Key Factors to Consider Before Buying Your First Scale Model

If you’ve decided to get into scale model building, choosing your first model can be a big deal. While it isn’t much of a commitment in terms of money, the model you choose can be the deciding factor whether you stick with the hobby or give up after your first failed attempt. But with the ever-growing number of scale models, chances are there’s one that’s just right for you, so you can kickstart your journey into the wonderful world of model building. So how do you decide which one is the right one? There are a few key factors you’ll have to consider in order to ensure you buy something that’s suited to your taste and skill level.

Scale Model Air plane


Subject and Type

Finding a model that you’re eager to start working on is the obvious first step. Passion and enthusiasm can go a long way when picking up a new exciting hobby like scale modelling, especially when you hit a roadblock in the middle of the build. If you’re a motorcycle fan or enthusiast, you can find a wide range of scale model bikes online relatively easy. If you’re into Star Wars, you’ll have a more difficult time finding a Millenium Falcon build, but they are available, although you might have to pay the extra buck. There are various different scale model cars that you can pick from. Whatever your preference may be, make sure you get a model that captures your interest and inspires you to go through with the project.

Scale and Size

You may end up sticking to one scale throughout your entire model building “career”, or you may take up different-size models. This mostly comes down to personal preference, but it’s important to know that there are differences between building large and small scale models. Smaller models may be more difficult to build due to their smaller parts, but they also require fewer skills if they consist of just a couple of simple parts. Larger models, on the other hand, may consist of hundreds of pieces, or just a couple dozen. Those that have many parts are obviously more difficult to build than those including just a couple dozen. The “scale” of building models represents its size relative to the real-life vehicle it’s replicating. You’ll find scale model bikes online scaled 1/6, 1/2, scale model cars 1/24, 1/25, scale model aircraft 1/72, 1/100, etc.

Scale Model Train


Difficulty Level

It goes without saying that building a model with hundreds of tiny pieces and high levels of complexity as a beginner is a bad idea, especially if you want your model to look exactly like what’s on the instructions or box. Picking a scale model with fewer parts and fewer stages of completion will help you get a feel of the scale building process. You’ll have an easier time figuring out how much glue you need to use, how the parts fit together, what tools you need, and even how to paint it. Get the basics down by completing a few simple models first so you can get your confidence up, then pick on something that’s more complex.

Scale Model mlcaren senna



The quality of scale models has come a long way over the years. Recent models go through vigorous testing to make sure the parts don’t have defects and fit together properly. While it can be more affordable to get a model from second-hand stores or eBay, you run the risk of buying a model that’s faulty, which can lead to you experiencing problems due to the parts not fitting or being built as they should be. That being said, go to a hobby store that’s dedicated to scale models and similar hobbies, such as remote-controlled vehicles, for example.

Paint Job

As much as you might be tempted to get a scale model with a detailed and complex paint job, it’s recommended that you stick to something that has simple single colour schemes unless you’re an artist who’s handy with brushes. As for the actual construction of the model, use the simplicity to pick up the basics of painting. Airbrushing and masking are great techniques that can result in amazing finishes, but trying them out on your first model may undo all the hard work you’ve put into the building.

Scale Model van



With all the aforementioned factors in mind, you should still take your time and see what’s available. Read online reviews, watch YouTube videos and relevant online forums to see what’s best for your wants and needs. Once you’ve bought your first scale model, follow the instructions carefully to ensure that you at least get a final product that’s similar to the one presented on the box. That’s the best way to “force” yourself to stick with the hobby and get some satisfaction out of your hard work.

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