Growing up near an airbase, I have always been fascinated with aircraft of all sorts. My father and I would sit on our porch, waiting for the next aircraft to pass over our roof. The rumbling sound of the aircraft’s engine-a thunderous roar-sent our roof quivering from the noise.
I was drawn to aviation long before I learned how to ride a bike. Becoming a pilot was one of my childhood dreams, but as luck would have it, I worked as a banker instead. Despite that, my love for aviation never faltered. I did what aspiring pilots my age would do in lieu of actual flying-I started building and collecting aircraft models.
My collection has grown significantly throughout the years, and I am here to share with you some of the important lessons I learned in expanding a scale model collection.
Identify your purpose.
Like with many other hobbies, you need to find your purpose why you want to build a scale model collection. Do you wish to simply display the models at home? Or do you want to make a profit out of your hobby? You could do both, but I suggest that you identify your primary goal for starting a collection. That way, you don’t spend too much time or money on something that you’re going to drop in just a matter of months.
Do your research.
Before you start buying pieces for your collection, spend some time browsing books or the Internet to find out more about the models you wish to purchase. Although many collectors skip this process, researching about your favorite aircraft could help them determine how accurate their models should be. Knowing the history behind the aircraft will give you a better appreciation of your model.
Know the type of material you want.
Scale model aircraft can be made from wood, plastic, or metal. Some models feature a combination of these materials. If you are assembling the model by yourself, you can purchase one of those plastic kits. Those are excellent starting points if you want to hone your scale modelling skills.
Some people, like me, prefer already built models. I am partial to wood model aircraft simply because they look absolutely flawless, depending of course on where you buy them. Nonetheless, you can make your own display pieces from wood, but the process requires plenty of wood working skills.
Determine the size or scale of the models.
Although you’re not restricted to just one size of aircraft model, it’s a good idea to have a clear picture of how big or how small you want your models to be. Collecting model aircraft take time, effort, and space-not to mention, money. Should you wish to prominently display your collection at home or in your office, I suggest that you put up a dedicated space for the models. At first, this may not be an issue, but as you grow your collection, you’ll need a bigger area to hold them all.
Decide on how much you’re willing to spend.
Scale model aircraft can range from a couple of bucks to hundreds of dollars. A lot of times, I find smaller models less expensive than the bigger and more detailed ones. That is a general observation. Again, it all depends on where you buy.
However, if you wish a high-quality model that would last for many years to come, prepare to invest anywhere between $80 and $300. Hand-carved models cost more money because of the amount of time and effort spent on building them. Wood models compose a huge part of my collection simply because they look gorgeous in every angle.
Look for the littlest details.
It’s trifling to collect aircraft models that do not reflect the character of the real one. You want to appreciate every little part of your model, so be sure to check the smallest details in your piece. Does the paint scheme match the one on the original plane? Are the insignias placed correctly? Do the panel lines look real? These are some of the things you should consider before you settle on a particular scale model.
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