Wooden Scale Model FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions FAQS



Q: Are these models already assembled? Or do I need to build them?

A: These are kits and have to be assembled. They sometimes need to be painted or stained, depending on what you're building. These kits are for adult hobbyists who like to create and buiild things with their hands. But don't be discouraged. Some of the kits are quite simple, with just a few parts (the Quick & Easy categories), then there are the complicated ones with hundreds of pieces. The important thing is to HAVE FUN and enjoy your project. If you enjoy building and painting the simple kits, go for those. Not everyone wants to spend months building a model, though that's very popular too.

Q: Are these kits primarily designed with men in mind?

A: Ha! Far from it. The first modeler I met as a kid who built early sailing vessels was a young woman in her 20's. (she was a co-worker of my mothers). We visited her house and she had some incredible ships. She said it was a hobby to help her unwind after a long day at work. Also, when you think about wood Crafts, women pretty much have that covered. And think about all the wood doll houses they've worked on. Trust me, it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, you can build wooden models. Go for it Ladies!

Q: Is there a difference between a wood model and a wood "puzzle"?

A: Personally, I think companies use the word "puzzle" instead of "model" because it sounds less intimidating, and probably sells them more products. A puzzle to me sounds like something you have to "figure out". For instance, when you get a traditional picture puzzle to put together on a table, they don't give you instructions on how to assemble it. You figure that out on your own, piece by piece.

I like to think a model at least has instructions to help you know where the pieces go, and how they assemble. In the long run, it might say puzzle, or 3D puzzle on the box, but we sort of still think of it as a model. Wood 3D puzzles are usually unfinished wood, so you still might have to paint them, and use small nails, glue, or screws to assemble them.

Remember that building a model is a thought process. It's using your mind to solve an issue, just like a puzzle in some ways. Nothing really falls together on any kit. But the challenge is part of the thrill, and it can really make your day when finish a model, and know you conqured it!

Q: What's the difference between a "Toy" and a "Model"?

A: This is an old argument, but essential. Typically, a toy is something you play with. A model is something that's static, meant to just look at (once built). There's some overlap, sometimes a model can be played with, but that's rare. And it's important to know the difference when choosing a model. If a model is a gift, you want to be sure the recipient is expecting a model to be played with, or a static model to look at.

Also, a (scale) model is expected to be very accurate. It's ok on a toy to make it close to something in real life, but model companies (and builders) go to great lengths to make a (scale) model look exactly like the real thing. Just like in a museum you may have visited.

Q: Are these models hard to build?

A: I've been building models since I was maybe 9 or 10. Way back around 1970. So I've got quite a few years at it. I've built models from many different materials, and many different types. So for me, the average model is no problem. But EVERY model will challenge a builder in one way or another, even me. Especially if something goes wrong during the process (Murphy's Law).

So, if you are new to model building, start out small and cheap. See if you enjoy it. Then move on to harder (but usually better) model kits. Buying a kit that is way above your experience and skill can be frustrating, so why put yourself through that? Do a kit because it interests you and you want to enjoy it. It's a hobby, have fun!

Q: What are the benefits of building models?

A: For some people, it's relaxation. People think it takes a lot of patience, but that's not entirely true. You're building for yourself, so there's no deadline, no stress. Take as long as you want to. Even if you glue on one piece a day, that's fine.

For some people it's the challenge. They like problem solving. Looking at a box of sticks, they know there's a ship in there somewhere. They just have to build it and figure it out.

Many people are just naturally creative. Models incorporate a variety of talents. Gluing, cutting, painting, sewing. Good skills to have at any age. Some people make furniture, some bake great pies, some folks make clocks out of hubcaps. Modelling is just another outlet for creating something.

Studies have shown that building models helps stimulate the problem solving areas of the brain.

Some women think it's great their husbands model because they always know where he's at. He's working on models in the basement or in the garage. (Hmm, wait a minute ...)

Q: The last time I built a model it didn't go well. Will that happen again?

A: Everyone's skill level is different. If you don't know your ability, start out small and cheap. Get a quick & easy wood model. If you are handy with tools and hobbies, go for something that's a medium challenge. Remember, it has to be enjoyable, it has to be fun. Otherwise, why engage in a hobby you don't like?

There's no need to be in a hurry, so from time to time if you get frustrated, walk away. Even I do this, and usually an idea will come to me on how to move forward with the model, or solve a problem. Walking away gives you a clear mind to think about it. Ask your spouse or a fellow modeler. You would be surprised how other people look at problems. If you try and force yourself to build a model within a certain time frame, that will often suck the joy right out of the project every time. Even the best and most experienced modelers get frustrated building sometimes. So don't get discouraged.


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