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Modeling in General: Advice on...
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How to introduce four year kids to the hobby
Anmoga
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Spain / España
Joined: November 18, 2004
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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 04:12 AM UTC
Hi guys,

I have four years twins and the oldest got interested on a completed kit I have and some half painted kits. They also enjoyed painting a plastic dinosaur with the airbrush.

I would like to know which would be the best way to introduce them to the hobby.

Thanks in advance,
Angel
Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 05:00 AM UTC
They might be a little too young to go to a hobby show, but when they get to be about six, they might really enjoy it. In the meantime, I recommend taking them to some museums where you might be able to see the real thing up close, and providing them with opportunities to build some of the Easy Kits by Hobby Boss or the Revell and Airfix (Hornby) “Snap” kits, which don’t use glue or a lot of paint. There are other manufacturers who make screw together kits too (21st Century made some a few years back). Legos are always a good start for kids too, but be careful they don’t just get hooked on those— they are good for imagination development, but don’t have much to do with the reality of true craftsmanship when it comes to shape, painting and accuracy.
VR, Russ
Scarred
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Washington, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 05:15 AM UTC
I started building when I was 4. My dad and I built snap together cars and tanks. Do your kid's like Star Wars? Revell has some nice easy to build Star Wars kits. I'd get them simple easy kits and then spend time building with them. Give them tools, not sharp ones, you control those, and show them how to use them to cut the parts from the sprues. My dad let me pick the colors I wanted to paint the kits but it being the bad old 60's with toxic paints he did the painting with me watching. It was fun.
Anmoga
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Spain / España
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Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 06:12 AM UTC
Thanks Russ and Patrick.

They are already building legos by themselves. I will get them some of the snap kits so they can build them and will let them paint some of my old kits with me.

Regarding museums they are already visiting them and they loved the Beijing Military Museum (my wife is chinese).

Have a nice day,
Angel
dhines
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Nova Scotia, Canada
Joined: November 17, 2015
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Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 04:11 AM UTC
I have twin 7 year old grandsons and I have started them off with snap together kits. The museum idea is a great idea to see vehicles and aircraft, my grandsons are very interested in my ww2 memorabilia. They are very interested in learning about history which is great for a 7 year old. We should encourage them as much as possible as they are the future of our hobby.
russamotto
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Utah, United States
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Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 12:02 PM UTC
I did snap together kits. BanDai Star Wars kits have all kinds of good detail. I also took some Tamiya and Academy kits, chosen because they have good fit, and while I cut the parts off the sprue and trimmed with a hobby knife, I showed them where to glue. My kids still remember doing that.
SSGToms
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Connecticut, United States
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Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 01:19 PM UTC
The new Meng line of World War Toons tanks are snap together and pretty cool looking. And cheap! The parts count isn't too high and they seem just right for little fingers. Molded in color with colorful decals. There are lots of them to choose from now. Check them out. Start them out right - build a tank!
Anmoga
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Spain / España
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Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 10:06 PM UTC
Thanks Dale, Russ and Matthew.

I will buy them some snap kits so they can start building some by themselves.

Have a nice weekend,
Angel
Namabiiru
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
MODEL SHIPWRIGHTS
#399
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Rhode Island, United States
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Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 11:59 PM UTC
Once they have built their snap kits, you could prime the models for them and then let them have fun painting with acrylics, which are non-toxic and relatively easy to clean up.

Trisaw
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California, United States
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Posted: Friday, February 21, 2020 - 03:08 PM UTC
I agree that it's wise to let them stick with LEGOs first as those can be viewed as kid model kits.

Modeling these days is really for veterans and adults. The tools, paints, glues, pigments, resin, saws, and kits require skill, attention, patience, and could be downright dangerous. Kits are expensive and fragile. I didn't get good at this hobby until my 20s-30s.

Cheap Bandai Gundam kits are probably your best bet as the fit is near-perfect and they're strong plastic kits. It's like you can't build them wrong if one follows the instructions. And one can kind of play with them gently too. Most model kits are choking hazards too with tiny parts and sharp points.

You don't want your kids to get frustrated and view kits as breakable and throwaways. Model kits we build are for static display so for now, I'd just buy them more LEGOs until they learn and know how to follow instructions and processes well. LEGOs teach them that and LEGOs are super-strong plastic, practically unbreakable, and can be plaued with.

Then as they grow older, they should build cheap houses out of foam core, sticks, and cardboard, just like in "Show and Tell" class. See how that works before investing in kits, glues, and paints. The kit boxes clearly state: "This is not a toy! For ages 14 and up." I would highly recommend that you wait until they're teenagers first.

Basically, a lot of the hobby one has to learn and enjoy by themselves as it is considered a solo hobby. Going into Wargaming miniatures might be easier than building a kit with 300+ parts. Wargaming miniatures seem a lot more popular and has a larger fan base than the models found on this site.

Another recommendation is forget building model kits and teach them airbrushing art on posterboard and how to use, clean, and maintain an airbrush, especially that sharp 0.3mm needle. They could become future renown airbrushing artists! :-). Many kids can paint with a brush, but few kids are exposed and know how to airbrush.
Vicious
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Queensland, Australia
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Posted: Friday, February 21, 2020 - 03:59 PM UTC

Quoted Text

The new Meng line of World War Toons tanks are snap together and pretty cool looking. And cheap! The parts count isn't too high and they seem just right for little fingers. Molded in color with colorful decals. There are lots of them to choose from now. Check them out. Start them out right - build a tank!



Not all are snap together only some,but they are all easy and also pretty strong if you use some glue,they can actually play with it,i already build with my son 3 tanks an 2 planes,lot of fun
Scarred
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Washington, United States
Joined: March 11, 2016
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Posted: Friday, February 21, 2020 - 05:22 PM UTC

Quoted Text

I agree that it's wise to let them stick with LEGOs first as those can be viewed as kid model kits.

Modeling these days is really for veterans and adults. The tools, paints, glues, pigments, resin, saws, and kits require skill, attention, patience, and could be downright dangerous. Kits are expensive and fragile. I didn't get good at this hobby until my 20s-30s.

Cheap Bandai Gundam kits are probably your best bet as the fit is near-perfect and they're strong plastic kits. It's like you can't build them wrong if one follows the instructions. And one can kind of play with them gently too. Most model kits are choking hazards too with tiny parts and sharp points.

You don't want your kids to get frustrated and view kits as breakable and throwaways. Model kits we build are for static display so for now, I'd just buy them more LEGOs until they learn and know how to follow instructions and processes well. LEGOs teach them that and LEGOs are super-strong plastic, practically unbreakable, and can be plaued with.

Then as they grow older, they should build cheap houses out of foam core, sticks, and cardboard, just like in "Show and Tell" class. See how that works before investing in kits, glues, and paints. The kit boxes clearly state: "This is not a toy! For ages 14 and up." I would highly recommend that you wait until they're teenagers first.

Basically, a lot of the hobby one has to learn and enjoy by themselves as it is considered a solo hobby. Going into Wargaming miniatures might be easier than building a kit with 300+ parts. Wargaming miniatures seem a lot more popular and has a larger fan base than the models found on this site.

Another recommendation is forget building model kits and teach them airbrushing art on posterboard and how to use, clean, and maintain an airbrush, especially that sharp 0.3mm needle. They could become future renown airbrushing artists! :-). Many kids can paint with a brush, but few kids are exposed and know how to airbrush.



What? Really for veterans? 20s-30s? Lego's? I pretty much disagree with your whole statement. Have you seen some of those Lego Kits? Thousands of pieces, massively complicated and more expensive than most models! Those aren't designed for kids but for adults. And choking hazards? You must have never seen Legos before. Warhammer and other miniatures have small parts that could be choking hazards and as frustrating to build as an individual link track set.

A lot of us started building in the bad old days of Testors Orange Tube Glue, Testors, Pactra and Humbrol enamel paints, While I started with snap together kits at 4 within a few months I built my first glue together kit with my dad. I learned in time to handle knives, cutters, paints, paint thinners, glue but my first tools were a set of dikes, tweezers, toenail clippers, my xacto carving set and an emery board. My mother made sure I was safe and an older modeller friend of the family took me under his wing and showed me things. By the time I was 10 I was into far more complicated kits and had my first paint gun, a little badger that I ran off of a spare tire. By the time I was 13 I had my first airbrush a paasche h, by high school I had my 2nd airbrush a double action given to me by a old modeller.

I had access to magazines but nothing like the resources now available with the internet. And it may be a solo hobby but I've built kits with others. In the military it wasn't unusual for 3-4 of us to gather in someone's barracks room and throw a video tape in, crack a beer and each build a kit. The glues and paints of today are far less toxic and safer to use. Micro Weld is a safe citrus based solvent. Smells good too so your kids won't get high from the fumes. And while no paint is totally safe adult supervision will help keep them safe. I agree with practicing airbrushing on something other than the models. I used cardboard boxes, scrap lumber, the inside wall or our barn (stepdad not amused).

Look, you have your beliefs but model building develops reading comprehension, the ability to understand drawings, diagrams and schematics, hand/eye coordination, attention to detail and creativity. I don't believe in limiting kids because of their age or telling them they are too young to do something. It's sad that in today's world that adults try to limit things that kids do because they believe they are too young or it's unsafe. Eating oatmeal can be unsafe. walking down the hallway can be unsafe. And I've seen the results of this kind of parenting. Kids that sit in the house glued to their phones or t.v. with the personality and intelligence of mud.

And if you have further doubts about kids and modeling go to youtube and look at vids of hobby shows and look at what the young modelers are doing. It is amazing.
Anmoga
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Spain / España
Joined: November 18, 2004
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Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2020 - 06:07 PM UTC
Thanks a lot Mark, Peter, Vicious and Patrick.

I am just keeping their interest in things they like such as LEGOs and dinosaurs. Some time ago we gave them some plastic dinosaurs ready to be painted and they enjoyed painting them by brush and airbrush and since they keep asking for more and like to watch YouTube videos of painting dinosaurs and making dioramas with them I will keep their interest with the plastic dinosaurs. I will paint some tanks with them as they paint their dinosaurs so they become familiar with them and enjoy the activity with their father. Probably will build some old kits so they can paint them as they wish and as they grow I am sure they will ask for the techniques I use.

Kind regards to all of you,
Angel