Below are master modeler tips and tutorials to help you build more realistic-looking plastic scale model airplanes. These articles are intended to answer popular questions that we receive and help you through the many different aspects of plastic model kit construction. An excellent resource that we recommend is the book “Building and Detailing Model Aircraft“ by Pat Hawkey.
If you have any questions, comments or would like to add your own expertise on building model airplanes, please use the contact page and I will be happy to follow up.
Before you start
When building model airplanes, it is recommended that you research the original aircraft. Look for references on the scale model kit you are going to build. These include: documentation, photos, time period, colour scheme, markings, details, pilot and modifications required to accommodate a particular version of the aircraft model. Also, make a list of the materials you will need: paint, glue, decal setting solution, thinner, tools, etc.
Once you have begun building your plastic scale model kit, read the instructions carefully and make sure you follow the sequence of the assembly. Initially, you would start your scale model kit by constructing the interior. This includes the seat, seatbelts, instrument panels, gages, dials, oxygen tanks, engine and other fine details that pertain to the interior of the airplane. This part of the process will have a great impact on the overall accuracy of the finalized scale model kit. Modelers with extensive experience in building model airplanes will choose to use after market parts for detailed areas and magnified original photos of the actual airplane as a reference.
Some effects may be difficult to achieve at first, but know that if you manage to master these techniques, you will be fully capable of building model airplanes that look authentic. It may take time and practice. Keep in mind that the plastic scale model kit is not a toy. The completed aircraft model replica is actually too delicate to be handled. But managing to capture the feel of a legendary airplane in miniature form is very rewarding. My enthusiasm for building model airplanes of a military nature does not reflect my opinions on war, politics and destruction.
Dry Brushing the Cockpit
Paint Chipping Effect
Painting the Canopy and Realistic Glass
Painting the Panel Lines of your Aircraft Model
Getting the Decals to Look Like Part of the Paint Job
Building Model Airplanes
Creating the Radio Antenna Wires
Scribing Surface Details on Your Aircraft Model
Adding Aftermarket Details – Resin Parts
Adding Aftermarket Details – Photo-Etched Parts
Removing and Re-positioning Parts
Filling Seams and Sanding the Aircraft Model