Add your best advice for building 1/48 aircraft models

I’m almost done with the MIG-21 for the Eduard group build. I absolutely loved the build and love the kit. I bought another one to mod into a 21bis using a resin nose. I’m thinking I’m just going to buy another one to do as another straight MIG-21MF, and improve some on what I did this time.

This was my first 1/48 plane.

I hit some issues in building this and had ways I thought would work but would like to get more perspective because I’m not sure they worked out the way I thought they would. So, please, I appreciate input from folks who have experience at this. And welcome good things people have learned that don’t apply to my issues.

Issue #1 - my that’s big (I don’t think there is anything to advise here, just an observation). I just need some wider workspace. The main area where I am hurting for space is my spray booth, but I found myself maneuvering it around on my work bench also.

Issue #2 - how do you handle one of these when you are working on it? painting it? putting decals on it? I had a box with two curves cut out of it that I thought would work but it was kind of limiting.

Issue #3 - about painting parts separately. So I painted the landing gear separately and the landing gear bay doors. Attaching them at the end was really tricky. Part of it may be the complexity on this aircraft, I dont’ know. But I gather attaching them before painting is a recipe for disaster. This is kind of connected to #2 above, I felt like I needed to hold the model while attaching the part with the other hand, but it’s size makes it cumbersome and if I’d attached all the fiddly little pieces before I’m sure they would come off during handling.

Issue #4 - rescribing panel lines (and scribing in panels). So, of all the stuff that was new on this build this one gave me most fear, but it really worked out splendidly. I have some scribing templates and a couple of new tools, and I was able easily to patch the place where the tool jumped out of my hand and made a new crooked line by itself :clown_face: (I know you can envision that). But the thing that I am unsure about is getting good about getting the depth of these lines right. One of mine is a little shallow and the line that was making a curved panel on a curved surface is fairly uneven. They look ok, but I gotta think.

I’m about to jump in on the Tamiya P-38 now…

A few options, you can use the box to hold or something like Vertigo jigs gives you that third hand.
https://www.vertigo-miniatures.com/vertigo/eshop/15-1-JIGS

For rescribing you can used DYMO tape for the alignment. Depth is just practice.

#3: Usually the landing are the last things to add. The Eduard Mig-21 does have fiddly gear and even more so if you added the photo etch set and bronze gear legs. They were a pita to do on my -21.

@markiii: Yes, if it were just the gear sticking into the bays it wouldn’t have been bad but I added the photo-etch in advance before painting and the PE all seemed to line up fine but then didn’t once painted so I had to take it apart and put it back together. I’m concerned about the fragility of the nose gear. I guess it’s done so I won’t be handling it much anymore, but …

@Tank_1812: I have a vertigo jig. I bought it for doing the 1/72 ju-88 and it worked well for that. Maybe there is one that would work for the MIG-21 but it’s profile is a little unusual (wings not that wide and their widest part far back). I’ll shop some more :slight_smile:

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For a cheaper option, I would use their idea but cut out your own jigs on cardboard or yard sign material.

I think that’s a good idea! That way it can be specific to the kit I’m working on. I will report back on my next build.

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Issue 1: I “confiscated” a complete bedroom for my models. Now I finally have space enough.

Issue 2: when making a jet; these usually come with a gaping hole at the end. If possible, I fix the exhaust as very last step, Once the fuselage assembled I roll a number of long barbeque sticks in some kitchen paper or toilet paper until I have a diameter, and then cover with painting tape to make it strong.

IThis fits perfectly in the tails end of the plane and gives an excellent “stick” to hold the plane

Issue 3: for many parts such as landing gears: finalsiign them completely and only add then to the model once this thing is completely finished is the way to go

Issue 4: rescribing panel lines is often the consequence of sanding/polishhing away seam lines. I tend to make those panel lines deeper before sanding, and scribe them a bit deeper while sanding and before they dissapear completely. Also, put some masking tapes in areas where you could hurt the panel lines while sanding

Ah, another clever idea I can take away from this forum, wish I had thought of that!

Cajun :crocodile:

Scribing panel lines deeper is a genius idea. One of those things that sounds simple once you hear of it, but which for some reason I’d never considered

Indeed - deeper panel lines is a great idea!