Model Building - A great raining day activity!
Building an Alien Landing Craft
Alien Landing Craft Shopping List:
Makes two alien spaceships
Try something new! Build a model!
Another rainy day and the kids are glued to flat screens? Video games, TV, iPads? Get the kids back into the 3D world of reality by visiting your local hobby store and picking up a model. Model building is a fun activity that teaches kids and adults the art of delayed gratification, the satisfaction of doing a good job and the very important virtue of patience.
Model building can be as easy as snapping together parts to expert models that take a season to build. For beginners you'll want to pick out a kit that doesn't have a lot of parts and doesn't require more than a few colors. Pick carefully and ask the hobby store employees for advice. You also want to make sure you pick out a model that interests the model builder. For example the friendly owner of my local hobby store was telling us a story about how he only builds car models yet people keep buying him airplane models which he never wants to build.
Besides the model you'll also need to pick up the following supplies:
- Paint (Buy the paints specified by the model instructions or buy a beginner set)
- Glue (See my picks at the end)
- Emery board (for filing off excess plastic)
- Hobby knife like an Xacto for cutting parts free
Tips for Gluing and Painting
Glue made for plastic models actually is a solvent that melts the plastic so the pieces can bond together. A little goes a long way. Put some glue on a piece of tin foil and use a toothpick to grab a small drop of glue. Better yet buy the glue I recommend. It is quick dry so you don't get bored waiting for glue to dry and it comes in a no-mess applicator. One bottle lasts a very long time because you only use a small amount.
For my son, waiting for the paint to dry is the hardest part of any model build. If you are used to Lego building, this concept of waiting for paint to dry is a totally new concept but this is where a lot of learning opportunities come into play. Here you learn to plan ahead, take care and learn to wait. A good model, even a simple one like this will take several days to do it right because you'll want everything to dry. A hair dryer can be used to speed up the drying time. Also for large areas like the space ship body, you might consider a small can of spray paint made for models. The spray paint can put on a very thin layer of paint that drys faster then a brushed on coat of paint.
For easy clean up and less fumes consider getting water based paints that clean up with water, otherwise be sure to have some paint thinner on hand to clean brushes. Of course put down a layer of newspaper before you start any model project and consider setting up in and area that won't be disturbed until the project is completed.
Like any new hobby consider the purchase of your supplies as an initial investment. You'll certainly not use up all of the paint and glue with your first model. So the next time you want to build a model you won't have to buy paint and glue.
Copyright Edward M. Fielding
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