I expect we’ve all seen models of different shapes and sizes. Filmmakers use them as simulated buildings to blow up, or the military for planning their campaigns. Architects create them to demonstrate what a finished building will look like, while others take up model making as their hobby.  Scale models take things to the next level, where these three-dimensional creations can reflect the size and materials of the original. The more accurate and detailed they are, the more impressive the result. It can be hard for a newcomer to know where to start, and that’s what this article is all about.

Decide the Level of Complexity

Someone who is new to model making is strongly advised to create a simple thing first. They’re likely to need fewer utensils at this stage. They may have bought a pack containing all the brushes, paint, and glue that is needed. Other more experienced people may go for the advanced options, such as purchasing a 3D printer. The experts of say these give model makers the chance to design their own creations. It’s a challenging task, but highly addictive. Such models like Ender 3 can cope with making mini models too.

Prepare in Advance

Model making is perfect for people with a passion for something, like trains or airplanes. It’s strongly advisable to do the research in advance and to decide how complex the model is going to be. Guides are available in paper and online formats, that not only give a ‘How To’ guide but also include photos showing every step of the way. Guidance videos also feature on some sites online.

Something else to consider is the scale. The small scale is 1/72 to 1/200. The mid-range is 1/32 to 1/48. The large scale is ¼ to 1/25. If one plans to have several airplanes on display, perhaps they should all match the same scale for comparison purposes. Train sets will need everything to be uniform, whether it is an outhouse or a platform.

Light, Air, and Glue

It will be important to work somewhere with adequate natural or artificial lighting. Accuracy always suffers when people work in poor light. Stationery, flat surface will also be essential.

When using glue or paint, it’s important to have a well-ventilated room. When sanding plastic or using spray paints, an OSHA-approved or EN-140-certified respirator mask will need to be worn. The same thing applies when using airbrushes.

During their creation, models can be held together with clamps or pegs, depending on their size. It’s worth researching what is the most suitable glue. Some are particularly good with small items. If something has been glued together wrongly, liquid cement can help get it unstuck.

Other Tools

It’s amazing how many utensils are amassed once one begins this journey. People need everything from pens and paper to calculators. There are brushes, tweezers, cutters, and paint sets. Hobby knives and scissors are used for creating outlines, and putty and glue for adhesion. There are also rulers and tape measures, masking tape, and rubber bands to be considered.

The Actual Process

It’s tempting to create some models by doing things in the wrong order or before the glue or paint is dry. This should be resisted at all times or the quality will suffer.

First of all, look at the original item to be replicated, and obtain full measurements. Scaling down can be done with the aid of a calculator. Before cutting out the material, it’s strongly advisable to draw the plan. Once everything has been assembled, it can be trimmed, glued, primed, and painted.

Products sometimes need to be cleaned before use. Oil or pieces of rogue plastic from moldings can be an issue.

There is no consensus among model makers as to which is best: enamel or acrylic paints. They both have their pluses and minuses, so it’s really a matter of personal taste. The last stage involves the areas of fine detail, including intricate painting. These final touches are what will make the biggest impression on others.

We begin our hobby with a passion, and decide how technical we want to be. We may settle for painting molded plastic models or advance to creating our own with 3D printers. A suitable workspace is important, including light and ventilation. We decide on the best scale for our creations and follow the correct process from start to finish.


There is an abundance of resources available in shops and online. Friendships can be made and considerable hours spent doing what for many is a fulfilling and enjoyable hobby. An exciting collection can be amassed, to impress family and friends.