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Newbie looking for recommendations

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I started building model airplanes and cars when I was a kid and then gave up the hobby. I remember lacking the necessary patience to build at a top notch level, which resulted in poorly detailed, hastily painted and improper decal applications. 




Anyway, I decided to take it up again and I am looking for recommendations on the following questions:




For reference, I am planning on building primarily military aircraft 1/48 scale or larger.




1. Airbrush, spray paint or paint by hand? I imagine that all 3 methods have their place and pros and cons and I'm interested to learn what experienced members of this community think.




2. Enamel or Acrylic paint? Can both be used on the same project?




3. What other products or supplies are helpful in building? Just browsing Amazon, there are so many tool kits and sandpaper/polishing options that it's kind of hard to figure out what is necessary and helpful and what is fluff. As a kid, I remember using an exacto knife, masking tape, enamel paint and tubes of cement. Mostly Testors was the brand I used. 




Appreciate your time and thoughts!




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First off, welcome back to the hobby. As you may already know, the modern kits are leaps and bounds in quality compared to when we were kids. Tamiya being one of the premier. You can't go wrong with Tamiya modern kits in general, as their fit and finish is second to no one. That should help your modeling skill to a higher level in itself. As for:


1. Airbrush is the way to go, even if the aircraft is in mono color. As for which airbrush, there are many answers, but I have been using Badgers for ages. Pasche is another good one. And both are reasonably priced. And don't go for those cheap knockoffs. The old adage goes "you get what you pay for"

2. Both, and yes you can use enamel, acrylic, and lacquer on the same model. Main thing is they must be cured before applied over the other. Each has its own ad/disadvantages in usage

3. Mr Surfacer is another tool to have for seams filling. Forget about the old Squadron putty from the tubes from the past; same goes for cement. Tamiya Extra Thin cement is the way to go, no mess, no fuss. Just let the capilary action do the work, and instant bond.


Another thing that don't get mentioned often is, take your time and dont rush. You're not running a race. Check for seams filling. Nothing cried out amateur more than seams and gaps showing on a finished model. If you can perfect hiding the seam gaps, that in itseft is a huge leap in skill, and master your airbrush handling. Don't expect to compare yourself to some of the master modellers stuffs posted. It'll only disappoint you. Just work on the basics before graduating to a higher details skills. Most importanly, HAVE FUN building.




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Thank you for your help! I certainly plan on having a blast with this. I started with a revelle kit, a 1/48 B-17 that wasn't too expensive. I figure I'll start with cheaper kits and as I improve, then I'll step up. I saw that Tamiya has a line of 1/32 scale with great detail and all the reviews rave about how good the quality is. 

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Everything trietmcam said is relevant.

A caution for you is your statement about lacking patience to build at the highest level in your last go round with modeling. Be aware that both patience and experience is necessary to improve your skills. Take your time, pick kits that interest you, ask questions here or on other forums regarding specific kits - are they straight forward or assembly challenges, and don’t expect perfect results

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Something to consider Mark, get a couple really cheap models that you really don't care about and set them in your stash.  You might find that you need to practice filling  & sanding seams, airbrushing, trying different weathering, adding bits and bobbles.  Having a couple of "kit-bash" fodder models has helped me release some tension during a stressful build and gives me a chance to practice techniques before touching that $60 6-month project kit.  


For things to get?  Get yourself some 600-700, 1200 grit sand paper by the sheet and some decent paint brush set with a few types of points for the fine work.  Tamiya masking tape is a good bet too.

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Airbrush (the Iwata Revolution CR is perfect IMO), Acrylics (Vallejo to start, easy options and user friendly), Tamiya 1/48 WW2 kits to start (the P-51's and Zero's are pretty much shake and bake kits with little hassle and make into nice models).


You need to use a good primer for the acrylics to really bite, I use Tamiya spray primer (lacquer based), and Ammo by Mig One Shot Primer (acrylicish), both yield great bonding if used properly.


Also with acrylics, get used to doing all your final seam and putty work before laying down the acrylics, they don't sand out as well as previous oil based paints did, so the less you fuss with the final color coat the better.

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