How to Choose Your First Scale Model: A Step-by-Step Guide

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the first scale model you will build. This is a common process that many hobbyists have been through, and there are plenty of online resources to help you learn.

If you’re looking for a condensed version of what everyone else has gone through, this list has got you covered and then some. Here’s your step-by-step guide to choosing your first scale model.

How to Choose Your First Scale Model: A Step-by-Step Guide - size, scale model, cost

Keep these things in mind

If you want everything to go right with your first model, then there are a few things you’ll need to think about when picking a kit.


For your first model, you should consider simple options made from injection-molded polystyrene. Plastic is easy to glue back together if you break it, and there’s less frustration involved in constructing something simple when you’re first wrapping your head around things.

Subject matter

It doesn’t matter what model you choose, it will be one that you care about. Whether it’s for the history of the thing itself or a love of the finished product, your passion will see you through the process. Caring about what you’re building is the difference between a beloved hobby and a dreaded chore.

If you’re looking to spruce up your finished product for display or photos, you can invest a little extra in the finishing touches. You can give your model a new coat of paint to make it pop. Or, you can consider unique lighting options offered by Evan Designs.


Sometimes there can be a big difference between older and modern kits. Older models might have used molds that were less rigorously quality-tested and that have deteriorated over time. Poor-quality molds can lead to more difficult pieces that must be assembled upon completion.

You will need to do some research, especially as newer models often include mixed media. Finding something that’s both simple and new can be a challenge in itself, but it’ll be worth it when you finally find that special model that checks all the boxes.


Small models with a small scale are often a good choice for a first model because it is easier to see if you do something wrong. Although a larger model will have less pieces, it will require more space to display.


Keep your costs down. Modeling as a hobby can be very cost-effective or very expensive. You don’t want to be dreading making a mistake on something that cost a small fortune.

Other considerations

Do you want to build a model airplane or your first kit? These kits are a great start, but it’s always a good idea to check reviews to make sure it’s not going to be a frustrating experience. Ship models can also have complications such as riggings. While tanks are a classic, an armored car may be a better option as treads can sometimes prove difficult to assemble.

Ships have different paints above and below waterline. Motorcycles and cars often have many decals and components made of clear, breakable plastic. Aircraft have even more breakable transparent plastic–especially helicopters–and anything with multiple wings to line up can be an experience. It depends on the type of challenge that you are willing to accept. The world of modeling is your oyster.

Wrap it up

Whether you’re looking to decorate your home or think a scale model would be a perfect anniversary gift, knowing what to consider can help ensure you choose the best model. It will take some trial and error to make your first scale model, but it will be worth it. With enough glue, paint (for that all-important cover-up coat), and patience, you’ll be ready to take on any scale model.

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