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Model Building - Lesson 1: Basics

» Features, Plastic Modeling (PLAMO) | posted by RAYTHEGREAT! on 02/16/2006 [Discuss]

Welcome to model building 101!
Today we will learn the basics of model building.
Before we even start to learn how to build a model, we must have the proper
tools and work area.

Here is an example of a proper work area.

- I recommend working on a desk to prevent back pains and slouching back.
- But working on the floor is just as fine.


- It is not required to get a self-healing cutting mat, but it is required to have a neat desk.
- Building a model may look like a messy job, but it requires a clean work area and good organization.

- Now that we have a good work area, we need the tools.


- These are the most basic tools of model building.
- As long as you have these tools you can build any model.

Tool #1: A Nail Clipper
The Nail Clipper is an optional tool if you’re on the advance level, but if you don’t have a modeling knife around, using a Nail Clipper is just as great. They’re also very cheap compared to the model knife.

- With a nail clipper, you can use it to cut off parts that are left by the model tree.

Tool #2: Pliers
The Pliers are one of the must have tools, they’re good for holding tiny parts that require gluing and much more.

Tool #3: Modeler’s Cutter/Nippers

- The Modeler’s cutter looks like a special narrow wire cutter. It is very important to have this, you will need this to cut the
models off the tree. Never bend or twist the model parts off the tree! Doing so will risk damaging
the part! This is a highly recommended tool for all modelers!


- The comparison between a normal wire cutter and a modeler’s cutter. Because of the Modeler’s cutter design, it allows us to cut
off tiny and delicate model parts off the tree.

Tool #4: Box cutter
The box cutter is also a useful tool to have for various purposes. such as, stabbing someone messing with your models!

Tool #5: Modeler’s Knife
With this knife it makes you an official model builder! This is a highly recommended tool for all modelers! The modeling knife is not easy to use and takes time to master it. Using it improperly will result in cutting yourself. *ouch*


- A modeling knife can fit different types of blades for different purposes but it’s not required to have optional blades.
- Even a dull modeling blade still have it’s uses.

Tool #6: Model Glue, Super Glue
As models get more and more advanced the need to use model glue is required sometimes, but it’s always something good to have around.

- If you’re going to get model glue, I recommend getting the glue that comes with brushes.

- Now that we have all our tools, it’s time to move onto the Model!

- This is the box art of the model.
- And sometimes I just hate how the box art always glorify the model kit, at the end, the model looks nothing like the box art…
- But, that’s why I’m here! I’m going to teach how to make your models look just like the box art! unless it’s one of those really really old model kits…


- Like this model for example, it’s molded in one color! All white! That means… We’ll need to paint this model.
- But, today’s lesson is about building a model and not painting it. We’re still not at the stage to paint the model yet.
- This is called a model tree, everyone calls it differently, but I call it a tree.


- Before we even start building and cutting off parts from the model tree, we must look at the instructions!

- If you can’t follow instructions, then take the model and throw it in the trash can, because your chances of messing up are 90%.
- But Ray, the instructions are in Japanese! I can’t read Japanese, and I’ll say SHUT THE ^-^ UP! Can’t you see the pictures!? Everything is nicely illustrated for you like a picture book!

- Anyway, onto the model!


- Each part on the tree is labeled, if it asks for part 8, look for part 8.
- On advance models, sometimes the trees are labeled with letters, so if they ask for C8. look for the tree labeled C and find part 8.


- This is the proper way to remove the parts from the tree, bending them and twisting them off is the improper way!
- Use the modeler’s cutter!


- After cutting the part off the tree you will mostly be left with a little excess plastic. I call these stubs.


- Another example of a Stub, there are a few ways you can remove these.


- One way of doing this is with the model knife, but if you haven’t mastered it yet, you can try the alternative.


- Using the nail clipper is a good alternative.


- The Results with the model knife are perfect!


- And the results with a nail clipper. There’s still a bit of a stub left over, but it’s good enough for beginners.


- I also recommend cutting your stubs over a model box, this way the stub shavings won’t be all over the floor or table. It makes cleaning up a lot easier.


- With all your parts cut out, you can now follow the instructions to build the model!

- You are now one step closer to building a model like a pro!

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