THE NEWBIES GUIDE TO BUILDING KITS

Words and photography – Neehan Rashid

The Introduction

Collectors would agree with me when I say that we usually collect the scaled version of the cars that we love or aspire to own as that is our passion. But as car enthusiasts, we also dream about building our own 1:1 because this is something we grew up watching others do. However, if you are broke like me buying your next project car is out of the question and getting an immaculate 1:18 would be a big investment. So in order to save the day, 1:24 model kits get added to the equation. Not only can these plastic models give you the satisfaction of owning a 1:18, but it can also help you live a scaled dream of building your own car which allows you to kill two birds with one stone.

 

Initial Preperation

Before I got my hands on the plastic model itself, I spent countless hours just watching YouTube videos on how to spray models and to educate myself on the Dos and Don’ts of scale modelling. Trust me this is something you would want to do because if you ever try doing something without knowing anything about it, there will be no happy ending (most of the time). So I would suggest watching JH Hobby’s videos on YouTube as he covers everything about scale modelling in depth.

Installing the body parts

Once I got the model in hand I installed all the body parts that were supposed to have the same body color. For this particular build, I wanted to do something simple so I decided to go with a Tivoli blue color for all the body parts. Hence, I installed the front and rear bumpers, side skirts and the wing. However, before gluing the parts I sanded the parts with a 600 grit sandpaper to make sure everything was fitting well. If you are building the Tamiya Evo VI like me, know that the rear bumper needs a bit of sanding in order to get the perfect fit. I also used a blade to deepen the panel lines to add to the realism segment of the build.

Sanding the Body

Once all the body parts were installed it was time to sand down the whole body and remove any mold lines. In order to do this, you would take a permanent marker and put a mark on top of the mold lines. After that is done you keep sanding the area with a 600 grit sandpaper until the mark cannot be seen anymore. With this step done, the body should be free of any imperfections. However, the work doesn’t end here as you would have to use a 1000 grit sandpaper to sand down the whole body until it’s not glossy anymore. This is done so that the primer can stick on the body and doesn’t crack if the body is bent. But make sure to sand gently as you don’t want to remove details like the window trims and door handles.

Priming

If explained this process is very simple and I’ll keep it as short as possible. When you have your body prepped for applying primer you shouldn’t worry about the number of coats that need to be applied. This is because your main objective would be the following-

You have to apply light coats and let it dry for 10 minutes. Once each coat is dried you would want to look for areas that aren’t smooth or have any form of imperfections. If an area is spotted with some errors you would want to wet sand that particular part using the 1000 thousand grit sandpaper. This process needs to be continued again and again till you have a smooth surface. After the much-desired surface is achieved you would need to spray a thick coat and let the model dry for a day or two. Once the body is dried you can look for errors again and if you find any you would want to repeat the process again. But trust me the extra elbow grease is worth it because a smooth primed surface means that you have set a perfect base for the next stage of the whole painting process.

Painting

Now, this is the funny yet the most nerve-wracking part of the whole build. It’s here where your countless effort would pay off or everything goes downhill. But for me the whole process was okay and this is how I did it. Before I painted the model I washed it again to make sure there was no dust and once that was out of the way I applied a very light coat of the Tivoli Blue. It must be light enough to the point where you can still see the primer. After that with a lot of patience, apply heavier coats of the paint with a drying time of 10 minutes between each layer. If you can do this successfully you should have a smooth paint job. However, the work doesn’t end here since you would need to let the paint dry for a day so that you can apply the final layer known as the clear coat.

But do know that applying the clear coat is pretty hard since if it’s too light the paint job will be really rough and if it’s too heavy the paint will be soft. This is why I recommend you say your prayers before touching the can. For my build, the process was scary yet exhilarating. Once again, I removed any dust on the body before I applied the first layer of the clear coat. Also, know that the first layer is commonly known as the mist layer since it is the lightest layer. After that, the consecutive two layers will be the wet layer, since it should be heavy enough to the point where the whole layer looks like water. One advice, don’t be scared when applying the wet layers since you will need to apply the thick layers and there is no running away from it. So yeah, just go crazy with it but still be careful since you don’t want to ruin the paint job. With this, the whole paint process was done and the body was left to dry for a week.

The finale

As the subtitle says this is where you assemble your model kit. From here onwards one just needs to follow the instructions and assemble all the undercarriage parts, detail the interior to your own liking and do all the fun stuff like lowering the model kit. However, before I did that I polished the body of the model just to make it more presentable. After that everything was as simple as glueing pieces together. Once everything is done perfectly you should have a model that you will be proud of but I know for a fact you won’t be satisfied since this is a hobby where you will want to aim for pure perfection. But don’t be too harsh on yourself as at the end of the day we are all newbies growing our passion for cars. Till then, never give up and have amazing time building kits.