Hi everyone - this is my first post here, but it's going to be a big one.
I recently decided I wanted to get into model cars. I've only ever built Gundam and figure models before. I've never really gone as far as to paint something and build it the way a model car is done, though. For those not familiar with them, Gundam models (commonly referred to as Gunpla) are snap-fit kits with pieces molded in the intended color. Yes, you can get deeper into the modeling by doing custom color schemes, painting, lining, weathering, etc...But I never really got into that (yet).
As for model cars, I decided I wanted to do all that I could on my first kit. I didn't really do any scrounging on the internet for tips or tricks - I figured my first car kit should be a learning process on my own. As a result, I've come up with a lot of questions that I would love to get some thoughts and help on.
First up, the pictures of my first kit! I may make a topic in the "Under the Glass" section, but I figured I'd start here and decide if it's worth my time to share it there or not. I don't know why the pictures are screwing up size wise...I didnt' want to totally overload the thread with pics...But...
General beauty shot
Under the hood
So being my first model ever, I knew going into it that things wouldn't be perfect. I had to just bite that bullet and move on. I am a perfectionist most of the time...But in this case, I let it slide.
In the first picture, you can see the decal on the fin and how it's a bit crinkled. That decal was miserable to install. Like, I fought it for 10 minutes. This is one of my questions below (installation of larger decals).
Now the front shot shows another one of the glaring issues with my detailing...The decal stripe is not straight - at all. It bugs me, but it is what it is. Also, the color was not the same as the body. Woops. Again, there wasn't much I could do about it. I've learned to color test OR! Mask and paint the stripe on myself. That would have a) made it the right color and made it easier to make straight. Live and learn!
The hood shot is pretty standard. I had to cut off the driver's side "hanger" that keeps the hood in place. I simply couldn't get that to work right. It would keep getting off track, so after a day of fiddling, I finally brought myself to grab the cutters and snip the part. There is a lot of detailing I could have done with the engine, but I wasn't really sure where to start. I'm not really a car guy, but I'll be able to study some images for inspiration.
The rear shot just shows that I probably could have benefited from doing a sanding and another coat to really smooth out my paint job. Also, I had a hard time with the painting under the clear parts. I'll probably just mask and spray vs hand painting them next time. I used to hand paint miniatures for table-top gaming reasonably well, but I can't seem to get it right on models.
The driver's side shot is a loaded picture. I have a lot of questions that were specific to this model but that can be used on future models.
And the undercarriage shows that I probably need to learn about assembly/gluing...Another question I have. I could have touched it up, but I was just ready to be done and get some input and learn.
1. First and foremost, the assembly/painting/gluing process. There is probably a LOT of schools of thought on this, but I found myself questioning every moment of my build. I would paint an assembly after gluing, paint a part before gluing, try a mix, etc...Nothing seemed to feel "right". Does anyone have tips or a good article/tutorial that really helps give a good feel or clear up issues regarding this?
2. I battled hand painting with Testors, Tamiya, and Vallejo. I hated the Testors paints, so thankfully, my two bottles I bought to try only set me back a few bucks. I own the entire X-line of Tamiya (working on getting my hands on all of the XF colors). They spray amazingly well through my AB, and I've got the thinning down to a science. Hand painting this things is miserable, though. Vallejo was my paint of choice for figure modeling, but I just couldn't get the coat I wanted for the lights that you can see. I always thin to ~skim milk, but the coverage just never built right. Anyone have examples or suggestions/tips?
3. I used tacky glue for the clear parts and it seemed to work OK. I brushed the part with some Future to try and remove some of the fogging that came out of that (not fogging like super glue would cause, more just a light dusting?). Are there good resources for installing clear parts? I know Testors makes a clear part glue...Yay/nay? Any other thoughts on my installation? The front lights are actually pretty gross after I did a Future coat and the later gloss coat. Not sure why they jumped out like they did, but I wasn't pleased.
4. Decals. Oh my lord, decals. The big decal on the fin made me want to punch the wall. I couldn't get it straight, the crinkle is an eye sore, and the thing wouldn't grab the plastic (not to mention, it was slightly too large for the part). What tips do you guys have when dealing with "larger than life" decals?
5. The big one. The driver side door section shows a gross gap. That's because this model had a two part frame - the first part went over the engine block, seats, etc (I don't know the car terms for any of this stuff as I'm not a car guy yet, haha). After that was in place, the side walls were placed over that. So you couldn't instal the two parts at the same time...The first had to go over the seats and stuff, and then the second part had to be placed. But as a result of that, you had to already have the windows installed. How on EARTH do you go about removing the seam lines AND painting this without ruining the rest of the model? I was pretty upset at the way this came out. I KNOW there's a way to manage this, but I have no idea how to do it.
Better way of phrasing this - when a car body isn't just a single piece that goes over the rest of the model (and in this case, needs to be installed over the REST of the model), how do you go about painting and detailing? You can see in the rear view picture that the bumper/tailgate/whatever is recessed, so that also posed a challenge for masking and painting. Throw THAT into the mix with multi-part frames, and I'm even more lost.
Assembly tips (when to paint/glue/assemble) and multi-part frames REALLY have my head spinning.
I know I have more questions, I do...But I'm tired. I apologize for structuring this like an essay, but I imagine it will make it easier for folks to view and reply in a constructive fashion!
Given that this was my very first model ever, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Given that it took me about 3 weeks of working on and off to get it done (with work and spending time with the wife), I feel like I did the best I could without dedicating myself solely to this project. As I move forward, I think I'll be able to get similar/better results in less time. I do want to learn, and I do enjoy reading various articles/blogs/magazines. But getting tips from fellow modelers on a direct criticism basis really helps me in a hobby setting.
Any tips or comments are of course welcome outside the scope of my above questions! Thanks for muscling through this post and I really look forward to sharing my progress with everyone here!