What Are Car Models And How To Build The Car Models

Off-road Jeep placed on the road map

No matter what your age is, if you’re young or old, it might be your hobby to collect car models or look for car shows and models on the TV, internet, magazines, or at a toy shop. This hobby makes you a car fanatic, and maybe you have always wanted to build your own model car. It is also known as a Dinky car.

Building them can be very interesting and creative learning for beginners because it provides brainstorming techniques, creativity, and develops multiple skills. You can build a car model by looking for the car scale model kits at a hobby shop, or you can buy it on the internet as many websites sell them. We have seen many people making it out of scratch, sometimes out of wooden pieces, cardboards, and whatnot.

The car model kits can be very expensive and well equipped with die-cast alloy body and rubber tires. This technologically advanced model looks similar to the real cars. Well, whenever you shop for the kit, always decide the scale and skill level of the model car kits first.

So let’s move on to the main part of this article, which provides a beginner’s guide about how to build the car models with step by step guidelines, and necessary information. Get set go!

What are scale model cars?

A car scale model is a smaller version of a real car model. Scale defines the size of a model, and it tells how much a model can be reduced; compared to its original size. The car model scale varies from 1:10 to 1:2500 foot long, and the ratio compares the units of the scale models to the units of the real car model. The most used car scale model is 1:43 and is approximately 3 to 5 inches long. Scale model car kits come in many types of materials, including plastic, wood, glass, and metal.

To build a car model, it is necessary to opt for the model kit according to your age group because depending on the material, you might have to work with glues, screws, nails, knives, sprue cutters, and paints. Nowadays, most of the model kits come in five skill levels, and it has become easier to choose the right product.

What are the five skill levels, and what should you buy?

Five skill levels are labeled on your kit box, and it represents the difficulty level of the scale model you are trying to create.

Level 1 kit: It’s already painted, and only requires snapping of the pieces into place. This level is for beginners or under the age of 10.

Level 2 kit: It requires paint and glue to join the pieces. This is an easier level and comes with the labeled number of pieces.

Level 3 kit: It is an intermediate level and might contain 100 pieces.

Level 4 kit: This kit includes over 100 pieces and color schemes. It will require you to buy the components, sharp hobby knife, files, and others that are not included in the kit.

Level 5 kit: It is an advanced level and contains movable parts that look similar to the real car.

Before buying the kit, read out the instructions carefully and the skill level you are comfortable at. If you believe it’s easier to assemble the snap-together kits, then you can finally move on to the glue and paint kits that are level 2-3.

How to start building a car model?

Now that you have bought your car model kit, it’s time to set up a workbench in a comfortable place where you can keep your model kit parts and tools safe. Make sure to opt for a place that can handle the spills of paint. To build a car model, it requires a lot of time and hard work from gluing the parts to drying and painting it. Before you get started following are the key points to remember first:

  • Read the instructions and safety advice carefully before drawing the pieces from the kit.
  • Get yourself familiarized with the kit model parts by clearly looking at the photo guide provided.
  • Make sure all of the components are present as per the contents list.

Model car parts on the workplace table

Building a car model requires step by step instructions when you are new to this hobby:

  1. The first step to build a car model is that you should keep the necessary tools like a sprue cutter, sharp hobby knife, and files near you. Arrange a few small boxes where you can keep your kit parts safe while working.
  2. Before cutting the pieces, there is one more preparatory step, mostly ignored by the modelers, is washing all the plastic, metal, and rubber parts. Make sure to wash the elements with a mild detergent as instructed in the guide, and let the kit parts air dry completely.
  1. Now comes the cutting part; while cutting the pieces, try not to twist the components using your fingers because this way it might damage the part. Use a sharp knife or a sprue cutter so you can clearly see what you are cutting and make sure to keep every piece in the box to avoid the chance of misplacing.
  1. Check for the defects after cutting the parts, file the parts using a nail file or a metal file. Finish the body parts with sandpaper.  This process produces dust and waste of the material, so make sure to cover your face with a mask before filing and finishing.
    • Clean the area of your workbench immediately before any waste material sticks to your paint finish.
  1. Mostly car models kits are made up of soft plastic, rough filing, and sanding can damage the parts. Make sure to handle this procedure with care.
  2. Assemble and join the parts with the glue where necessary. Different types of glue can be used according to the material of the kit. Superglue is usually used for this job to speed up drying time.
    • Do not use excess glue; it might shrink the plastic parts.
    • The excellent way to stop making the plastic shrink is to create a mixture of some chopped old sprue and liquid glue combined, and when applied to the plastic it will dissolve the plastic kit a little so this way it will not sit on top of the plastic, like all other glues.
    • After gluing the parts, let it sit for some time to become fully dry. Check for the parts that need further gluing.
  1. If you’re done checking all the parts. It’s time to sand off the finger marks and glue dirt from your car model and move on to the fun part of this whole process.
  2. Your model car is built. It’s time to paint it. You can choose your favorite paint of your choice, but it’s better to use the paint instructed in the kit. Before painting the car, make sure to wear gloves and put a paper sheet underneath the car model, so the paint doesn’t spill on the floor.
    • Open your paint bottle, mix the paint first before applying.
    • Paint the model car and let it dry in a dust-free area for a whole day.

       9. Finally, your car model is ready, and all it needs to occupy a safe place in your favorite display cases.


What other helpful tools should you keep in your toolbox?

Since it’s your first time building a car model, overbuying is not a good idea because you might have some of these items available around you. We have made a list of tools and supplies mostly required on this job:

  • The tools require a sharp hobby knife, sprue cutters, small files, sandpapers, toothpicks, tweezers, scissors, masking tapes, and some rubber bands.
  • A glue that can easily bond the plastic. Two forms of glues are used in this job: paste and liquid. We would recommend you to use glue as instructed in the kit.
  • A set of paints with paintbrushes. You can buy the oil-based and acrylic paints for perfect finishing. Furthermore, a decal set can be used for decorating your car model.

Where to store your scale car model?

Plastic model cars kits need proper handling care. All the efforts you have put to complete this difficult car model now needs the safest place for storage. You can keep your model on shelves, cabinets, side tables, etc., but uncovering them will always be a dust issue and security concern. 

The best way to cover and secure your car model is a display case. It can be purchased online according to the size of your model. These cases come in different varieties like glass and plastic that give a clear view and are perfect for displaying your first built. Furthermore, you can add up some lighting to enhance the inside beauty of your display case.

What is the average cost to build a model car and where to buy it?

Model car kits come in different scales and skill levels. If it’s your first time building a car model with 1:24 scale and skill level 1, then it would cost you around $12 to $15. The prices vary from $20 to $100 or more as you jump on to the different skill levels. You can also buy the cheap quality model kits around $10 from your local toy store.

Some of the many brands provide quality and reliability, such as Revell, Tamiya, Lego, and AMT. If your local hobby store doesn’t have these brands or the store isn’t in your reach, you can order the model kit online. Several trusted websites like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart sometimes sell car model kits at discounted prices. You can click Car model kits to shop from Amazon.

How can you make money out of this hobby?

We have often seen the car models at collectors and scale shops. What takes everyone’s attention is their wide range of collections and new designs. If you’re a beginner and thinking of making money from this hobby, so start displaying your model in the collector’s shop, the collector might give you less money, but with the time you can earn a good profit. The other way is to sell it online by registering yourself. Many online-buyers buy these car models to complete their collection or even make a profit by reselling.

Try to invest and build a car model with different makes to earn good money out of this hobby.