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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Basic Tips For Model Building

Basic Tips For Model Building
From Valerie at Chinook & Hobby West

  1.      Wash all plastic parts in warm water and liquid dish soap.  Use a grease cutting soap such as Sunlight. Do not use soap that claims to be ‘nice to your hands’ because these soaps are designed to replace skin oils in your hands.  They will put oils on the plastic.  You are trying to get rid of the oils and mold release (anti-sticking agents) from the plastic.
     After letting the plastic soak for 10-15 minutes, agitate the water to get the soap into any cracks or grooves and then rinse with clean water.  Let the plastic air-dry.
     Your model is now clean and ready for painting.  You should get in the habit of washing your hands in the same soap anytime you work on your model, both building and painting.  Grease cutting soaps will help to reduce skin oils on your hands better than bar soaps and therefore reduce the chance of getting fingerprints on you model.
  1.     Remove parts from their frames only as you need them.  Once all the parts have been removed from a section of frame (sprue), save the frame, it has many uses and costs nothing.
     A section of frame can be used to mix your paints.  It can also be used to test the dryness of the paints on your model.  If you are doing a paint scheme where one color will overlap another color, paint some of the first color on a section of frame at the same time that you paint your model.  When you think that the paint is dry, paint some of the second color on the frame over the first color and wait for about 15 minutes.  If there is no reaction, then it’s safe to paint the second color on your mode.  Repeat this step if further colors are to be used on top of the other tow, such as I a multi-colored camouflage scheme.  This process can also be used to test the dryness of your finished paint scheme before applying clear coats.  If you intend to use clear coats on your models, always install your clear parts AFTER you use the clear coat.  Clear finishes will cause clear parts to fog. Also test the clear coat on your painted frame as some brands of clear coat can cause yellowing to light and white colors.  Install clear parts by using clear drying white glue, as regular model glues will fog the clear parts too.

Building Your Model

  1.    After removing the parts from the frame, remove any excess plastic from the parts using your hobby knife, sandpaper, sprue cutter or a file.  When using files be very careful as the plastic is soft and you can take off too much.
Dry fit the parts before gluing to make sure the parts fit firmly.  (Known as dry    fitting). Further sanding may be required.  Apply glue sparingly. The more glue you use, the worse it sticks.  This applies mainly to tube glue.  The thicker you apply any glue the longer it takes to dry.  When using tube glue, us glue tips.

To Prime or Not To Prime?

  1. You will get different opinions on this but we suggest the following;
    • Pre-paint parts that will be difficult to paint after assembly, such as aircraft cockpits.
    • Assemble parts first that will end up the same color.
    • Assemble parts first when putty will be used to fill seam lines such as aircraft body parts and the paint.
When pre-painting parts, be sure not to get paint on the area where the glue is to be applied.  The glue will not stick through the paint.
The most important thing to remember about building models is:
·        Take your time!!
·        Give paints time to dry!!
·        Give glue time to dry!!

If you have any questions please call us, we can help you.  403-243-1997 or email

Basic Tools To Have On Hand When Model Building

  • Model glue (superglue works well too)
  • White glue or canopy glue (for clear parts)
  • Hobby Knife
  • Sprue Cutter (optional)
  • Water (if working with acrylic paint)
  • Thinner (if working with enamel or laquer paint)
  • Acrylic (water based) or Enamel (oil or laquer based) paint
  • Paint brush(s)
  • magnifying lense (helps to see numbers on sprues and small print on instructions)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Getting Into A Hobby

Are you looking for a new hobby or to rekindle one you had as a kid? We would love to help you with that!  When starting a new hobby think about how much patience you have? What is your budget? How much room do you have to work? What interests you?

When we talk to a customer that is starting a hobby, we like to ask what interests them. Are they into cars, military, rockets, trains, etc? A snap together kit is great for a young person that has never built a model before. A train starter kit includes all the basics for a new Model Railroader, young or just young at heart. A Scene-o-rama kit is great for school projects or making a first diorama. Rocketry is great for kids and adults to do together and it secretly teaches science, engineering and math.

If you are someone with focus, we may suggest something different then someone who likes to see immediate results. Such as a Diecast model kit which is great for one that is seeking something fast and easy, although someone who wants more can strip off the paint and repaint and decal it and customize the engine, under carriage and wheels.
There truly are so many choices both for indoor and outdoor hobbies with ideas for individual or family enjoyment.  Here at Chinook & Hobby West we have a passion for hobbies and helping match a hobby to the current and future hobbyist.  Have fun!

We would love to know what your favourite hobby is and how you started into it. Please email us or comment on this blog!
South Location:
5011 MacLeod Tr. SW
Calgary, AB     T2G 0A9

North Location:
2604 - 4th St. NW
Calgary, AB     T2M 3A1