Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

New to the hobby

New to the hobby
Q  I’m new to building model cars and have questions.
Of the cars seen in the magazine from model shows, its not mentioned if the molding seams were sanded away and the whole body sanded and primed.

Some cars indicate no primer was used. Wouldn’t sanding marks show through if a primer wasn’t used?

I plan on adding flame decals to a car I’m working on. Should I add gloss and dull coats before and after applying the decals?
Thanks for any help!
-Bob Shindell
via email

A Welcome to the hobby, Bob, You’re in for a great ride! A quality model begins by addressing the basics, such as eliminating seam and mold lines, then filling any injection-pin marks and sink holes with model putty. Those steps are so basic they’re usually not mentioned in show gallery captions.

Spraying a base coat of primer is a great way check for flaws in your initial body prep and serves as a good base for a top coat of paint. Some modelers forego primer if they’re using enamels or water-based top coats, but it’s essential to protect a plastic body if you’re spraying lacquer colors.

The best way to prevent sanding marks from showing is to get rid of them before any paint is applied. This is done by simply using a finer grades of sand paper during prep stages. Very fine scratches can be covered once the first coat is applied, be it primer or your top-coat color. For best practice it’s advised to check after applying a coat of primer. Personally, I’d recommend using primer under any type of paint, or after any amount of sanding.

Decals stick best when applied to a glossy surface. Gloss-coat your model and polish it well before adding decals, and then apply another coat of clear to blend the decal edges into the body.

If you’re applying decals to a curved surface, I suggest using Micro Set and Micro Sol to soften the decals so they’ll lay flat. Both are from Microscale Industries.

Note: If you happen to be applying decals to a model with a flat color, spray the model with a gloss coat of clear, apply the decals, then top it with a coat of flat finish to return the model to it’s flat finish.


Read and share your comments on this article

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


A beginner's guide to plastic model cars.
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our privacy policy