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How to Make a Plastic Model

This is a tutorial showing how to make a plastic model. I build an aircraft carrier but these techniques are applicable to most plastic models and particularly aircraft, boats, tanks and various other vehicles and ships.

I show you the process from start to finish and I give you lots of tips. If you are new to building models you are going to get a lot of good stuff. If you have made them before you may pick up a few things.


Model aircraft carrier
Aircraft Carrier Enterprise



The tools


Let's take a look at the tools and materials I typically use when building a model. Picture above kind of from left to right.

  • Magnifying Glass - Most models have pretty small parts. This is a big help
  • Cotton Swabs - Great for spreading glue, drying water, cleaning things up
  • Paint Brushes, various sizes and hardnesses
  • An emory board or small file - perfect for cleaning up the plastic parts and the burrs that occur (I will explain more about burrs)
  • Plastic cement - I have here three different types, the usual kind in the tube and above it in the pic are plastic cement for clear plastic parts (black cap), and in the container with the green cap is extra thin cement which is great!
  • An x-acto knife - Some kind of very sharp knife is highly recommended
  • Rubber bands, clothespins and small clips/clamps. - Optional but nice for holding pieces together as the glue dries
  • Head band magnifiers - I absolutely love these. You can see things close up and it leaves your hands
  • At the bottom of the pic is a pair of side cutters

I have a more extensive parts, tools, and paint list right here if you want to look over supplies.

Here is the model that I will build in this tutorial

The box for the model


Here is what is inside: The Plastic parts the instructions and some decals

The parts in the box


Here are the plastic parts. For this model they are all on four sprues. Parts are made with an injection molded process. That's why they look like this. And the sprues are channels that the liquid plastic flows through in order to create the parts.


The sprues


The instructions

The instructions are comprehensive and they tell you how to make the model from start to finish. But there is also lots of other information in the instructions.












An instruction

Let's look at one step of the instructions. It tells us a lot. This is step 4. The circle in the lower right tells us to use cement. The numbrs tells us what parts are glued together. We are gluing part five and part 3 together.

The 2x tells us to do this two times. And the letters in the flag shaped boxes ( G and B) tells us what color to paint each part.



In the beginning of the instructions is a color key. You can reference it to see what corresponds to the letters. In the case of step 4 above the G and B are Brass color and Matte black.


paint color guide



A part

And every part on the sprue is labeled. This little jet here is part 54.









The part is numbered

Sometimes the number is directly on the part like this part number 16.








Examine the sprues

The first thing you should do is examine all the sprues and parts. Check make sure nothing is missing. And get yourself familiar with all the various parts.







Wash the spruesNext, and this is optional, you should very gently wash all the sprues in mild soapy water then rinse gently. This will clean all the parts and allow them to take glue, paint and the decals better. This is optional though.

If you do this you shouldn't try to dry the parts. Just lay them on a cloth or paper towels and allow them to air dry. If you try to hand dry them you may knock smaller parts right off the sprue.

Okay! We got a look at all the basics. Let's get to actually building the model.

Next Continue

Amazon has lots of Plastic Models


Revell U.S.S. Enterprise Revell U.S.S. Enterprise

1/720th scale
Length: 18-7/8" long
102 pieces
Option to build complete hull, or "waterline" version30 aircraft
Detailed superstructure with radarKit Features:Optional full hull with propellors and rudder or waterline hull, Detailed flight deck, island, fan tail, and anti-aircraft missile mounts.Includes A-4 Skyhawk, RA-5C Vigilante, A-6E Intruder, and F-4 Phantom aircraftIncludes simple display standRequires but does not include paint and glue. Ages 10+.


U.S.S. Nimitz (CVN-68) Model Kit Revell Germany U.S.S. Nimitz (CVN-68) Model Kit

Kit features detailed hull with many features, authentic power plant, textured flight deck, deck-edge lifts with optional positions, detailed bridge superstructure, radar equipment, (x16) F/A-18 Super Hornets, (x4) E-2C Hawkeyes, (x8) MH-60S Sea Hawks and flight deck vehicles. Also includes display stand and decals.


German VII C U-Boat U-47 Revell WWII German VII C U-Boat U-47 W/Interior 1/125 Scale

  • Model length 531 mm/ 21". No paints and glue are included, required assembly
  • Detailed interior with separate bulkheads
  • Torpedoes,Instrument panels,Two diesel engines
  • Authentic decal set for following version: - U47, KK Günther Prien, 1939-1941


1/35 US M41 Walker Bulldog - This is the exact model that I bought on amazon for this tutorial.


Revell 1:48 AH64 Apache Helicopter

This 2-seat chopper is armed with a flexible, rapid-fire gun and missiles. From its noseful of aiming devices and detailed cockpits to its tail rotor, the AH-64 means business. Features: Position able chain gun and targeting system, movable parts, waterslide decals.



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