How to Build a Model Plane
When gadgets and smartphones dominate the consciousness of people, building model planes is a refreshing change of pace. In stark contrast to the instant gratification that can be had from smart devices, building a scale model takes a lot of time, patience, and close attention to minute details.
The hobby of building model aircraft has been around since the Wright Flyer first took flight over a century ago. Much has changed since then, and countless designs have hit the market, but the concept remains the same: a harmonious blend of art, engineering, and history.
If you are looking for a fun hobby to start, try building a model plane with the following steps.
Choosing the Model and the Scale
The first step is to select a model plane to build. It sounds simple enough, but requires a lot of thought. There is an infinite number of designs to choose from, enough to confuse any beginner. Long-time hobbyists, however, would salivate at the thought.
If you do not have a specific model in mind, you can narrow down your choices by going with a category that piques your interest. Your options are commercial planes, private planes, fighter planes, or military transport. You could also try a NASA spacecraft or a futuristic aircraft if you are more adventurous.
Some model planes are easier to build than others. Combat aircraft and futuristic planes, in particular, have intricate details requiring some skill in using an airbrush. The key to choosing a model is to balance the difficulty of the build against your skill level.
The next step is to decide the scale of your model. A scale of 1:48 or 1:32 is a good size. If you have a small space, then 1:72 will do nicely.
Read Before You Build
Before you get your super glue and clippers, you must first research the model you have chosen. Find as many images as you can to use as a reference. Important details, such as colour schemes, will be helpful during the build.
The next thing to do is read the instructions thoroughly, all the way to the parts list. Model planes usually come with alternative colour schemes or parts, and you must select them before you get started. You also have to decide the configuration of the model plane. For instance, you can leave the landing gear up or down, and the door open or close.
Prepare the Parts and the Tools
Clean the parts using warm water and soap. Model kits today have a residue from the plastic injection moulding process. If not cleaned, this will keep the paint from sticking to the aeroplane model. Dry the parts with a clean towel after washing them.
Get to Work
With all your parts, tools, instructions, and other materials within arm’s reach in your work area, you are now ready to start the build.
It is easier to start with the interior of the plane, such as the cockpit, passenger seats, cargo area, and bomb bay compartments. You can use the pictures from your research to supplement the kit instruction. Once the interior is finished, you can move on with the fuselage.
Do not break the parts off from the spruce to avoid damage. Use your clippers or hobby knife instead. While waiting for the glue to set, you can use clamps or rubber bands to keep the large fuselage parts together. Sand down the bumps and irregularities on the joints for a smoother finish.
After seaming and sanding, you can move on to priming and painting. Smaller components, such as the landing gear, propellers, and windscreen, must be painted separately before attaching to the model. Once the paint dries, you can start applying the decals to complete your model plane.