Scale modeling comes in a variety of flavors: architecture
and furniture (known as miniatures); shipbuilding, railroading, other
vehicles, etc. All of the scale modeling areas use similar approaches
and most have kits available to help the new modeler get started.
Of the three main branches of scale modeling, model railroading is
far more kit driven than either miniatures or ship modeling. That
said, there are still a tremendous number of resources online and
available from other companies to help you budding modeler get started.
Like paper modeling, scale modeling tends to be a hobby
that carries is a lifelong pursuit. While you can have some of the
fancier tools (table saws, micro lathes, scroll saws, drill presses,
and the such), beginning modeling can be done with some basic hand
tools and doesn't require a huge initial investment. You will need
the following to get started:
- A good hobby knife (#11)
- A miter saw and miter box
- Sand Paper (minimum 150 grit...the higher the better)
- A scale rule (also known as an Architect's Rule--check out Mish
- A metal straight edge for clean cuts
- White/Clear Glue (although I tend to use carpenter's glue for
structures), toothpicks, and wax paper
- A supply of basswood (available from Mish and from Michaels).
The wood thickness will vary depending on the model you are building.
Basswood is a softer wood and much easier for new modelers to
work with. Do not start with hardwoods...while the hardwoods create
terrific models, they present challenges and lead to frustration
- Finishes are going to vary based on your actual model.
- A magnetic gluing jig is a nice addition, but you can also make
- A couple of clamps (you can use the old "spring" clothes
pins or document clips).
Publications (The Scale Cabinetmaker). Publishers of how-to
books and cd-roms on architecture and miniatures, tools, and scale
Model Net: International List of Scale Model Related Websites.
The emphasis is, primarily, on commercial sites, but many include
excellent informaiton of scale modeling techniques.