From our friends at RTL Fasteners: Like anything else, learning what’s involved in a new hobby is the first step to taking it on. From figuring out what tools you’ll need, finding a place to store essentials and creating an organized place to work and play, it’s always important to do some preparation. That is especially true for aviation modeling. Aviation modeling is a lot more than kits and parts. Before you even open your first kit, you need a dedicated space where “the magic happens.” Having a prepped location ready for your first build will make the whole process much easier (and a lot more fun) so that’s why we’re sharing these tips. Let’s get started!
First off, you’ll enjoy your build more if you have a dedicated space. Whether it’s a basic table in the guest room or a full garage with custom shelving and a workbench – you need the freedom to spread out and stay organized. It will make a big difference when you don’t have to clean up in the middle of your project (or worry about the family pup getting into your small-parts pile).
If you have a spare room you have the perfect space and an old table is all you really need. You can also use plywood and sawhorses if they are sturdy. Once you find the perfect spot with a solid and flat work surface, you’re ready to start adding tools. This is where utility benches or extra tables to store larger tools keeps your immediate work area cleaner and less crowded.
Most modelers don’t build directly on their work table. They often use “building boards” with a cork top surface, called a Wright Building Board. These soft-top building boards allow modeling pins to be pushed into their surface so you can hold all the parts of a build kit safely in place.
Pro Tip – You can use insulation foam boards and ceiling tiles too! Just use 3M spray adhesive to affix it to the top of your workbench and keep it from moving.
You won’t want to cut things on your building board due to the soft surface so leave yourself enough room on your table to have a clear hard surface that can double as a cutting and work area.
Stay organized! With so many moving parts, it’s important that everything has a designated location as you progress through a project. Organize all your hardware to make it easy to find. This saves building time and prevents cosmetic damages to the parts you’re working with. RTL Fasteners has lots of excellent hardware and handy organizer boxes for this, check them out!
Pro Tip – As you work, we suggest dividing your project into sessions so you have only the parts and tools you need for the task at hand, reducing clutter or the chance of losing a part.
With so many small pieces of hardware and minute details to get right, make sure you have ideal lighting in your work area. Optimally, you should have overhead lighting as well as a moveable spot or task light that allows you to direct the lighting exactly where you need it.
The old saying that “you can do anything with the right tools” is particularly true in modeling; the proper tools will simplify any job. Whether it’s a quick-assembly ARF or a complete scratch-build, there are basic hand tools that every modeler needs.
Pro Tip – We suggest starting with the basic RC tool kit before moving on to bigger power tools such as a sander or drill press. That way, you can get started with the smallest up-front investment and get a feel for a simple build.
Any modeling project can be completed with a simple workshop as described above.
Once you have your workshop situated, it’ll be time to select your first build kit and get started, knowing that you already have everything you need!