Modelling for Beginners

Introduction: Modelling for Beginners

About: I'm from Spain. I love building every kind of inventions. My last projects have been a trebuchet, a glowing jar and an automatic hammock swinger. My favourite dish is pancakes and my favourite bands are Rise...

This tutorial will teach you the basic skills, materials and tools you'll need to start modelling.

So let's start it!!!

Step 1: Modelling

Modelling's about building scale replicas of real or sci-fi vehicles like airplanes, tanks and gundam.
Models are classified by skill( this is used in Revell models) and scale ( from 1:1000 to 1:4),but we will talk about this later.

This is a very amazing hobbie, with no limits for your imagination, kits can be changed as you like or can.

Step 2: Tools

Tools are one of the most important things of this hobbie.
You won't need any kind of special equipment, all I have was bought at a dollar store, except of the glue and the paints.

You'll need:
-X-acto knife or surgical knife (for cutting small edges or repairing)
-Small pliers
-Tweezers or reverse tweezers( for little parts)
-Nailfile (treats the plastic as good as Tamiya sandpaper)
-A pencil ( if you're going to cut something it will show you where you must stop)
-Scissors ( to cut decals)
-Glue ( Tamiya Thin Glue is the best, each bottle is 6$ but will last for more than 20 models!)
-Old cloth ( it will be good to dry the decals water, to clean paint brushes and to keep crystal parts safe from scratches)
-Paint brushes (Buy one big, one medium, one small for details and one for making straight lines)
-Tamiya putty or epoxi putty ( useful if you want to repair a broken part or to make a new one)

Step 3: Paint

There are lots of kinds of paint but for modelling you will need acrylic paint.
Best brands are Tamiya, Vallejo, Revell and Humbrol.
On the Internet you'll find conversions charts for them, 'cause in some kits there come specifications for only one brand paint.

Tamiya paint is a little more cheaper than Revell, but Vallejo will be the best option if you want to start modelling with a few dollars in your pocket.

All of this paint is diluted in an special alcohol, but to clean the brushes or to dilute you can use brand thinner or current first aid kit alcohol, which is cheaper and easier to find.

Step 4: The Kits

You can find tons and tons of brands with infinite numbers of kits.
Best brands for begginers are PM Models, Revell (1:76 kits), Trumpeter and Airfix.

The Scale: for beggining small scale simple models will be the best. A current Sherman tank at 1:72nd will be 8 centimetres long and 2cm wide. With just a few details and a bit of patience you'll obtain a good looking model. If want to build somethin' bigger go to 1:35 scale in armor or 1:48-1:32 (Trumpeter makes awesome models in this scale, they're not so cheap but the finish is spectacular)

The brands:

PM Models: this is the best brand for begginers, kits have a few parts with not many details, paint schemes are easy and models cost from 1$ to 8$ with a larege amount of nazi secret projects as the Gotha 229 and a Lippisch 13.

Airfix: good kits, easy building but most of the parts are not well made.

Revell: this is the king of small scale, it has 1:76 models which come with a little diorama where you put the vehicle.(

Trumpeter: the most 1:32 to 1:24 awesome aircraft kits (big scale not so cheap), but 1 72 cold war airplanes like su-17 cost less than 10$, and they are 30cm long, or as the xian jhu, 50 cm long.

Step 5: Skills

Some basic things you should do when building.

To cut a part just use the pliers if it is big, and cut the excess with the knife, and then smooth the edges with the nailfile.

To glue two parts you can hold them with clothespins or with masking tape.

To refill edges or broken parts add some plastic putty, let it dry and cut the excess until the shape you want is made.

Before painting, put the brushes inside a vase of alcohol to clean them.

If the alcohol of a paint bottle has evaporated, add a little and mix with a chopstick or somethinh thinner. You can also use the dust left in the bottles to add some rust or smoke effect to your models.

Also you can download painting patterns or photos to try another markings for your model, or just let your creativity do the job.

Step 6:

That was all!!

If you have any doubt, correction or comentary, don't be shy, tell me!

Tanks for reading!

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    7 Discussions


    7 years ago

    Yeah airbrushes are really hard to clean but make it look very nice. And is acrylic the same as enamel? Im confused by what ur saying. You say you suggest enamel in the comments, but in the instructable you say acrylic... if theyre different i would reccomend testors enamel. It works awesome for my models

    La cacatua carmesi
    La cacatua carmesi

    Reply 7 years ago

    Sorry, I had to say acrylic. I recommend acrylic because in my opinion (I've used them in two or three models) because if you get wrong you can easily take it off with a bit of alcohol or what you use). Enamel come in smaller bottles than acrylic, in some stores they're a bit more expensive but they're better when you're going to apply filters to your model.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Why do you use acrylic paint? Does it work better than enamel? I have lots of enamel paints and they work great (especially in my airbrush). Since this is for begginers you should suggest "clear parts glue". It makes aircraft cockpits soooooo much easier to put together and it looks better if you mess up. Also Dragon products have horrible instructions. The first model I made (German King Tiger) was from them and It took forever to get how to do it. If using enamel paint be sure to get miner spirits. NOTE that you don't need a lot to clean a brush and its REUSABLE! If you clean red off a brush you can put blue in after or green and keep reusing it! Great instructable just thought I would add a few things. Trying not to be a critic but to help with begginers. Nice job :)

    La cacatua carmesi
    La cacatua carmesi

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    OK. I forgot to put something about clear glue, but about brushes I said that because I think that if you use 0,01,001... you must take more care with the than with other brushes. And about paint I recommended enamel because in some models (the plastic) the surface doesn't admit that paint (there are bubbles or it seems that you're using water instead of paint) Thanks for your comment. ;)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    this instructable is a nice begining quide to the big family of PM. I do plastic models statics of scale 1/72 and 1/48 of airoplanes, cars, military and civilan subjects and builded many dioramas. Iam 44 now and i love this hobby since my early school years. When a person will decide to involve with it will love it. I love planes of wwii more than today models. here is a picture of my models...

    La cacatua carmesi
    La cacatua carmesi

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for commenting. It's good to know that there is people on instructables who like modelling.