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Assembly 101 – Start Putting Together Miniatures!

So, you have your first miniature/model kit and are not sure what you need to do to get started. This post will cover all of the supplies you need when building your first model kit!

What you need:

First, you need to clip the pieces off of the sprue. This is best done with a clipper that has one flat edge. Place the flat edge as close to the model as you can without clipping any of the details off.  You can use a clipper from a needle nose pliers, but will be left with nubs you’ll need to clean up later. *Do not remove the pieces from the sprue with a blade!!*







Next, you need to clean your model kit of mould lines. These pesky, raised lines on your model are formed in the casting process where the two halves of a mould meet. There are a few tools that can help with this process!  The first is a hobby knife/xacto blade. You can run the back of the knife along the mold line to scrape off any lines. This must be done very carefully to reduce the chance of slipping and cutting yourself (this happens more than we like to admit).








A safer tool is a specific mold line scraper. It can be used in the same manner as the back of the blade, without fear of injury. 

After you have your pieces ready, it’s time to put them together!  The most versatile glue you can get is some super glue.  Super glue is great because it works on all sorts of materials (except styrofoam). The downside to super glue is that it can take a long time to set, especially when gluing together metal models. To speed this up, you can use a setting agent. The one I like to use is called Zip-Kicker and will instantly set super glue. *WARNING: This causes a chemical reaction and any wet superglue on your skin will get very hot if sprayed with Zip-Kicker!  It also smells like urinal cakes.*
















If your models are plastic, you can also use plastic cement.  Plastic cement only works for joining two pieces of plastic together. It basically melts the plastic so the two pieces fuse together to form a very strong bond. This is excellent for plastic models, but care must be taken to only place glue at the joint, otherwise the glue may melt away details.  The Tamiya Thin Plastic Cement is wonderful for this because you can control the application with a tiny brush, as opposed to squeezing it all over the model and having it run everywhere. NOTE! Plastic cement does not work with PVC plastic models from Privateer Press or Mantic!
















Now that your model is assembled, it’s a good idea to give it a little bath in some warm soapy water. This will remove any Zip-Kicker residue and any oils from your hands that may have gotten on the model. Dish soap and an old toothbrush work well for this.









The last step before we get some paint on this model is to attach it to a holder of some sort. This is completely optional, but it will be easier to handle your model if you have something to hold onto besides the base. For holders, you can use old wine corks, or some nice tapered corks, and some blue tac.









Now that you’ve built your first model you must be eager to paint it! Check out Priming 101 – How to Prime Miniatures!


One comment

    Jennifer Fouts

    February 24, 2017

    Interesting material you have here…I had a period of time when I was interested in scaled-down models…Seems like a lot of work goes into them! I made a model house and some other things.

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