Scale Modeling Basic Tutorial (MKI)

This is work in progress so there will be some details missing.

I have read a few post in various forum in the past few weeks about people want to join in making scale model but i find the answer to that is researching yourself since there alot of approach to do the same thing floating around in the web.

So i make this so that beginner would learn the basic faster and better prepare for their build.

We start with what you need first before tackling the kit.

Modeling Equipment’s

The Must Needs
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1) A Plastic Cutter (Have a nipper with small head would help cut those small pieces)

2) Plastic Cement (such as the infamous box glass Tamiya)

3) Modeler Knife/ Art Knife

4) Sanding tools such as Metal Files and Sandpaper with various grits (between 600-2000)

The probably make Life Easier Tools
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1) Clamps/ Rubber Bands (for holding the pieces together while the plastic is curing)

2) Super Glue

3) White Putty/ Epoxy putty (For covering gaps between pieces)

4) Tweezers (Preferably get some in various small tips)

5) Cutting Mat (To those who don’t want to damage the table)

6) Plastic containers (to keep pieces)
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Painting Equipment’s

1) Modelling or Art brush (O, OO, OOO size is a must to tackle small details)

2) Masking Tape (Usually in yellow color)

3) Acrylic or Enamel paint (For Handbrushing)

4) Spraycans/ Airbrush (I find most Industrial spray cans don’t destroy the plastic but better test on spare plastic before commit it)

Each scale kit like tank, planes and ships have it own set of challenges and ways of assembly but i generally follow the same process on all of them.

Step 1 : Research it!

Study the kit instruction carefully as unlike Gunpla where you can just snap all of it and disassemble it later, some scale kits have interior details which require you to paint the interior first before enclose it such as airplane cockpits. To make my life easier, i treat it like sub assembly so that you can focus one section at the time before assemble all of it together plus this would make you burn out less.

Also prepare the paints that you would like to use for the kit which make easy by refer to the color guide provided in the instruction.

Step 2 : Assembly

Start assembling the kit as you planned in Step 1

Some tips
1) Clean up your table or surrounding area clean! This to make sure that no carpet monster eat up your tiny pieces when they eventually they fly off to the another dimension.

2) Use the clamps and rubber band to make sure 2 large plastic pieces to held together when the plastic cement is curing (such as ship hulls or airplane fuselage). I usually place them at each end and middle of the pieces to make sure it receive equal pressure.
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A word of caution, only use clamps if there are interior support available as it could potentially snap the pieces if not careful.

3) Use masking tape to hold the small pieces on the runner before cutting since this will avoid it flying away when cutting out the pieces.
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4) Do dry fit first before applying glue. Here you can get an idea on how the parts will fit together and able focus on where to paint first or find mistake and correct them. Use either masking tape or bluetack to hold pieces together.
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5) Do not cut corners when it come to masking since correcting the maksing mistake will be more stressful in the long run.
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6) If you have metal/ photo-etch that need to apply, you have to use super glue (as plastic cement can’t stick it) and tweezers (to hold and bend the photo-etch parts).
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Step 3 : Painting
If you only concern about the exterior parts, spray cans and airbrush would do the job, but if you want a good looking interior, handbrushing is the only way to do it. To achieve a good handpaint finish, you must stroke it in one direction to reduce stroke marks.

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(Example of acrylic paints)

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(Example of how proper handpainting can achieve)

If you want to make camouflage, i suggest starting on hard or soft edge camo as it was easier to do and not require precise masking. The way i do this is start with Base color (which usually the dominate one) > Cover some area with masking tape > Apply second color and repeat the process a few time as you please.

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(Example of soft edge camo)

Step 4: Markings

Usually the marking that they provided in the kit would be Waterslide decals which come in light blue backing.
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The way i personally do is that:

S1: Cut the decal out of the sheet. Leave some extra room so that it easier to apply the decal later.
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S2: Let it sit in the water for a few seconds or a minute (if it a big decals) so the decal will be slightly off the backing.
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S3: Use Mr. Mark Setters to apply on the surface of the part you want to put decal on.

S4: Using the tweezers, drag the decal into position.
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S5: Use cotton bud to remove excess water and push the decal flat to remove the bubble under the decal.
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S6: Leave it for a few minute or hours to make sure it set or repeat the process until all done.
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Step 5: Weathering (Optional) (WIP)

Here where it will be tricky since it up to you how you weather it. Personally i start with Tamiya Weathering set since it was easily available around my area and it come with variety of dust color. Just prepare some cosmetic brushes since i find the one it come with disintegrate quickly.

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To get an idea how to apply the weathering, you better look at outside or find picture with similar subject. Usually ones that come into contact with the environment the most like ship hulls would be one should be focus first and you will be better gauging it as you do more of it.

Just one thing to keep in mind before you start weathering, apply topcoat/ clear coat first as it will protect the paints from stripping off the plastic and make the weathering stick better.

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