Making scale model aircraft is a hobby which has grown rapidly in popularity in recent years due to the very large number of plastic kits now available at a price which many boys can afford. In these kits the parts come ready made and are well detailed. The modeller has to assemble the model and then paint and decorate it, often the part of the operation which is most fun. Tool kits can be built up as the modeller’s ambitions increase. The most basic tools and
materials are a craft knife, small file, glass paper, tweezers, dividers, steel rule, fine wire and fine paint brushes. Most of these items are usually found in the home already.
Models are made to various standard scales from very small 1: 144 scale to a comparatively large 1:24 scale. Easily the most popular is the 1:72 scale. A collection will be most satisfying if all the models in it
are to the same scale. When it comes to
detailing, modellers need not follow the kitmaker’s directions, but can make more individual models by converting into other
aircraft. This may be no more complicated than merely changing the markings, to give a service aircraft, for instance, the decals and colours of a different Air Force from those supplied by the maker. Or it may be a more advanced conversion into another marque of the aircraft by amendments to cockpits or tailplanes. Conversion kits and decal sheets can be bought separately, but advanced modellers might like to make their own conversions with their own materials. A collection of reference material can be collected from aircraft books or magazines or from modelling magazines.
Rather than making models haphazardly, it is often wise to concentrate on a particular type of aircraft, for example British service planes of World War II. It will then be possible to make displays and dioramas of the finished models, and to make scenery for photographing the collection.
Making Model Soldiers: Many of the remarks made about making model aircraft apply to another fast-growing hobby, that of making model soldiers. Many military modelling or collecting societies have been formed in the last few years, and again the plastic kit, which allows considerable detail at a reasonable cost, has helped the boom.
Tools required are needle files, jeweller’s engraving tools. jeweller’s hand vice, razor saw, pliers, tweezers, craft knife, jeweller’s metal scissors, nail scissors, steel rule,small drills, small C-clamps, paints and brushes. Tool sets are supplied by modelling manufacturers, but you will notice that some of the tools are used in the jewellery trade, and a jeweller’s supplier will be able to provide good quality equipment at a reasonable price.
Beginners should start with plastic kits which are easier to work with, particularly if you want to animate your models. Much of the skill in making a good model comes with the painting. Paints may be matt enamel, acrylic or oil, or indeed a mixture of them, and are supplied by modelling shops.
Much of the fun in making a collection of model soldiers comes from the way you decide to present them. Small groups
of figures can be arranged, or larger dioramas, even eventually whole battle scenes. Horses and mounted figures form a part of the model soldier scene. Bases for dioramas can be bought at modelling shops, but more satisfaction can be achieved at
less cost by making your Own from easily acquired materials like expanded polystyrene.