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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello All!

I built models as a kid and after almost 15 years since my last, I would like to start again. I am amazed at what this hobby has developed into since my youth. I have purchased several kits in the recent months, mostly ones produced by Polar Lights. Unfortunately, they all sit on a shelf in my closet because of one thing..... a lack of knowledge in producing a quality kit. I am worried that I will not proceed on the right track and my kit will become a flop instead of something I can display with pride. Any help or advice in how to return to the wonderful world of modeling would be greatly appreciated as I am a huge fan of Batman and have several kits that I would like to start.
 

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Welcome to the board, Joshua! The only advice I can give is don't be afraid to start a kit. Pick out a simple one and build it. Follow the kit instructions and recommendations for paint and glue, etc. There are so many techniques and tricks out there, that it is impossible to list them all here. You should try visiting some modeling websites, e.g., the Fine Scale Modeler web site, http://www.finescale.com/; they have some good articles on different techniques to making models, from seam filling to how to paint realistic figures. I highly recommend subscribing to their mag, too! There are other many good sites out there that are loaded with tips.

After your first kit, you will see things you could have done differently, and will improve on your next kit. And so on, and so on...

-Cappy D
 

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Welcome Joshua!

You might find this site helpful for getting back into modeling:
http://home.comcast.net/~cinorjer/index.html

Be sure to check out Jerry's 'Modeling Tips' especially if you're going to be tackling FIGURE MODELS.

You'll probably also find Buc Wheat's site helpful:
http://home.cshore.com/bucwheat/index.html

And if you've got Bat-vehicles that you're going to be building you might also want some references:
www.thebatcycle.com
http://www.1966batmobile.com/spec.htm
http://www.geocities.com/~1966/


Good luck and Happy Modeling!

- GJS
 

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I too got back into model building when I learned of Polar Lights.
I had not built a model since I was about 11 years old until PL came along.

Go to the links (provided above) and read up on things BUT most importantly...

Just have fun with it.
Don't take it too seriously and your kit will come out much better.
Just dive right in, take your time and make it fun.

That's how I did it when I first came back to the hobby.
 

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I got an arc welder for Christmas last year.

It was an exciting prospect and I had visions of all the things that I would be able to fix and to build. Plus, I'm a sucker for all of those car and motorcycle shows on the Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel. I could imagine myself welding up parts for my car to the awe and jealous stares of my neighbours. The only thing holding me back was the fact that I had no idea how to weld.

So I did the logical thing and bought a book on welding. The first thing it said in the book is, "You can't learn to weld by reading a book". Yeah, well, I wish you'd told me that before I spent $24.95.

Then I did the NEXT logical thing. I bought a welding helmet, some heavy gloves, some 4' bars of mild steel and 5 lbs. of Lincoln Electric Fleetweld 37+ welding electrodes. I plugged in the welder, sat myself down in the backyard and started welding. For the first day, this resulted in large amounts of sparks, spatter, smoke, holes in my shirt, burning cinders in my hair and 3 minor grass fires. What I DIDN'T get was anything resembling a weld.

But I kept at it. Soon I was joining metal. Eventually my welds were becoming unbreakable. Last weekend, I took some scrap pipe and a piece of steel from an old furnace and I welded up a first class tool rest for my lathe. My creation was essentially "free" (being made from scrap) as opposed to the $35.00 a factory tool rest would have cost.

The moral of the story? Sometimes the only way to really learn something is to just do it. Accept the fact that you will probably (certainly) make some major mistakes on your early efforts. If you want to learn how to build models...then you must build models. By all means, read everything you can reasonably absorb. But that will only get you part way there. You have to start gluing pieces together.

Obviously, don't start with your favorite or most expensive kit! When I started welding, I didn't start on my old Corvette :). Get yourself a cheap kit and, as you read the advice on the various sites, also build the kit. The concepts you read will make a lot more sense as you put them into practice. In very short order, you should have the confidence to tackle a more serious subject and a more expensive kit.

BTW, this is exactly the same advice I give people about airbrushing. These BB's often fillup with posts about "How do I..." mix-paint, clean the airbrush, adjust pressure and so on. But after all the advice is given, there comes a point where I say, "Just put some paint in the darn thing and start spraying. If you screw up, you'll figure it out".
 

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There is no "right" way to build a model. Whatever works, works. Two suggestions (one has been given before and the other is (I hope) obvious). Start with something not-too-important. If it goes together well, splendid. But if not, you haven't lost too much. Secondly, you are more likely to get hurt with a dull knife. Use a very sharp one. One last thing - manufacturers make mistakes, too. If you are building it right and run into a snag, it may not be your fault.
 

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Hi Joshua,

Welcome to the board. Here is an excellent place to get pointers and info on building. I will echo what everybody has said- you must crawl, then walk before you run. Only practice and patience will create your best. Rule 1- have fun and relax, Rule 2- satisfy yourself first and only- don't worry about what others think, Rule 3- learn from others, use what works best for you.

Have fun and don't be afraid to attempt different things. Set a goal for what you are trying to do (even with a simple snapper) and then build towards it.

What do you have in mind for a starter? I'm sure some of us can give advise on it. Good Luck, welcome to the fold!
 

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Joshua,

Here are a few additional practical, or basic things to keep in mind. If you're building FIGURE kits, you are most likely going to want to use ACRYLIC PAINTS.

If you're building VEHICLES, you'll be depending largely on ENAMEL PAINTS.

Although 'Airplane Glue' is still widely used in the hobby, you'll find that most of us recommend some type of CYANOACRYLATE GLUE ( i.e. CA Glue or Super Glue ). Except where cementing CLEAR PARTS is necessary - then you'll want to use a White Glue such as Elmer's or Testors Clear Parts Glue.

Make sure you have some X-acto knives, putty, and sandpaper on hand. Dremels, Airbrushes, and other fancy, expensive tools can be helpful but, aren't absolutely necessary for achieving outstanding results. Learn about drybrushing and washing techniques and how they are invaluable assets in painting your kits.

But most importantly, as most everyone here will tell you, have FUN! And build your kits to please yourself!

- GJS
 

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Welcome, Joshua!!

What they said!! I would suggest looking at the kits you have and decide which are most important to you. Set those aside for after you have developed some skills. Start on one that either doesn't mean that much to you, or that you can still get another one if things go awry. And, most important, HAVE FUN!!!

Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Many, Many, Many Thanks! and my most heartfelt gratitude to all the advice, tips, and leads everyone has shared so far. :)

Although I am still somewhat nervous about opening that first kit, my confidence level has already greatly increased. As I have stated in my first post, I am a huge fan of Batman and also love the Universal Monsters, Star Trek, and all things Sci-Fi.

I have about made up my mind to start on my JL 50's Batmobile first since the body is already finished and all I will have to work on is the interior mainly. Has anyone built this one before? Any advice on it?

Once again...... Many, Many Thanks Everybody!!!!!!!!
 

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Joshua S. said:
I am a huge fan of Batman and also love the Universal Monsters, Star Trek, and all things Sci-Fi.
Ah, so am I, but have no skill for the Star Trek kits. Monsters, though, and Superhero kits - that's my kinda stuff! Paint jobs, that's what I do. Hiding seams, now, that's a chore that has taken forever to develop any kind of skill at...it's soooo tedious! But some people find that easy and painting hard. Ya never know 'til ya try.

Did you manage to snag any of the PL monster kits while they were being sold?

Start with simple kits you don't mind screwing up on. Find some on sale, maybe, or garage sale throwaways. Just something to practice on.

After all the advice already given, about all I can say is to take your time and experiment. The stuff I was doing after an absence from the hobby of some thirteen years was better than I'd done before...what I'm doing now is better than eight years ago. It takes time. Don't worry if the look you're after eludes you, as it did me, as you'll find yourself evolving an individual style that sets your builds apart. That's a good thing - this BB has among other things been a testament to individual artistic expression, to see how many ways the same kit can diverge from the crowd. Don't be shy about copying someone else, but don't be surprised if it still comes out different. That's what started me off eight years ago, trying to make the paint job on a Frankenstein look like someone else's. Didn't even come close, but I kinda liked how it turned out anyway.

Play around with the various glues and cements, get a feel for what you like best. Ditto putties. Cements, I tend to use MEK cements like Ambroid Proweld, liquid cements like Testors (comes in a jar with a brush in the lid - MEKs do too but are a little different), or good old tube glue. CAs, tube glue, MEKs...all good, all have drawbacks. I use 'em all, depending on what needs gluing. Putties, some can shrink and/or attack plastic. My least favorite by far is Squadron green putty, but some swear by it. Try them out.

Did anyone mention primer? I use both enamel and acrylic paints, and both benefit from Primer. In fact, with acrylics it's a ncessity. Krylon makes a good primer you can find anywhere. Take your time, allow it to cure thoroughly before painting.

Like the others said, build (and paint) for yourself. Don't worry about the frills like airbrushes and Dremels. If you feel like experimenting, do. We learn by doing more than anything. But have fun, and feel free to stick to the basics until you're happy with them.

And don't be intimidated by those kits, thinking you can't do them! That's what made me give up building back in the early Eighties! if you're here asking questions, then you've got the bug again and are ready to fly. Trust your gut.

I have about made up my mind to start on my JL 50's Batmobile first since the body is already finished and all I will have to work on is the interior mainly. Has anyone built this one before?
Somebody did do one of those, I think. ;) Run a search, '50s Batmobile interior. Not really advice, though, just a description of one alternative. The only things that are difficult on that kit are screwing on the tailfin and deciding on a color scheme you like for the interior.

Welcome to the BB! Have fun, that's the most important thing.
 

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Dreamer's 1950's Batmobile has the nicest interior I have seen to date. The absolute best! However.... if you're looking for alternative ideas on how to tackle the project, consider this nice build-up by Jim Bertges:

http://museum.theclubhouse1.net/submissions/bertgesbatmobile50.htm

And while you're at it, take a look at the other great built-up kits in the model museum:
http://museum.theclubhouse1.net/category.htm

- GJS

P.S. I'm currently working on my own 50's Batmobile - on and off.... I have two of them. I'm painting them both differently. One of them will try to duplicate Dreamer's color scheme. The other, the one I'm working on now, will have mahogany colored woodwork, carpeting in the driver's area, and a re-painted exterior.
 

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Brent brings up some good points. While there is nothing wrong with getting advice and knowledge from books and fellow modelers the only way to really learn is start building.
Get a few cheapo models and start putting them together. Try to learn as your going along. Don't worry if your first efforts aren't that great. You're taking your first steps. If you keep at it you'll be up and running before you know it.
Get the basics of building and painting kits down first. Once you know those steps then you can move on to more ambitious stuff. Like more complex models, kitbashing, scratch-building, custom paint jobs etc, etc, etc.
Most importantly have fun. This is what this hobby is about. If you're not enjoying building models it may not be the right hobby for you. The only way to know for sure is to start building.

And if you mess up... hey, we all do that. Even those of us who have been building for years. Me personally, I do it on a regular basis.
 

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Thanks, GJ! Carpeting and mahogany, can't wait to see it! That repainting the exterior...it's lucky for me I like black for Batmobiles, cuz I don't have the nerve to disassemble that baby.


Ooooooh! That's NICE! Beautiful job on the wood paneling, the leather is a great look... I like that alot!

Joshua, there are a few other people working on, on getting ready to work on, that same kit. Hopefully we'll have more pics soon, and even more ideas and alternatives for you to consider. Don't hesitate to do things your own way if you have a strong idea that you like.
 

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dreamer said:
That repainting the exterior...it's lucky for me I like black for Batmobiles, cuz I don't have the nerve to disassemble that baby.
I know what you mean, Jeff! But then, that's why I got 2 of 'em. The one Batmobile I'm leaving Black but, this one I have painted metal flake Purple. I had to remove the chrome parts - which really isn't all that difficult - and the Bat-Head front. The chrome that I couldn't remove was the siren/beacon and the rear bumper. I masked those parts and I masked the canopy and window areas ( both exterior and interior in case of 'dusting' ) with ordinary masking tape. The result is just what I wanted! In normal room lighting the color of the car body is dark enough that it looks like an ordinary Black car. But get it out in direct sunlight and it is a dazzling, sparkling Purple!

- GJS
 

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welcome aboard Josh . as you can see there's wealth of modelling experience available just tap into it . also , like the guys are saying , don't be afraid , just take yer time and have fun . my best tip : use glue sparingly .
model on
hb
 

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Good thread (for me!) I'm in your boat Josh-I can barely look at the Batmobile (movie) model I attempted 10? years ago. The parts are still stick to the box in paint pools and I don't want any new models to end up that way. I think the best things I've learned from reading is - less paint! thin even coats to get the desired effect, drybrushing/sponging. With my new kits (starter TOS) I'm going to a)deflash b)THIN primer, sand, and finally open the glue and use a toothpick...then attempt seam filling. Anybody need any batmobile parts?
 

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Welcome aboard, Joshua!

Another modeling magazine you might find interesting is Modeler's Resource. Not only does it feature Our Kind Of Models (which FineScale Modeler rarely does), it is published by a member of this very board. And I think it will come as a pleasant surprise that the member in question goes under the username of "BatFanMan"!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hello Everyone :wave: Yes I'm still here. Job, wife, kids, etc. just keeping me busy. I do want to thank everyone for their help and advice. I did finally decided to start with a Speed Racer kit and practice a little before I started with one of my other more "prized" kits. I will keep everyone posted on how everything is moving along. So if anyone has any advice on this kit do let me know.

I would like to extend a very special "Thanks" to Mark. I do get Modeler's Resource and have admired your work for quite some time. It was your articles on the old Universal Monster that reignited my flame for the hobby.

Once Again..... My most heartfelt thanks to everyone for welcoming me back to the modeling hobby and will check in with everyone soon!
 
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