Introducing the Play Zone!
The Play Zone is exactly as it sounds. A place to play! Modelling skills start young - very young! Many of us have been budding modellers without realising it by our early introduction into construction toys such as Duplo and Lego. We have all dabbled in early years art with glue sticks, tissue paper and dried pasta. Many of the skills we learnt as toddlers form the basis of scale modelling. The importance of fine motor skills for children is widely publicised and we can build upon these through our hobby.
This section provides information about kits suitable for early model building. From simple construction toys themed within the scale modelling remit to the more complex snap-together kits. We have explained some of the different types of kits available below. Our list is not exhaustive or complete but can give you a good guide to types of kits available to the market.
Airfix QUICK BUILD is a range of simple, click together models based upon a construction brick format (Lego-style) with each set designed to be built as a specific car, plane, tank or helicopter. The sets come in full colour with stickers to apply and can be built and rebuilt time and again by little hands. Each kit contains between 27 and 40 individual pieces with no glue or paint required. Also good to know is that these are compatible with all major building block brands so perfect to combine with your existing collection.
Revell Junior Kit features a screw system designed to allow the kits to be built and rebuilt many times and without the need for any glue or paints. Kits come with stickers to decorate and excellent instructions that are easy to follow. Some kits even come with lights and sound effects. The range available of Revell Junior kits is broad including farm & agriculture, Disney cars, emergency services, racing cars & vehicles and newly added the popular children series "Super Wings".
Revell Easy-Click kits have been designed to click together in all the places you would normally use glue. All parts come ready painted and decorated. Some parts can be smaller than the other options above so are more suited to more dexterous fingers and minds that can follow instructions carefully.
Meng Model Kids is a range brought to us from Chinese company Meng Models. Meng Model Kids is a fantastic range of historical aircraft & tanks that have been stylised to the cartoon-esque "egg" design. Each set comes with stickers to decorate that mimic the modelling norm of decals without the tricky application. The kits are all click together so no glue is required. Some of the models come pre-painted and some do not so the option to paint is available. A great little touch on each box is the snippet of information about the real aircraft the model kit is based on.
Adding glue & paints...
Taking things a little further into scale modelling, you can find many beginner model sets that are simple builds that do require a scalpel, glue, sanding, filling and painting. (Don't panic, we'll have guides on this too)
These are often labelled with skill levels on the boxes such as Airfix who categorise their kits in levels from 1 to 4. Airfix have intended the level 1 sets to have less parts and easier to build ranging up to level 4 with the highest parts count and more complex models. However, experienced modellers have not always found this to be accurate due to re-releases of vintage kits which were created at a time where plastic moulding was not at the level it is today. This can result in some level 1 kits being difficult to make parts fit accurately.
Revell have a similar system of levels from 1 to 5 with similar intentions to each attributed skill level. Again however experience dictates this not always to be the best way to find a starter kit to build.
Most other brands have a form of skill level system within their range to help guide newbies to picking their next build, however, we would recommend that a little more research is done and to get involved in the modelling community to ask for advice. There are many forums and Facebook groups covering a wide range or very specific sections of modelling that you can join and ask for advice. The community is a helpful one and whilst there are the odd occasions of serious competitive modelling, the majority out there are all still learning and more than generous with their time to guide newcomers. The link below takes you to a variety of resources that we use ourselves and find to be a great community spirit.
Within our Play Zone shop, we have selected specific kits that we believe to suit everyone from toddlers to teens to adult beginners. We may have included kits outwith the skill levels described above, this will be from experience of building those kits and knowing that they are simple with minimal flaws to provide an enjoyable introduction into model building.
Keep checking our blog as we will be adding more content, video builds and guides to starting this hobby. Parents - get involved, we'll help guide you if you're new to model making and we can all learn together to bring a new hobby in your lives.