How to Assemble Model Cars

car image by JASON WINTER from

Model car assembly is a hobby enjoyed by millions around the world. It’s a hobby that combines careful craftsmanship with artistic flair, in a process that leads to a model that can be as beautiful as the actual car it’s designed to resemble. Creating a display-quality model takes time, though. Completing a model from start to finish can take dozens of hours. Breaking the task down into steps cuts the process into easily manageable chunks that can result in a model that will awe viewers.

The hours spent in building a model car can result in a model worth displaying.
car image by JASON WINTER from

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid Cement
  • Airbrush
  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Clear-Coat Paint
  • Paint
  • Hobby Knives
  • Model Car Kit
  • Model Putty

Purchase a model kit keeping within your experience level. Buy a kit with fewer pieces as a beginner. Purchase a kit with a larger array of smaller, more detailed pieces if you have some experience in modeling.

Set the parts out onto a flat surface and check them against the model instructions to make sure all the parts are present. Wash the parts in warm water using a mild detergent to wash away any residue left on the plastic parts from the molding process that may interfere with glue and paint adherence. Set the parts on a clean lint-free cloth and allow them to dry completely. Use a 150- to 300-grit sandpaper to sand away the light layer of gloss on the model parts to help texture the parts for easier painting.

Build the car model, closely following the manufacturer’s instructions. Cut the plastic parts from the sprue holding them using a sharp pair of scissors. File down any mold lines or excess plastic left from the sprue from the model piece before painting.

Test fit the model parts together, checking that they fit correctly without any gaps. If the parts do not fit, file them as necessary, or leave as is and use modeling putty after gluing them to fill in gaps.

Paint the model piece using a paintbrush for smaller parts, or an airbrush for larger model parts. Layer the paint lightly onto the parts, applying multiple layers of paint to get a solid coating. Begin with a primer coat of paint. Using a dark color aids in creating depth and shadows to the final coating. Follow the primer paint with the final coat of color. Allow each coat to dry for two hours before continuing.

Glue the model parts together using the liquid cement. Brush the liquid cement onto the edges to be glued and then hold the pieces together for 30 seconds to allow the glue to set.

Fill in any gaps between ill-fitted pieces using modeling putty. Place the putty into the gap and smooth the surface of the putty using the tip of your finger. Allow the putty to dry for two hours and then paint the putty the color of the parts surrounding it.

Allow the model to dry overnight and then spray the model with a layer of clear-coat paint to protect the applied paint job. Leave the clear-coat to dry overnight and then display the model as desired.


  • Use a pair of tweezers to handle smaller model parts to avoid fingerprints.


  • Use glue or paints only in a well ventilated area.