Complete Beginners Guide To Model Cars
Model cars are miniature representations of any motor vehicle including: cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and ATVs. The primary difference between model and toy cars is size. Model cars are built to scale and contain a tremendous amount of detail. Toy cars are not made proportionate to actual vehicles. Model cars became a serious collector hobby in the 1960s. In 1962 Cecil Gibson, a model car collector, released the first book on plastic model cars. This era is considered the ‘golden age’ for model car enthusiasts. There was an influx of new kits designed by George Barris and Tom Daniel as well as increased levels of detail to existing models. The hobby continues to capture the hearts of adults as well as children and can be an educational activity as well as an obsession for the avid collector.
Getting started in model car building is easy. It is important that you start off with beginner kits. There are thousands of model car kits on the market and some are very expensive and require specialized tools. Practice on the cheaper and easier kits and work your way up the various skill levels. As you get better and more confident at handling delicate parts, your tool set can grow along with your abilities.
It is recommended to designate a specific space for kit building. This area needs to be well ventilated because the glues and paints can be toxic and harmful if inhaled. Protect the surface by covering it in several layers of newspaper, butcher paper or buy a special mat as glues and paints can stain work surfaces. Ferrari Red looks great on the car, not so impressive on the dining table. Read the instructions through before you start a new kit. This will ensure that you have all the proper materials, parts and tools on hand. This will help avoid frustration and the temptation to “make do’ if you don’t have what you need.
- Central Pennsylvania Model Car Club - This CPMCC offers a website that focuses on more personalized model car building tips: license plates, weathering, and spray can paint jobs. This is also a kid friendly site detailing safety precautions.
- Boy Scouts of America - This website features information on model building requirements and tips. It also discusses important safety information for children just starting out in the model car building hobby.
- Palo Alto Medical Foundation - This website features excellent model car novice tips. It discusses important “getting started tips” helpful for adults as well as children.
- Scale Modelers Handbook - This website features a getting started guide on model car collecting. It discusses techniques on getting your collection up and running.
There are a few basic tools you will need to ensure a smooth build. They are: screwdrivers (1 and 2 Phillips head drivers, a flat blade screwdriver, and a jeweler’s screwdriver), slip joint, needle nose pliers, flush cutters, a hobby knife with no.11 blade, a ruler, small T-square, sandpaper, glues, and a sturdy pair of tweezers. As you move up in skill level and tackle more complicated projects, you will need a broader variety of tools. Invest in a lockable tool box so you can keep your tools together and secure. It is important to clean and maintain these tools just like any others to keep them in full working order.
- RC Hobbies - This website features information on model car building tips. It contains a basic materials list as well as radio and tire tips.
- Model Car Tech Tips- This website features information, how-to-guide and tips on airbrushing your model cars with real car paint. Airbrushing model cars will give them a more professional look.
- Model Making Tips - This website features a list of the basic materials needed in order to get started in the model car building hobby.
- Model Cars Online - This website features an article on the various skills levels of model car kits.
Clubs and Organizations
Once you begin your journey into the hobby of model car building and collecting you should consider joining a club or organization. There is a plethora of options to choose from: International Plastic Modelers’ Society, Association of Professional Model Makers, National Retail Hobby Stores Association, Hobby Merchandiser, The International Model Car Builders’ Museum, Internet Craftsmanship Museum, and Automobile Models. Joining a club or organization can open up new doors for networking and connecting with others who share the same hobby. It will broaden knowledge bases as well as provide enthusiasts with more collection opportunities. National organizations are great but make sure to look within your own community; check the newspaper or ask your local craft store if there are any local modeler clubs. Local clubs often trade or sell quality tools which can help you acquire expensive materials. These clubs may also hold events and workshops which would be a great deal of fun for anyone who loves building and collecting model cars.
- The International Plastic Modelers Society - The INPMS is a national organization that focuses on hobbyists in the USA.
- The National Retail Hobby Stores Association - The NRHSA is a national organization. The website features networking information including a section on buying/selling/trading and information on finding a hobby store.
- GSL Championship - The GSL Championship is designed to provide an encouraging atmosphere for model car enthusiasts to compete on craftsmanship. It is a place where model car builders can be recognized and rewarded. These conventions offer networking opportunities as well.
- Car Clubs - This website features a list of car clubs based on the make and model or by club name.
Written By: Edson Farnell | Email |