Everything you need to know about the materials used to design a wooden model

In model design, wood and its derivatives as well as paper and cardboard are the most commonly used raw materials. If wood is so appreciated in the field, it is above all for its robustness and manoeuvrability.

Solid wood in the manufacture of a wooden model

This material has its own texture and colour. The levels of the model will depend entirely on the structure of the wood (knots, stripes or growth rings).

When designing a wooden model, the material is painted and arranged so as to have an open bottom. This arrangement makes it possible to have beautiful facades and to highlight the plastic details.

Realization of a wooden model: treatment and use of wood

In wood processing, it is important to consider the strength of the material and the significance of the fibres. For the treatment of cork, for example, a cutter can be used to create a porous effect. Thicker species such as maple, pear or alder require a cut.

In the design of a wooden model, it is also possible to use resin wood such as pine, lime or poplar. Moreover, the colours can perfectly cover the natural aspects of the wood.

Where to buy solid wood?

To buy solid wood, you generally have to go to the DIY stores. The additional parts in the realization of the model are sold in the carpentry workshops. In order to obtain a better final result, it is recommended to obtain parts that have already been cut.

Model making shows

There are a lot of fairs that have existed for more or less a long time and that bring together passionate and simple curious people. As a great enthusiast, I usually participate in a few shows a year, especially in France, England and Germany where there is a strong community. When I go to a salon, I stay there for at least two days and book a room on FindHotel. I take a room in a rather simple and low budget hotel. Since I’m mainly here to enjoy the living room!

Starting in model making: the first model

The difficulty depends on the number of pieces

The Honda 750 Four Tamiya has been watching you for a while and you already see it proudly on your shelf? This very detailed model is indeed beautiful. But also quite complex to realize.

When you start in model making, it is better to practice small, simpler models, which will allow you to familiarize yourself with the basic techniques and especially not to get discouraged by the magnitude of the task. Because the more parts there are, the more complex and time-consuming the production is.

Also, for a beginner, choosing models with less than 100 parts is a wise approach.

If you are interested in military models, choose a 1/72 scale model rather than a 1/35 scale model. If you choose a car, a 1/43rd model will be easier than a 1/24th model, the latter generally comprising many detailed parts reproducing the engine, the interior, the elements of the dashboard…

How old to start?

The recommended minimum age indicated on the model boxes is often 14 years old. This is due in particular to the possible presence of very small parts, the use of paints and glues containing solvents and sharp tools that may present a certain danger.

However, it is possible for a 10-year-old child to start model making. There are models adapted to the youngest. Just choose a model of an easy level. The Italeri brand offers, for example, military models with quick assembly, stamped “Fast Assembly Kit” on their boxes. They generally contain 15 to 20 parts and many parts of the model are pre-assembled.

There are also models that do not require gluing, and whose painting is optional, the plastic parts being dyed in the mass in several colors. This is the case, for example, with the Porsche Junior tractor from Revell. It’s a perfect kit for a beginner.

The importance of degreasing

One of the steps often overlooked by a beginner is the degreasing of plastic parts. Indeed, the metal molds used for plastic injection of our models are coated with a silicone film allowing an easy ejection of the molded plastic parts.

Silicone residues can thus be found on plastic parts. The paint then tends to slip on the silicone and does not stick to the surface of the part.

To ensure a good adhesion of the paint, it is advisable to degrease the parts, this simple operation can be carried out with a few drops of dishwashing liquid mixed in a container with warm water. An old toothbrush is perfectly suited for the degreasing operation.

Simply rub the parts (without detaching them from the bunch), then rinse them with clean water. Once the plastic bunches are dry, they are put back in the box: they will be ready when we want to start the model.