What is a skill level 5 model kit?

Background

If you have a fascination for building things from scratch and are interested in machines, vehicles, and their history, getting yourself a model kit is a fun and creative way to express this passion by producing a 3D replica of any object or vehicle that you like. A model kit is composed of hundreds or even thousands of parts that one must carefully assemble and paint to create a scale miniature of an object or vehicle such as an airplane, ship, tank etc. These parts can be made out of various materials including plastic, metal, wood, or a combination of these and the final output usually represents an accurate and detailed model of the original object being copied.

Skill Level 5 Model Kit Features

a skill level 5 model kit of a plane on the table with parts and a sharp tool

Model building can be a fun hobby for people young and old, and at times can even be a career for some. With this, model kits are often categorized according to their difficulty or skill levels to cater to the person’s preferences or to help them slowly progress. Skill level 1 model kits use painted snap-together pieces and are usually made for kids aged 5-10 years old; skill level 2 requires the use of glue and paint and has less than 100 pieces; skill level 3 has smaller and more detailed parts up to 100 pieces; while skill level 4 has parts with more intricate details and can be more than a hundred pieces. [1] 

The most advanced is the skill level 5 model kit which are usually assembled by expert and professional modelers. One of its main features would be the large number of parts that can often range from hundreds to thousands of pieces which may include small intricate parts that may take more time and patience to glue and fit together. But unlike the lower skill level kits, a skill level 5 model kit may also include moving parts like rotating plane propellers, working car suspensions, and war tanks with movable turrets. [1] 

Additionally, skill level 5 model kits may require some special tools and techniques for you to successfully assemble them. Here’s a list of the tools that you may need for holding, cutting, smoothening, tightening, bonding, and painting the parts of the model kit, although some are optional:

  1. Hobby/Precision Craft Knife
  2. Acrylic paint or spray paint
  3. Paint brush assortment
  4. Scissors
  5. Sanding sticks
  6. Tweezers
  7. Model Cement
  8. Rubber bands
  9. Spruce Nippers
  10. Cutting mat  
  11. Paint respirator/mask

Tips to Using A Skill Level 5 Model Kit

a small plastic soldier being held by tweezers and painted using a small and detailed paint brush

For beginners, everything mentioned about the complexity and difficulty of the skill level 5 model kit might sound intimidating and that’s normal. This is why we have provided some tips below to guide you in your model building journey. Remember to have fun and learn in the process!

  1. Read the instructions and examine pieces – This may sound like the most basic thing to do but it is also one of the most important things to consider before you start building your scale model. You may want to gain an overview of what you are building as there may be instructions that are crucial and helpful in effectively assembling the model. You may have to carefully examine individual pieces before you detach them, and to make things organized, you can arrange a pile of pieces according to size or to the parts of the vehicle or object. Some parts may look quite similar so this is an important tip. [2] 
  2. Use cutting materials instead of breaking pieces off – Precision knives and cutters are recommended for detaching the pieces from the part trees or sprues for a reason. If you just break them off, there is a high risk of damaging those parts. By using the recommended cutting materials, you can safely and precisely detach the individual pieces as well as remove any residue attached before you assemble them. If you’re working on a surface that needs protection like wooden dining tables or work tables, you can use a cutting mat to protect them from scratches and to lengthen the life of your blades. [2] 
  3. Do not wipe off glue if you made a mistake –  For gluing the parts, you may be recommended to use a liquid glue specialized for plastic. Gluing the pieces especially the small ones could be a tricky task so it’s not surprising if you put in too much or apply it outside the target area. However, you should avoid wiping it off as it can create a bigger mess to clean. What you can do is to let the glue dry for 3-24 hours then sand it smoothly with a sand file or sandpaper, that way it will look cleaner. [2] 

For securing larger parts, you can use masking tape or rubber bands while waiting for the glue to harden. Just make sure that they don’t put too much pressure and damage the parts you’re trying to join together. [2] 

  1. Clean individual pieces and practice brush strokes – Before you start painting, clean all the components with soapy water to remove any dust, grease, or other residue to ensure that the painting process will be neat and uniform. After drying with lint-free cloth, you can practice your brush strokes on the interior of the pieces that cannot be seen after the assembly of the model, or on other materials like cartons, paper, or other materials good for recycling. Make sure that you use consistent brush strokes by light layers. With metallic paint, a separate brush should be used to avoid combination with acrylic ones. [2] 
  1. Paint small pieces while they are in the sprue – Painting can be especially tricky for small intricate pieces as you have to consider how you will hold them with ease without painting your fingers or tools like tweezers. A recommended hack would be to paint the small pieces while they are still in the sprue and only cut or detach them after they have dried. You can always make additional touches after you’ve assembled the parts. Another technique you can follow is to use clothespins as holders for the pieces. [2] 
  1. Dip decals in warm water to activate adhesives – Decals are the finishing details of the object or machine that complete the whole model and can range from car registration plates, to national emblems, and trim strips which are likened to stickers. But unlike the usual stickers, it is advised to dip the decals in a container with warm water for a few seconds before placing them on a clean towel. After that, you wait for 20 seconds while the adhesives activate with the water and make the decal separate from the backing paper. Upon attaching, make sure that the decals are correctly positioned then dab excess water with a towel and leave to dry. [2] 

Conclusion

Knowing that the skill level 5 model kit is the most difficult and complex among all model kit levels might sound daunting especially to those who are just about to try it. However, do not let this discourage you or get in the way of your fascination for building things. With patience, concentration, and an allowance for making a few mistakes along the way, you can successfully assemble your skill level 5 model kit and witness the fruit of your efforts!

References

[1] Ternus, G. (2021, October 13). What do model kit skill levels mean? Model Kit Pro. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://modelkitpro.com/what-do-model-kit-skill-levels-mean/

[2] GmbH, R. (2020). The 10 best tips for model building beginners. Revell. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://content.revell.de/content/en/model-building-beginners-tips/index.html