Whether building a model
plane, train, car, tank or ship, there are some basic skills and
tools you will need to get the best out of your model. In terms of
building a model railway layout, the most common plastic kits you
will come across are for buildings. These are usually very cheap
giving you the ability to add lots of them to the layout. It is
important than that these buildings are constructed and detailed
(painted) very well.
to remove any excess material, be it
from production or from cutting the pieces out
Craft knife -
same as the file but i found it easier to use, although i do have
wounds from its use.
Modelling glue -
plastic model glue is designed to bind two
pieces of plastic together, by a process only describable as plastic welding
or fusion. This glue does take time to set, its not superglue. It is not
designed to glue anything else/p>
Clamps - invaluable to
hold things together why they set. They're like a second pair of
hands. they also speed up the building process.
Flat paint brush and paint pallet - The
type of paint brush is that you see in most model shops and the type you get
in most model packs have a rounded bristle. When applying pressure to the
bristles such as you do when painting the bristles spread out, this causes
an uneven distribution of paint and makes detailing much harder. The ideal
brush has a flat bristle end which doesn't spread out when pressure is
applied. A pallet is useful to mix paints and blot the paint brush.
Step by Step building
First make sure you
have all the tools needed at hand before starting. Suddenly
finding you have glued something but have no clamp to hold will
result in you sitting there for 5 minute while the glue dries.
Secondly, I know this is
obvious but read the instructions before you start. Sometimes there are
slight differences between two pieces which are not noticeable but are
vital to the attachment of other pieces (for example two sides of a
house. The right side has mounting points for a garage, but you glue
this onto the left, you think lets put the garage on the left then, but
you cant as this would result in the garage door being at the back of
the house not the front).
Thirdly think ahead, are you
going to install lights. If so you will need to drill a hole for the
wires or even fix the lights inside before you glue the roof down. Also
it is sometimes better to paint certain pieces before you assemble the
building as they may not be assessable such as the interior walls.
Ideally write down what step you think you need to take and then follow
As already mentioned on
this page, plastic model glue is designed to bind two pieces
together, by a process only describable as plastic welding or
fusion. This means that the two pieces can be very difficult to part
again without damaging the two pieces. Best to take your time and
get it right first time. Also this glue does take time to set, its
First cut out the two pieces
that you are going to be gluing together with either some clippers or a
craft knife. Don't cut them all out at once, as they do have codes and
you may lose some of the smaller pieces. Using the file or the craft
knife remove any remaining plastic left from the moulding process or
from cutting the piece out.
Secondly apply some of the
glue to one of the pieces and then join them. For the walls of a
building you will need to make sure that all the walls are square. When
gluing some pieces you may find a clamp useful, so you can get on gluing
something else. Be careful not to do too much at once. Give large
sections like the walls of a building, time to dry. this will make it
easier to apply any detailing as you wont have to worry about the walls
going out of alignment.
Thirdly remove any excess
glue with the file or a craft knife and give the surfaces a clean before
painting. This will ensure a good finish.
When using enamel model
paint always mix it for 1 minute before use. Failure to do this can
result in the paint looking patchy. Also never use the paint
directly out of the pot. Not sure why. This was some advise I saw on
TV. I find it wastes paint. It is however always best to blot the
brush to avoid paint blotches.
With regards to painting
technique, my advise is to paint all in one direction alone the
grain if one is present. Just remember buildings don't look freshly
painted so they need some dirtying up. I did this by putting
some black or brown paint on a pieces of sponge. blotting it until
almost no paint was coming off and then dabbing or rubbing it across
Please remember light
bulbs get hot. do not put filament lights inside paper buildings or
anything combustible. LED's do not get hot and modern ones can be
very bright. Use these instead.