Adventures in Kit Bashing

Orangeville, ON (James Doan) Kit bashing has once again become a popular pastime. With each new model kit released, there’s another opportunity to find fault with the product and the people who produced it. This is a change from when there were few new kits to bash and the old “nothing but reissues” argument was the standard.

Of course, now it’s easy to say that selected re-releases would be preferable to some of the new toolings. Constructive criticism is healthy, and it leads to better products, but cynical demands for absolute accuracy evolve from wishful thinking. Even under the best conditions, the average model car kit represents a challenging compromise of financial, marketing, and design considerations.

Every model manufacturer is looking towards the experienced hobbyist for a stable foundation – that’s one reason why we are seeing so many new kits of ’60s muscle cars.

To prepare for a successful kit bashing experience, first decide what type of models you are interested in and check your local newsstand for magazines featuring full size, real life items. Such magazines will give you good detail photographs and information every month. Save the magazines to build a library of reference material for future use. Magazines such as Scale Auto and FineScale Modeler will help you learn more about modelling techniques.

No matter what type of model you build, the same basic tools are used. These would include:

-a good hobby knife,
-flat, round, half round and knife edge files,
-a selection of sandpaper in grits from 320 to 600,
-a couple of small and one or two medium sized paint brushes,
-glue (both liquid and tube type),
-modelling putty,
-a stiff toothbrush to clean files,
-a selection of hobby paints in bottles. Buy cans of primer and spray paint as you need them.

These tools are very basic and you can add to them quickly as you gain experience and improve your modelling skills.

Another modeller and I were having a conversation recently and we got around to the subject of aftermarket parts and how they had revolutionized modelling. We both agreed that the range had expanded beyond belief in the last few years, and that it had raised the standards of the models which we are now building.

My friend confided that he was now reaching the stage where he felt obliged to include all the latest resin and photo-etched stuff on every model he constructed. This poses the question of how far do you go when striving for complete accuracy. Some modellers will not be satisfied unless their model has everything as accurate and as complete as possible. Others will be guided by the adage – ‘if you can’t see it, why bother putting it in?’

At the end of the day it comes down to personal choice. Build what you want, for your own pleasure – or for the admiring comments and looks of fellow modellers, plus your own pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with either attitude.

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