Wednesday, 26 March 2014

SKoST Modelling 101: Second Edition

It's time to welcome back +Christopher Whitford for his second modelling installment - the motto of the month? Be Prepared. All yours Chris!


So you think you are ready to build your first Star Trek model? Are you all excited about putting it together, how it’s going to look when it's finished with the paint and decals?


But you have forgotten something...?

Yes that’s right  - what you're going to need to put that model together! In other words the tools of the trade. 

Some think that the model is the most expensive part of building a model but that is false it’s the tools that eat your money and yes, there are a plethora of tools to help you build a model from hobby knives to sanding sponges. However you don’t need all the tools at once to assemble a model kit. To build any model you need five basic tools and I'm going to list them here for you.


1. Glue 
The stuff that holds the model together as well as your fingers. It can be quite sticky and if not cautious, quite dangerous to your health. Now I know what you going to say; well that’s all covered so we can use superglue.

Well I'm going to say Yes and No as while they are many variants of superglue out on the market and not all are made for styrene plastic. When choosing I recommend a liquid glue such as Testors, Ambroid Pro Weld, Tenax, Tamiya Liquid Cement or ETC. Also I recommend Zap A Gap Medium CA and Zip Kicker for the modeling super glues. As far as fixing clear parts go. you can’t beat Formula 560 canopy glue as it holds clear parts without crazing them (means without fogging) your window parts.



2. Hobby Knife
You are going to need a hobby knife and while they are many out there I recommend X-Acto #1 Precision knife. It's a invaluable tool to a modeler and your toolbox should never be without it along with some refill #11 fine point blades.


3. Putty 
Again there are a lot of modeling putties such as Squadron Green and White, Perfect Plastic Putty, Epoxy Sculpt, Tamiya modeling putty - the list goes on. The two I recommend are Perfect Plastic Putty and Bondo glazing and spot putty.


4. Sandpaper
The next item you are going to need for assembly is sandpaper and there is a ton of sandpaper grades out there. Anything 400 grit and up is good for plastic models. The 400 grit grade will do your rough work while the higher grits will polish as well as sand. Myself, I use a 3M Medium/Fine sanding sponge as it contours to surfaces and does what I need it to do but watch out as you can sand away too much detail and you will be re-scribing it yourself for an age.

5. Clamps
Yes, clamps and these could be any
thing from those multi-coloured plastic mini-clamps to clothespins and rubber bands. Always remember you never ever can have too many clamps!

So there you have it the five basic tools you need to assemble a model kit. Now, here are some money saving tips for you.

1. Don’t buy your tools all at once
Buy one or two here, one there and before you know it you will have your toolbox for building models. Save yourself a bit of cash by choosing wisely.

2. Compare prices
Search around before you buy. First is not always best and you'll kick yourself if it's 20% cheaper at Retailer B.

3. Big Is Not Always Best.
Wal-mart, Lowes, Home Depot etc are not always the best option. Refer to Number Two!

4. Shop Online for Deals
Take your time and don't rush into a purchase. Get what suits your wallet - it might even be that the retailer has a better offer for you online than in the store.

Well that is it for this post. Next month we will actually start a model and I'll show you some basic modeling techniques. Until then always remember; Get out of here and Build Something!

You can look back over any of Chris' monthly articles by clicking here

Want to learn more about modelmaking from some Sci-Fi experts? Drop over to the Google+ Sci-Fi Fans and Modellers United Community for tips, chat, advice and some AMAZING photos!