Did you used to love model making as a kid but then found that as you grew up, it like many other hobbies disappeared from your life. Well, retirement is the perfect time to get back into old hobbies and model making is no exception.
But if you are new to the miniature world of aircraft, ships, tanks, cars, buildings (the list is practically endless…) then read on too. It is a fun and incredibly rewarding hobby that is perfect for folk with a patient disposition and who have a bit of free time on their hands.
If you are interested in getting involved with model making but have no idea where to start, the following tips will hopefully point you in the right direction. I’ll be honest and say that if you’re an old hand (from the days when your hands were a lot smaller) then the tips might be a bit basic.
1. Identify your topic. As obvious as this may sound, choose a model that is of personal interest to you. If you love the model and it means something to you, you are far more likely to persevere with it in the early stages whilst you are still getting the hang of things.
2. Choose something manageable. Keep the old saying ‘don’t try to run before you can walk’ at the forefront of your mind if you are new to this hobby. A detailed model of the Titanic may look like a fun challenge but it is important to choose a challenge that matches your skill level. Kits vary from the easiest imaginable for the complete beginner, right up to the sorts that are impossibly complicated. The best bet is to be realistic and go for something you know you can complete even if it takes you a bit longer than you hoped.
3. Where to purchase your kit. The ideal place to find the right model would be a specialist store stocking a great choice of kits along with the entire model making related paraphernalia you could possibly need. Some craft stores and toy stores will stock a selection of kits, or you could of course purchase what you are looking for online.
4. Scale. Models are sold in a variety of different scales. Smaller models are generally easier as they are less detailed and minor mistakes are less noticeable, making them an ideal choice for beginners.
5. Cost. Avoid the temptation to splash out too much cash on your first few model kits and bear in mind that the results of your first few projects may not be fabulous whilst you are developing your skills. In the early stages it is useful to practice on the lower value, more straightforward kits. This way you will feel less pressured to get everything completely perfect, enabling you to be less precious with your kit and have more fun building it.
6. Tools required. The most basic kits you can buy require only the most basic of tools; however over time as you progress you will gradually require more items. You will usually find a list of any additional equipment you will need to build your model listed on the outside of its box. Make sure you have gathered everything you need before you get started.
You will generally need:
Hobby knife / nail clippers – for easy removal of the moulded partsModel cement / glue
Protective mat – to cut and work on
Tweezers – for holding small parts
Nail file – for light sanding
Paints / paintbrushes
Big mug of tea!
7. A word about glue. Less is more. Use sparingly and take great care not to glue your model to your work surface or small parts to yourself.
8. Ventilation. A well-ventilated space is essential when using glues and paints with strong fumes so keep a window open and no sniffing!
9. Dedicated space. Stress free model making will require a dedicated spot, free from pets, young children and anything or anyone else that could help you to lose or misplace small parts!
10. Instructions. Always read all of the instructions and follow them carefully. I mean it, all of them!
11. Need some help? You will find numerous resources and guides to help you online and specialised model making magazines can also be a great source for ideas, inspiration and helpful advice.
If you find yourself hooked on this wonderful hobby you may want to consider joining a local club where you can meet with other modellers, develop your skills and share ideas.
Rainy Days Will Make You Smile
Once you get into it you’ll discover that model making is an ideal retirement hobby. Get your radio, a mug of tea, a comfy chair, peace and quiet, a model kit and you’ll be well away. Happy modelling!
Have you tried modelling? What kind and what do you enjoy most about it?