The Basics of Model Building: Finding The Perfect Kit, Types Of Models, Materials, Skill Levels & More

  • By: Richard
  • Date: August 10, 2021
  • Time to read: 16 min.

What are the basics of the model building? Model building is a complex hobby that can be done with many different types of materials. This blog post will explore these models and what they involve to get started. We’ll also go over the best tools for this craft so you know how to prepare!

What Are the Basics of Model Building?

Model building is an intricate hobby that can be done with a variety of materials. It’s similar to Lego, for example, but instead of using plastic blocks, model builders use plaster or resin as the ‘bricks’ and create sculptures from them. This blog post will explore these models and what they involve to get started!

There are many different types of models: wood kits, metal kits, resin castings (a type of built-up kit), styrene detail sets (usually used by scratch builders), etched brass sheets, and more. There are also plenty of ways you can build your models based on skill level–or if you want something easy, go ahead and buy one ready-made!

You can build a model with just your hands and some tools, but you’ll need the right ones to get started. Here’s our list of the best hand tools: clamps (to hold pieces together while they dry), files for shaping details or removing excess material on intricate parts, putty knives for smoothing surfaces, sandpaper in various grits for adding texture and finishing work, hobby knife blades of different shapes and sizes (for cutting out small detail pieces from sheets). You might also want to invest in at least one good pair of scissors!

I feel like I’m constantly struggling with my creativity. It can be hard to find something new and exciting that has never been seen before in the world of art, but it’s always worth a try! Most people think buying an artist kit is not as enjoyable or rewarding because you are just assembling pieces rather than creating your masterpiece from scratch–or so they say.

Resin castings are blocks that you carve. It is hard to work with this material. But once you get used to it, it is not difficult. There are two ways to make resin models. You can make them from scratch and use epoxy putty, or you can buy a pre-made one. All the pieces need to be treated before they are used, which means you will have to glue them on or drill them into something like an epoxy putty base.

This process is very similar to building up a kit from scratch using plaster, but instead, the styrene sheets are used as plates and detail pieces that will need minimal treatment before painting. You can make models of many different things from various materials, such as wood scraps (giving more texture), polystyrene foam for smooth surfaces, and much more!

Wood kits usually require assembling pliable wood blocks with glue or clamps, sanding them down, and finishing by either staining them or painting them.

Finding The Perfect Model Kit

The first thing you’ll need to do is determine what type of model kit you want–resin castings, wood kits, a pre-assembled kit, or something else entirely. Then start looking for the perfect fit!

Wood models are great if you’re starting and don’t yet have any experience with resin casting; they require some sanding work, but it’s much easier than trying to carve a whole block of finished material. Wood blocks can be joined together using glue (like Elmer’s) or clamps. They also come in many different types: basswood (soft), red oak (medium-hard), yellow pine (harder still).

Metal models require some more advanced skills on your behalf, as well as metalworking to assemble and finish.

Resin castings are perfect for the beginning model builder, as they require little to no sanding or other finishing work–they need some light carving to be ready by the time you’re finished! Resin models can be made from scratch using epoxy putty (which hardens into a mold) and sculpting tools; pre-made kits usually use sheets of styrene detail sets that require minimal treatment before use. These detailed set pieces need only minimal treatment before painting: glue them onto a base of epoxy putty or drill metal pins through them.

Styrene detail sets are similar to plaster casting when assembling your kit from scratch, but these materials are made of Styrene instead.

What Are The Different Types Of Models?

There are many different types of models!

Metal Models

Metal and other materials can be used to create highly detailed, realistic-looking pieces. This model is more time-consuming than the others as it requires many metalworking skills–like sheet metal work, for example. These kits come with pre-punched holes, which you’ll need to solder together to complete your sculpture. With these kits, you also get some advanced tools that aren’t included in traditional resin castings or wood models, such as clamps and drills, so they’re perfect if you want something extra challenging. They are easy to paint. They do not need any finishing work before painting. Anyone who can drill or assemble a project can paint these.

Wood Models

Wood kits are usually used for more rustic-looking models. These kits come with wooden blocks that need to be glued together or clamped before sanding them down, so they’re perfect if you want a model that has much texture and is easy enough for beginners (although not too easy). They require little finishing work before painting, but the wood itself has some natural flaws which may need to be filled to get it looking just right!

Resin Casting

Resin casting is one of the easiest materials from which to create your kit as a beginner builder. It requires no sanding–just light carving!–before assembling and then lightly detail like adding paint or glue on top of certain areas. These models require no sanding or other finishing work before painting. These kits usually come with sheets of styrene detail sets that need minimal treatment before they’re ready to use!

Styrene Detail Sets

Styrene detail sets are like plaster casting, but they are made of Styrene. This material is great because it is lightweight and easy to handle. It is also realistic looking! The best part about using the Styrene details set pieces is how versatile they can be; you’ll get all kinds of shapes and textures in one artwork at an affordable price point! This type doesn’t require any preassembly, so it is to assemble and finish.

What Are The Different Skill Levels?

Beginner

Beginners are just starting in the world of modeling. They probably enjoy artsy projects but want to take it one step further by adding more detail or realism–just like you! These kits come with easy-to-follow instructions, so all you need is a little bit of time and dedication.

Intermediate

Intermediate model builders have been doing this for a while now, but they’re still looking for new challenges every day (or week); if that sounds like you, then these models are perfect because they offer plenty of details while still being simple enough for those who’ve been practicing their skills on other types before moving onto something more difficult.

Using The Right Tools

You’ll need the right tools to complete your model.

Scissors

Scissors are vital for any model builder as they’re used for cutting out pieces and trimming edges so you can get that perfect fit. These models come with templates. That means that all the holes are already drilled. All you need to do is cut the paper out!

Sandpaper

Sandpaper comes in handy when it’s time to sand down rough surfaces or even smooth them out before applying another layer of paint, glue, etc. The sandpaper usually doesn’t come included, but most hobby stores will sell these products individually at affordable prices, so it’s worth picking some up if you want an easy project.

Paint Brushes

Paintbrushes are important when it comes time to paint your model. They’re used for brushing on the different layers of color and detail, but you’ll need a few brush types to get that perfect finish!

Paint

Paint is also needed when assembling your model kit–especially if you want a realistic look. Remember when you sanded the wood? You need to paint it with colors like brown or gray. This is because the paint that comes in a can often doesn’t match.

Glue

Glue is one tool that’s not always necessary but can be helpful depending on what type of materials are being used. If they’re made out of something soft (like resin or Styrene), you’ll need to use some glue to keep them all together (I have a separate guide on glue).

Screws

Screws are never necessary for resin or styrene kits, but they’re helpful when it comes time to assemble wood kits that often come with screws that need to be inserted into the pre-drilled holes.

Nails

Nails aren’t needed either–unless your project is made out of a material like wood and doesn’t have any pre-drilled holes! These models might require nails so that everything stays in place before applying paint or varnish on top if desired.

Glue Gun

A Glue gun can make many projects easier by sticking pieces together and adding an extra protection layer. This is helpful for those who want to make a high-quality model but don’t have the skills needed for more difficult projects.

Pre-Assembly Preparation Work

Before you start working on your model, it’s important to prep the surface beforehand.

Sand

Before painting or applying any glue, sanding is often necessary because rough surfaces will only interfere with the final result. Slowly do this so that the details of your work are not made to disappear.

Wax Paper

Wax paper can also come in handy as an easy way to get rid of those pesky fingerprints! Cover up the area where you’re working, keep everything from sticking together, and protect those pieces from getting damaged by water–all without having to buy another piece of material (or wasting time!).

Dry Erase Markers

I like dry erase markers because they last a long time, and it’s easy to peel off. You can use them on any surface!

Spray Adhesive

Spray adhesive helps keep pieces from coming apart after they’ve been glued together. You can purchase a spray at most hobby stores, but it’s also possible to make one of these by throwing some glue in a small travel-sized spray bottle!

This article will teach you the basics, like finding the perfect kit for beginners or determining which skill level best suits your modeling skills–along with more helpful tips when assembling and displaying completed models. Please keep reading to find out all of our secrets!

Assembling the Model

Assembling the model is all about putting together different pieces to build your desired project.

This article will teach you the basics, like finding the perfect kit for beginners or determining which skill level best suits your modeling skills–along with more helpful tips when assembling and displaying completed models. Please keep reading to find out all of our secrets!

Adding Final Details to Finish, the Model

Adding final details to finish the model is all about adding finishing touches that bring your project together.

  • Adding a nice paint job.
  • Picking up some decals from the local hobby store.
  • Creating custom detail pieces with styrene, brass sheet, or other materials.
  • Applying weathering effects like washes and filters to make your model look more realistic.

How you finish your model is dependent on what you are trying to achieve in terms of realism and personal taste, but there is no wrong way! Variety keeps things interesting for both builders and viewers alike, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the effect that will bring your creation together in just the right way.

The best thing about adding finishing touches to your model is that it’s the last step in a long process. You’ve already spent hours on detailed modeling and painting, so this final stage can be just as satisfying when all goes according to plan! There may even be times where you are happy with what you have done but want to add an extra touch or two because everything else looks great. This will help keep things fresh for yourself, which is important if you’re building models regularly since we don’t always feel motivated every time we sit down at our desk (or workbench!)

Displaying The Model

Assembling the model is just half of what you need to do as a builder. You’ll also want to display your completed masterpieces for all the world to see!

Frame

One option for displaying models that aren’t too large or heavy is using a frame with photo matting as an art store might offer. This will cover up some of the back of the piece, but in many cases, this may be perfect since it looks more professional and eliminates any unsightly evidence from glue joints or spackle work.

Wall Hanging

Another way to show off your well-crafted projects would be on a wall, either framed by itself or alongside other pieces, so they can share space on their shelf without taking up valuable floor space. You will need to have a wall that’s well-suited for hanging art, so avoid plaster or drywall, which is not suitable for heavy objects like frames and artwork!

Tabletop

It’s also possible to display smaller models on top of other furnishings in the home, such as coffee tables or end tables. If you want to show your project, this can be a good way to do so. You can put it in the living room, and everyone who comes over will see it. But if you choose this, make sure that there are no small children around because these models are not made for them, and they may get damaged if they knock it over.

Custom Display Case

The final method for displaying your model is a custom-built, fitted frame that will keep dust off the piece while also providing an attractive platform for showing it off in all its glory! This is probably best reserved only for larger projects or those with delicate features, but there’s no rule saying you have to go this route either.

If you want help with building a display, please email us. We will help you find the perfect one for your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Model of Building?

Building models is an art form that has been around for longer than many people realize. The first model building was done by a sculptor in ancient China who made reproductions of animals and religious figures to represent what he had seen on his travels years before!

Models are often used as teaching tools or to replicate something from real life that may be too large, heavy, expensive, or dangerous for someone else to own. Models can also be created just for artistic purposes – some artists create very tiny models with intricate parts, so viewers get a better idea of how much work went into creating them.

What are the Model Building Steps?

There are a few steps to building models, but the most important ones can be broken into two categories – pre-assembly preparation work and assembling the model.

Preparation includes preparing materials before you begin and making any tools or molds that might need to be made so they’re ready when you want them to. For example, if creating an animal sculpture, then there will likely come the point where it’s necessary to use clay for your project to go smoothly. To do this without wasting time, later on, create enough clay beforehand, so all of it is ready at once! Tools should also be prepared ahead of time by sharpening blades that would otherwise become dull while working with plastic or wood pieces (a task that requires patience).

Where do I Start Modeling Building?

You can start model building with whichever project interests you the most. Some people may jump right in, while others will take their time and research until they find what suits them best! Either way, all of these projects are easy to learn, but you need patience. Don’t worry about not knowing anything at first, because it’s never too late to pick up new skills!

Now that we’ve covered the basics of how this hobby works, let’s chat a little more about some specifics related to getting started on your own:

Finding The Perfect Kit

There are three main types of models available today for beginners – wood, resin, or plastic. Plastic kits seem very simple to assemble but require paint; Resin kits can be somewhat difficult to assemble if you’re not careful, and wood kits offer the most variety with many textures and finishes but require more time when it comes to cutting pieces.

Types Of Models

There are so many different models available today that people don’t always know what they should start out making! Knowing this, we’ve created three lists for those just beginning – general modeling supplies, cars/planes, or animals. These are by no means all the options available but give new builders an idea of where to begin their search.

General Modeling Supplies

Primers (this help protect your project from dirt), glue sticks, paint brushes & painting tools (wood glue is usually required too!), sandpaper, paint (different colors help your project stand out), carving tools, or a needle tool to create details

Cars/Planes

A rubber band is needed for this type of model. To keep the car on its wheels during assembly, you need thick pins around three inches long and at least one inch in diameter; also, look into any extra parts like mirrors, heads & more!

Animals

Materials include plastic pellets called “straw,” which can be purchased online, and toothpicks in various sizes and shapes. The straw will usually come with instructions, but if not, always refer back to the instructions that came with your kit first)

Tool Use

Tools should never be used without safety goggles over them because there’s a chance they’ll produce harmful chemicals that can result in serious injury. Modeling knives are normally used to make clean cuts & sandpapers will be needed for smoothing down rough surfaces.

Preparation

Put away loose items and keep your workspace neat, so nothing gets lost or misplaced during the build! If you want to do a project that will last, put glue on both sides of connection points before attaching. Let it dry for at least 10 minutes after application before assembling.

Assembling The Model

Beginners may find assembling difficult at first, but it inevitably becomes easier with practice. The first thing to do is find a detailed assembly guide for your kit – most arrive with one, but if not, always ask the seller!

Adding Final Details To Finish, The Model

Adding elements like wheels, antennas, or weapons make models that much more interesting. Other forms of decoration include adding photo transfers and painting details such as headlights or windows onto the model itself after construction is complete.

Displaying The Model

Now you’ve finally finished building, and it’s time to display what you worked so hard on! Models can be displayed anywhere, including desks, shelves & mantels. Still, we recommend displaying them at eye level (around 40 inches up) because this makes viewing easier and more enjoyable since people will have less neck strain when looking at it.

Future Tips

There are many different things to consider when choosing a model kit for beginners! To help, we’ve created another list of six points – budget, supplies needed, the skill level required (or desired), time commitment, and the style of project you’re looking to create. For people who don’t have a lot of money or want something easy, they could try one of our “Build It Yourself” kits. Or they could look at specialty websites that sell kits with specific things like lights. People need to know some basic electrical skills and have a battery pack to power up the kit.

Model Building Supplies

The first thing a beginner needs is tools; in this case, modeling knives will be used most frequently, so make sure you buy a good quality set with five or more blades. Modeling is a delicate process, so it’s important to start on the right foot using safety goggles when working and had gloves as well. These two supplies will protect you from harmful chemicals, skin contact & splinters, respectively!

Model Building Supplies

The next thing needed for this type of project is modeling tools which come in many forms like needles (to create deep detail), but other options include sandpaper, paintbrushes, carving tools, etc. Another option that beginner builders may be interested in investing in is a heat gun. At the same time, expensive models can last years without one. They help make certain projects easier to complete since materials expand at different rates during heating. For example, if you want to make a model of an antique car, it’s easier for the metal pieces (steel, aluminum) and plastic parts (vinyl, ABS plastics) to shrink during heating than other materials like resin or styrene.

Types Of Models

Various types of models can be made, including cars & vehicles and tanks, airplanes, etc. When you select a project, think about what you can do. If you don’t know how much time or patience you have, then we have simpler kits for people like you. They include pre-painted parts, so it doesn’t take long to finish the kit!

Model Types

Scale is another important factor when deciding between projects; beginners should start with something small like a radio-controlled toy tank example. If you want to make something very detailed, it might be better to do a life-sized model. If not, you can make a smaller model.

The Different Skill Levels

There are many different skill levels involved with model building. One of the most basic is a beginner which usually needs to be patient and use more trial & error when working on their project – but there are many resources available online if you get stuck! It is important to be patient, precise, and follow the directions for building your model kit.

Skill Levels

One of the best ways to save time is by hiring an intermediate builder. These builders have experience and can work faster because they only read instructions once or twice before starting, which saves a lot of unnecessary reading back-and-forth for no reason!

Conclusion

The model building is a creative outlet and can be used to teach some of life’s most valuable skills. It also creates an opportunity for children to test their mettle in the face of adversity but still have fun doing it! If you want to find out about our model building, or if you need help choosing the best materials for your child’s skill level, we recommend that you look at our blog post, “The Basics of Model Building.” There you’ll find all types of helpful information, from beginner models kits to expert-level tips that will make anyone want to get started today! What do you think? Would the model building be something worth trying with your kids? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Richard

Hi! I'm Richard Baker, a miniature painter who has been painting for about ten years. My website is packed with great advice that I've learned from both books and personal experience on building and painting miniatures.

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