Model-building has been around for centuries. It can be traced back to classical antiquity and even earlier, but it became popular in the 18th century. The first models built were made from wood, but now plastic models are more common since they are easier to make and transport.
The best part about plastic model building is that it’s a hobby that anyone can enjoy. The only requirement is the ability to follow instructions and use tools properly. With a little bit of practice, you’ll be able to make some really cool things out of plastic models.
The first thing you need to know about plastic model building is that there are different types of kits available for different types of models. Some kits are designed for cars, while others are designed for planes or boats. Whatever type of kit you choose, it should be easy enough for beginners but challenging enough for experts as well.
A Brief History of Plastic Models
Early plastic models were manufactured by the British company Frog at the end of 1936. In the late 1940s, several American companies such as Hawk, Varney, Empire, and Renwal produced plastic model airplanes in a range of scales from 1/72 to 1/48.
Manufacturers such as Aurora, Revell, AMT, Monogram in the United States, and Airfix in the United Kingdom gained ascendancy in the 1960s. Heller SA of France also began producing kits during this time.
Assembling and selling unassembled parts of promotional models of new automobiles to hobbyists provided American model companies with a lucrative side business.
Early model car prototypes often lacked detail, had non-opening hoods, and no engines. The chassis was typically simple or absent. Within a few years, kit production had overtaken promo production, and the level of detail rose to satisfy market demands.
Before the widespread availability of plastic models, wooden model kits were frequently used as a hobby. These kits often required significantly more work to produce results that could be created with plastic models.
With the advent of new digital technologies, modeling hobbyists can now practice their craft virtually.
Following are some key benefits of plastic model building:
1. Plastic Model-Building is a Great Creative Outlet
Plastic model-building helps develop your child’s imagination, creativity, and cognitive skills. It can also teach children about color and shape recognition, spatial reasoning, problem-solving (i.e., how to assemble the pieces), fine motor skills (like hand-eye coordination), as well as basic geometry concepts like symmetry, balance, etc.
Using plastic models for creative thinking exercises will help them develop their creative thinking skills in many different ways:
Creative expression – Your kids will most likely enjoy building things out of LEGO bricks or other types of plastic models because they are fun to make. This kind of activity gives them an opportunity to be creative by experimenting with different shapes or colors while also challenging their imagination on things such as making monsters out of LEGOs, maybe even turning one into something else entirely like a castle.
2. Cheaper than Other Hobbies
You can get started with a relatively small investment. For example, you could purchase a kit that contains the plastic pieces to build your model and paint it as well. Depending on the complexity of your model, this might cost from $25 to $100 or more.
However, many models are available in both plastic and resin versions. Resin kits have higher price tags because they have finer details than their plastic counterparts but may require some skill in order to assemble properly without breaking anything during the assembly or painting process, which means that they’re not necessarily suitable for beginners just starting out with modeling.
3. Provides an Opportunity for Historical Exploration and Learning
There are two ways to learn about history. One is by reading books, watching documentaries, and listening to lectures. The other is by building plastic models of historical events, places, or objects.
Plastic model-building gives you an opportunity for a hands-on experience with your learning that other methods do not offer: it allows you to interact directly with the past in a way no book can provide.
For example, if you build a 1:72 scale model of HMS Victory from the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar (which was one of the most important sea battles in world history), then your physical interaction with this ship will help you understand its impact on British culture as well as helping you learn about Admiral Nelson himself—the man who commanded Victory during the battle and died during it when he was shot through both lungs by a French sniper who had snuck aboard his ship while under fire from Napoleon’s fleet.
4. Exercise Your Artistic Skills
Plastic model-building is a great way to exercise your artistic skills. It’s an activity that allows you to express yourself visually and creatively in a way that might not be possible through other types of art.
The beauty of plastic model-building is that it can be used as a tool for self-expression, whether you want to express your creativity or personality, hobbies, interests, and even how much time you spend on the hobby itself.
5. Tests and Improves Your Organization Skills
In plastic model-building, organization is crucial. Without it, you will have trouble finding the supplies you need and completing projects in time. Organization skills help you get things done efficiently and effectively. In fact, they can be used in any aspect of your life—from the workplace to school and even at home.
You may not realize how much you’re learning about organization skills by building models because it feels like playtime! But when you look at the bigger picture of your life, there are many opportunities to apply these skills:
- As an employee: You might be required to organize your desk or inbox before beginning a project. This will ensure that all data is accessible when needed and that nothing gets lost along the way. It also keeps the workspace clean so coworkers won’t have trouble navigating around piles of papers.
- As a student: When studying for exams or writing papers (or even making binder covers), having an organized system for storing important information makes everything easier on paper than remembering where everything went wrong last time.
- At home: People who live alone often struggle with keeping their living space tidy because they don’t know where anything goes after putting it down somewhere temporarily. But with some advance planning ahead of time before starting any cleanup chores, organizing tasks together into one big “master plan” becomes less intimidating than doing them one piece at a time without thinking ahead about what needs doing next.
6. Clears Your Head
Plastic model building can be a great way to relax and de-stress if you’re looking for a new hobby. The process of creating a model can help you to clear your head. It forces you to focus on the task at hand, which is building something that doesn’t exist in real life.
When you’re working on building a plastic model, it’s possible for you to forget about all of the stresses in your life by immersing yourself in creating something that is totally unique and different from anything else around you.
7. Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
Plastic model building requires patience and precision, which means you have to learn how to concentrate on what you’re doing without getting distracted by other things around you. This improves your hand-eye coordination and makes it easier for you to focus on other tasks in life as well.
8. You can Build Whatever You Want
The best part about plastic model building is that there are no limits on what you can build! You can choose from hundreds of kits, each with its own design and theme. You can even make your own creations using pieces from multiple kits.
If you want something specific, like your favorite car, boat, or plane, just look for one of those kits online or at your local hobby store. The possibilities are endless when it comes to plastic model building!
Plastic model-building is a great hobby for anyone who wants to engage in some good old-fashioned fun. Whether it’s your first time or you’re an experienced builder, you can be sure that this activity will bring hours of entertainment and relaxation into your life.
It’s also the perfect way to get yourself out of a rut or unwind after a stressful day at work. If you want more information about how plastic model-building can benefit both adults and children alike, you can read our blog that lists some great Reasons Why Model Kit Making is good for Your Brain (link it here).