue or paint first – with no right answer. Using logic you can often decide what the right choice is. Changes are you are going to paint the interior of a car before gluing on the body. When in doubt, read the instructions as they will often suggest an order!
Mixing Paint Types
If you are thinking about using both acrylic and enamel paint on a project consider this:
The acrylic needs to be applied first and must be allowed to fully dry (~24hours). Once dry you can apply enamel paint to acrylic.
If you were to apply acrylic paint on top of enamel paint it would chip!
What tools do you need?
First things first…pick out a model kit!
Consider the skill level and your experience with building things.
You are going to need a good sharp hobby knife! This will help you remove pieces from the sprues (plastic molding).
You will also need a small file to smooth away any imperfections, or nubs left behind from the molding phase or from cutting your sprues.
We carry many different hobby knives and files in the store! Come on in and check them out! We’d love to help you select the right tools for the job!
Glues and Cement – how to stick those pieces together!
Model kits are made of soft plastic that is bonded together with glues (also referred to as plastic cement). The chemicals in the glue/cement “melt” the edge of the plastic pieces to create a strong bond and form a new seam. Some seams will not be perfect and may require some putty to fill in the gaps (more on this later!).
Cement comes in 2 common forms: liquid and paste.
Each have benefits and we carry a wide variety of them for you to try!
Using the right glue makes the modelling process easier and more fun! It’s important to use the right amount and type of cement! Read the labels and be aware of clear parts as some glues will frost the glass!
PASTE CEMENT: we carry the Testors brand of paste glue. As a beginner we recommend putting a small amount of this glue in a clean bottle cap and using a tooth pick to apply. With more practice of how the paste flows you’ll be able to apply from the tube to the model. Remember to only use as much glue as needed as excess glue can mar the surface.
LIQUID STYLE CEMENT: We have a variety of liquid style cement in store – Tamiya, Bob Smith Industries, Humbrol. Liquid is a precision tool. Dab a tiny amount exactly where you need it. It is great for detailed and small parts. It also comes in regular and thin varieties as well as quick drying.
In Store you will find various types of liquid cement:
Humbrol makes precision poly cement with a very fine applicator for detailed work. Use in a ventilated area.
Tamiya makes several liquid cements – extra thin, extra thin quick set, ABS, regular and limonene. Each one comes with an applicator brush to paint on the cement. Great for precision jobs. Limonene has extracts of citrus fruits for a more pleasant smell than regular cement.
Bob Smith Industries makes odourless glue! We carry two types in the store: Super-Gold which is a thin quick set and Super-Gold+ which is a gap filling glue, also odourless and quick setting. Bob Smith Super Gold and Super Gold+ are great to use on clear plastic parts as it won’t frost the clear as other cements often do!
Paints & Sprays!
Most kits come with a list of paints to create a final look like the box. This list can contain very similar colours and be overwhelming for beginners. Ask us and we can help you narrow down the list! Or let your creative juices flow and choose your own colour scheme!
There are different types of paints as well. ENAMEL paints are oil based and require thinners to correct mistakes and to clean your brushes. They are a thicker paint that glides on smoothly requiring less touch ups in general but can show brush strokes if you are rushed or not careful. We would recommend these for more advanced modellers.
ACRYLIC paints are water soluble when wet – much easier to correct and clean up! Simple soap and water will clean your brushes. The paint does apply thinner so a second coat may be necessary, but brush strokes are nearly invisible!
Check out our variety of Tamiya acrylic paints in store! We are currently clearancing out our Enamel Model Master & Humbrol paints!
Tamiya makes a great spray paint with a laquer base for quick drying! Spray cans give a quick and easy solution if you don’t have the resources or space for an air brush!
There are also clear coat sprays which can give different effects depending on the finish you’re looking for. Clear or glossy will give a shiny effect, flat or dull coat gives a worn finish and semi gloss produces a satin finish. Looking for some sparkle? Pearl clear will get you there!