Friday, August 18, 2017

The Ten Commandments of Scale Model Building

I've been thinking a lot about my most recent build, and how now that it is finished there are one or two things that are still bothering me that I didn't correct during the build - for example, I told myself the fit of the fuselage halves was too cruddy to keep filling the seams. Now that it's completed, I can't see past those seam lines to appreciate the overall finished product. Dammit. This little piece of short-sightedness got me thinking about modelling advice, and the most important things to remember when building.

I've also been thinking about how at some stages I just wanted that Mustang finished, and off my workbench. That's a powerful motivator, but it doesn't usually lead to the best results and a sense of satisfaction in the end.

And how working with an outdated kit always involves accepting compromises.

As a result of all this philosophising and deep thought, I humbly present to you here my:

Ten Commandments for Scale Modelling

Read 'em and learn from my mistakes.

The Ten Commandments of Scale Modelling

In case you can't read it on that above image, the Ten Commandments of Scale Modelling are as follows:

I. Enjoy model building. Remember, you chose to do this for fun.

II. Build for your own satisfaction, not others'.

III. Be open to constructive criticism, it's the best route to self-improvement.

IV. Thou shalt try scratchbuilding.

V. Thou shalt save money. That fancy new technique / applicator / gizmo? Nine times out of ten you can do it yourself using basic tools and materials you already own.

VI. Conversely, ten times out of ten if you buy a cheap kit there will be problems. Either spend more or embrace it and accept the compromises.

VII. Honour thy Tamiya, for their kits are idiotproof.

VIII. Thou shalt clean thy airbrush thoroughly.

IX. You will cut yourself with a scalpel many, many times. Accept that blood is part of the process.

X. If a flaw bothers you, then fix it. Don't leave it, because it will continue to bother you six months after you "finish" thy model.


I'm like Mr Miyagi, Yoda and Nietzsche all rolled into one bite-size package. If you follow these guidelines, your modelling will improve, I 100% guarantee it. Honest.

However, this is also to provoke discussion and get other modellers thinking. Comment below if you think I've missed anything more important, or if you don't agree with any of the ten. But you better be ready with some pretty damn convincing arguments if you're going to badmouth the engineering of Tamiya kits...




  1. Fully agree Dave. I seem to do a "blood sacrifice" with a craft knife every build!

    1. I feel the modelling gods need that blood sacrifice to be appeased ;)

  2. I've won the lottery twice this week. $2 dollars each time but I still won and it felt good. I build models because it makes me feel good, and by feeling good even though the knife is sticking straight up in my thigh I still win! I kneel to your wise words

    1. Bob, you're a lucky man! Living the dream, my friend! You may want to see a medical professional though about that thigh wound... ;)

  3. Don agree on blood, unless u wan to craft a sword. I try to wound a tread to simulate a steel wire for a ww2 truck.