New to making model kits?
Why not try a starter kit from Airfix.
Buy an Airfix Starter kit from
What tools do I need to start?
The amount you spend on tools for this great hobby depends on how many models you intend to make.
If you want to make just the occassional model or are a beginner and want to see how things develop, then I suggest you should buy just the basics, such as:-
Knife or Scalpel
A blade is essential when modelling - view recommended
(Adult supervision is necessary using a blade).
These are necessary to remove parts from the sprues - view recommended
Obviously glue is essential when assembling a model kit.
For the younger modeller I would recommend Contacta Professional, otherwise Tamiya Extra Thin - view recommended
(Adult supervision is necessary using adhesives).
It is always a good idea to protect the furniture while modelling and using a cutting mat is definetly a good idea - view recommended
Cotton buds are very useful for removing unwanted paint and cleaning excess wash and helping to apply decals etc. You will find you use alot of them.
Cocktail sticks are extremely useful for holding small parts when painting. You can hold the part using a convenient hole or add some Blu Tack to the end.
Masking tape is extremely useful for protecting previously painted surfaces and surfaces which don't need painting such as canopies - view recommended
A steel rule is very useful for helping to cut masking tape to specific widths and shapes with a scalpel.
Tweezers can be very useful when assembly very small parts which are too small to fit by hand.
Paint brushes are needed to paint the model and are readily available.
Acrylic paints are recommended for the beginner as they are easy to use, easy to clean and they can be thinned with water.
(Adult supervision is necessary when using paint).
Blu Tack is useful for holding parts in conjunction with Cocktail sticks when painting.
Scissor can be used for opening packaging, cutting tape and cutting decals from the decal sheet.
As you gain experience making model kits you will become more aware of any imperfections you make and also the limits of the tools you have and this will determine what quality of tools you buy in the future.
Should I use Paint Brush or Airbrush?
When starting this hobby I would suggest you use a Paint Brush and Acrylic Paints.
As Acrylic Paint is water based it is non toxic.
There are many manufacturers of Acrylic Paints all have their merits, however I prefer Tamiya and Vallejo.
As you develop in this hobby, you will naturally want to improve and that will inevitably lead to using an Airbrush.
Advantages of using an Airbrush
Smooth and Even Coats
Paint dries quicker
Easier to blend paints
How to create Red Oxide Colour?
Red oxide colour can be achieved by mixing the following:-
XF-7 Flat Red @ 80%
XF-1 Flat Black @ 10%
XF-67 NATO Brown @ 10%
How should you thin Tamiya Acrylic Paint?
Tamiya Acrylic paint should be thinned by roughly 50% using X-20a or equiv.
This will allow airbrushing and will also reduce visible brush strokes.
How should I paint small items?
It is advisable to paint small items still attached to the sprue to avoid damage and loss.
Gluing painted parts
When gluing painted parts together make sure that all the paint is removed on the contact area to ensure a good bond.
Use a gloss coat before applying decals to help avoid 'silvering' and also help them adhere. Use a decal solution to help decals conform to the surface.
Attaching clear parts.
Clear parts such as canopies should be attached with PVA glue or Canopy glue to avoid frosting.
Paint Conversion Charts
Creative Models - Tamiya Paint Conversion Chart.
Model Shade - Model Paint Conversion Chart.
Hobby Land - Colour Conversion Tables.
Wonderland Models - Humbrol Paints and Conversion Tables.
Tamiya Spray Equivalents
These spray paints have been specially developed by Tamiya for aircraft models. Should you wish to use their X of XF range instead, I have listed what I believe is the nearest eqivalent.
|AS-03||Grey Green||XF-18 + XF-26 (3:1)|
|AS-09||Dark Green (RAF)||XF-81|
|AS-10||Ocean Grey (RAF)||XF-82|
|AS-11||Medium Sea Grey (RAF)||XF-83|
|AS-17||Dark Green (IJA)||XF-61 + XF-2 (2:1)|
|AS-18||Light Grey (IJA)||XF-25|
|AS-19||Int. Blue (USN)||XF-50 + XF-2 (2:1)|
|AS-20||Insignia White (USN)||XF-19 + XF-2 (1:2)|
|AS-21||Dark Green 2 (IJN)||XF-70|
Andy's Hobby Headquarters
How to disassemble and clean your airbrush
Thinning and using Tamiya paint and cement
How to thin, paint and clean Tamiya LP Lacquer series of paint
Basic Airbrushing - Part 1 of 3
Basic Airbrushing - Part 2 of 3
Basic Airbrushing - Part 3 of 3
Acrylic Home Brew Thinners
Photo Etch Removal
How to mask your own canopies