Jump to content

Beginners Guide to Modelling - Order of build and finishing (advice sought)


Recommended Posts

Good day all,

I'm just about to start my second model and I've been reading the forums to try to figure out in what order to do things while building a model. However ... it seems that there are a number of ways of doing things and a multitude of techniques and products.

So for us new or returning to the modelling game I'd like to see if we can produce something like a modelling 101 ... the basics.

Sticking with things more readily available in your local HobbyCraft, for example, is one way to get people started and to a good finish on a model without being overwhelmed by the options out there.

So ..... Here's where I'm at before I start my next model. Can some of you more experienced modellers (most of you lol) help guide me through my thinking and advise on where I'm missunderstanding various steps.

Step 1 - Priming. I'm using Humbrol Enamel Paints on Airfix kits. Is priming needed or will the enamel paints adhere well to clean plastic?

Step 2 - Painting detailed parts. As stated I'm starting with Humbrol Enamel paints. Shaking the paints to death seems to be needed a lot but does work. I'm applying the paint by hand with various brushes but how many coats of enamel should be needed ? Also if the paint seems to be running a little thin is this just a case of needing to shake a little more ? Avoiding painting the surfaces where glue is to be applied is also a must or components won't fit.

Step 3 - Assembly. I've worked out that glasswork needs to be added after the exterior painting is completed so the bits under the glasswork are the right colour. So slow assembly of the model needs to take place. Humbrol filler can be used to fill in any imperfections in the joins and then smoothed off. Fine emery boards are good for smoothing away the bits left after removing the parts from the mouldings.

Step 4 - Paint glasswork

Step 5 - Coat glasswork in Humbrol Clear

Step 6 - Add glasswork decals

Step 7 - Again coat glasswork in Humbrol Clear to seal

Step 8 - Paint assembled bodywork

Step 9 - Seal bodywork with Humbrol Clear

Step 10 - Apply decals

Step 11 - Seal decals with Humbrol Clear

Step 12 - Apply weathering effects using weathering powders watered down with some Humbro thinners. Build up effect slowly and wash down with thinners and a cotton bud.

Step 13 - Have a coffee :)

Now the above is where i'm currently at as a basic walk through on how to get your modelling restarted but I'm open to comments and suggestions. I'll also try to add the next build into the work in progress thread so I can pick up advice along the way. I'm trying to keep things simple but effective for starters so if I'm way off on something then please let me know. Would appreciate the help/advice :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

If that's what works for you, that's good. Here's a few qualifications answering your specific questions, particularly expanding your Step 8..

"Official" advice is always to wash the plastic to remove tool release agent before attempting to paint. I don't generally do this, and neither do at least some others. This almost always works fine anyway, and when I have had trouble I cannot specifically blame not washing the parts, but it could have been that.

Prepaint the pieces on the sprue where you can (major airframe parts excepted). You can always remove the paint from meeting surfaces.

I find priming is not necessary, but some people like it. Some kind of undercoat is generally a good idea to highlight problem areas - you might consider this as primer.

Recent Humbrol paints have suffered from poor pigmentation. This aside, shaking is rarely enough unless you have a powered shaking machine. Stir stir stir and stir again. I have seen 15 minutes recommended - but again I don't follow that. Poor coverage does seem to have become a common problem nowadays, particularly with satin and gloss paints. It always was with some colours (white, yellow and red). I tend to apply an undercoat of "good old Humbrol" approximate colours which is then followed by a rub down, wash and then adding the more accurate hues , often from other companies.

As a general principle, several thin coats are better than one thick one. Do not use the paints straight from the tin, always remove to a mixing palette and thin. Even if you aren't intending to do multiple coats. OK, you can get away without this on small parts.

Humbrol Filler isn't necessarily the best around - I would turn to MIlliput for major reshaping and Mr. Dissolved Putty for filling poor joins, excessive panel lines, and the like. There is a wide choice and different modellers have different approaches. More generally, the same applies to the other proprietary products that you mention. Don't be afraid to experiment.

I have to add one qualification: I don't model to competition standards and some of my approach may seem inadequate to those who set higher standards for themselves. Pick their brains by all means.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll second the above advice.

I always prime after assembly, as it is what I do. I gloss coat my canopies before masking, helps them shine more, then mask.

Avoiding painting mating surfaces is a must, not only for fit issues, but also poly glue won't work right. It leaves a weaker joint, on painted surfaces, and melts the paint into a gloopy mess.

Humbrol enamels are getting better again, after going through a bad patch, but you still can't beat the old formulas. You need to stir then thoroughly, shaking isn't enough. You can get battery powered paint stirrers, even adapt a cheap coffee frother. I'm trying to switch to acrylic now, much easier to work with.

Humbrol filler has it's uses, but has a short working time. It works better if you squeeze some out and mix it with a few drops of poly glue. Try to get hold of some deluxe materials perfect plastic putty, it's a joy to work with and can easily be smoothed out with a wet cotton bud before it dries. Be aware though, if you try to wash it, or wet sand it, before painting it will dissolve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To add to the others, more often than not using primer helps with getting a good coat of paint on. Another consideration is using thinner so the paint isn't too thick when applied to the model. How many coats depends on how it turns out, sometimes only a few are needed and other times more. Yellow is quite a hard colour to get solid coverage hence a lot of coats are required.

Finally, the rules aren't necessarily set in stone. Depending on the kit you may have to alter your plan to work round a problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the helpful responses :)

I'm trying to get a feel for which order I make which steps in. Just found out a friend saw my model and has been namging on about getting a model too. Guessing we'll both be sat there doing models in the evening so even these little bits of advice will help me ... and in turn my friend.

Lots to learn but i'm getting there slowly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Dave

It's reassuring that you're asking very similiar questions to the sort I was asking 18 months ago, when I can back to the hobby - at the time i thought I was the only one out there who didn't know what this was all about.

I also asked lots of questions and got lots of helpful answers on another forum which is currently off line. I have also done a lot of experimenting and also ignored of the advice - some of which has worked :D and some which hasn't. :(

All of the advice above from much better modellers is stuff I either use or what I've seen other people do.

If you're interested I don't mind sending you a private message and giving you the low down on my experiences over the last 18 months and what I've picked up so far in my jouney fron out and our newbie, to a vaguely experience newbie!!

Anyway, welcome back and enoy!!!



PS As you'll see, my stuff is definitely a work in progress (even when it's finished)!!

PPS - I like the Spit by the way!!

PPS - I do 1/72nd armour (see my signature for a link explaining why) so not all my advice may be entirely relevant

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...