02 Apr

How to Build a Plastic Model Airplane from a Kit

Kids and adults alike find building model airplanes a fun and fulfilling hobby. However, if you are new to this hobby, you may find it hard to get started, so much more to finish your first model. But there are some helpful steps that can guide you.

Building a model airplane from a kit can be divided into four general steps and each step involves several sub-steps that you can easily follow through:

model airplane

I. Planning

1. Decide on what type of model to build. Popular categories include fighter planes, military and commercial transport planes, private planes and gliders among others. It is important to remember that there are models that are easier to build than others. For beginners, avoid choosing combat planes as they are considered to be more difficult to build.

2. Do your research. Even with printed instructions, it can be difficult to build a model plane if you don’t have the background information on the model you have chosen. Also before starting, read the instructions carefully so that you will have an idea on what you will be doing next.

3. Decide on the type of configuration. Simple configurations such as whether the landing gears are up or down, or in the case of combat planes, whether to include weapons or not, do matter. Knowing your configurations from the start can help you avoid interruptions while already building the model.

II. Assembly

1. Make sure that all parts are clean. Oil and dust can affect the adhesions and detract the authentic look of your model. Before starting, clean all the parts in a basin of water with a little detergent and then rinse and dry them afterwards.

2. Carefully remove the parts from their sprues. You could use shears or a small pair of scissors to do this.

3. Do not glue the parts together until all contact points and parts are clean and fit well. Do not overuse plastic cement as it will prevent proper adhesion and may also deform other parts. Also, use white glue instead of plastic cement when working with clear parts such as canopies and windows.

4. Hold or clamp the glued parts together until the adhesive sets in. This is to ensure that the glued parts will not move but would stay in place.

III. Painting

1. Before starting to paint, be sure that all the surfaces are already clean and that the adhesives have already dried.

2. Mix the paint thoroughly and test it first before applying on your model plane.


3. Mask adjacent parts where you will be painting to avoid putting paint on them. You could use a masking tape or a liquid masker. Remove the mask when the paint has partially (not completely) dried.

4. Use the appropriate size of brush for painting. Brush is generally used on isolated or small parts and not on large or exterior surfaces. When using an airbrush, be sure to follow the instructions on how to use it.

5. Remove unwanted paint with a solvent or by scraping it.

IV. Finishing

Apply decals once the paint is perfectly dry, preferably one day after you have finished painting. Be extra careful when applying decals to the model. Allow at least one hour to let a decal dry completely before working on another.

Building a model plane requires time and concentration to do it right. By using the step-by-step guide above, you should be able to successfully complete your model airplane and with good results.

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