Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Scale Modelling for Late Bloomers....

from thestar.com.
I always wanted to build scale models when I was kid. I’m not that sure why I never came around doing it but I think it was more of not having in my younger years any support in general to explore the hobby.  Throughout the years the interest was always there especially when I visit hobby shops but there was never any real effort from my end to pursue it. Fast forward to the present…now comes my bucket list. I have to start doing it now. Should there be a logical reason for me to build scale models at this point in time? I believe I don’t need one. One compelling personal reason is that I believe that I have the skills for this craft and that I can have fun building miniature stuff same as many people worldwide having great with this hobby as I discovered exploring the net. Is my age a factor? It’s turning out from my readings that this hobby attracts people of all ages and that actually the quality of work and the passion for the craft is sometimes more intense with the more mature hobbyist. One hobby site made mention that many spouses across the globe are mystified why their partner disappears for long periods in order to glue together tiny plastic parts- so I am not the only late bloomer here. The point I guess is it’s never too late to start with this hobby as I have discovered personally also.
Below is a quick overview on scale modeling for those interested to learn about the topic.

Scale modeling is the art of creating scaled down miniature replicas or models of larger subjects- ideally for display. These models can be anything (real or imagined) but the more popular subjects are model airplanes, armored vehicles, figures, cars or ships. You can get guidance and ideas on what subject you will pursue and how to do it from hundreds of net resources and books.
Vintage Scale Models

Making an accurate realistic copy is paramount in scale modeling. Models are smaller versions of the original and must be in scale. “Scale” means that all the proportions of the model match those of the real object in order to create a more accurate representation of the subject matter. Scale terminology among hobbyist is a means of comparing and representing the relationship between the size of the model and the size of the object the model represents. The scale of a model is expressed either as a ratio e.g. 1:35 or fraction e.g. 1/35th. For example a 1/100th (1:100) scale tank has dimensions exactly 100 times smaller than the original.  If the original tank was 10 meters long, the model would be 10 cm long at 1/100th scale. The full size wax replicas of celebrities at Madame Tussaud's in London could be described as 1:1- the same size as the original scale models.
In the diagram above, the same car can be seen at different scales. Scale is an indication of relative sizes.
from Toywonders.com

A number of standard scales have been adopted for various types of models that more or less fit the size of the subjects they represent. The table below shows a few of them.

Type of Subject
Common Scales and Comments
1:16, 1:32 (common), 1:35, 1:72
Tanks & Military Vehicles
1:35 (most popular), 1:48, 1:72, 1:87 (sold almost completed; intended for war gaming)
1:32, 1:48 (usual preserve for aircraft, now also for vehicles), 1:72 (popular for larger aircraft where a lot of details can be added without the model becoming too big), 1:144
1:16, 1:24 (dominated by cars and trucks), 1:25, 1:32
1:350 (most popular for marine modelers), 1:700
RC aircraft & tanks; Engines

Most modelers use plastic kits that are glued together and painted. A typical model kit includes the following:
1.     Plastic kit parts molded on sprues (parts trees)
a.     parts must be cut from the sprues prior to assembly.
b.    usually molded in one color of plastic but can be in more than one color.
c.     may have clear parts (for windows, headlights etc.); usually  on a separate sprue of clear plastic
US Army Staff Car model 1942
2.     Kit Literature or instruction sheet- gives background information on the subject and detailed diagrams on how parts should be assembled and painted.  
3.     Set of decals for model markings (numbers, letters, national insignia and other details). Finally, many kits include what are called
4.     Multimedia items (not plastic)
a.     add specialized detail to the model.
b.    may include vinyl (tires and tank treads), aluminum or brass (gun barrels and shells) and resin or photoetch parts (for highly intricate or detailed components).
Building a model can be divided into three broad main steps:
  1. Construction: 
    1. Removal of parts from the sprues and gluing it together.
    2. May involve parts preparation prior to gluing such as sanding to ensure parts fit together correctly, removal of molding seams which are manufacturing imperfections, etc.
  2. Painting: Models are painted to match the subjects they represent.
    1. May be applied with a brush or an airbrush or combination of the two as well as several sizes of brushes for different types of detail work. Rattle spray cans may also be used.
    2. Paints are usually either enamels or water-based acrylics.
  3. Detailing: 
    1. May include applying decals,
    2. "Weathering" a model to make the subject appear used or damaged. Pigment powders may be used to make a model appear dirty or rusty using a variety of techniques to make the paint appear chipped, faded, stained or otherwise altered
    3. Displaying the model on a base or a diorama scene.

Scale Modelling: Essential Tools of the Craft

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