Uptown Automotive Hobby Shop
The Biggest Little New and Used Car Showroom in Central New York

Model Building Tips


Having difficulty getting a wheel to fit inside a rubber tire?
Try soaking the tire in hot water. This will make the tire more pliable, and it should then allow the wheel to fit easier.

Having difficulty twisting the cover off of a paint jar?
Try placing the jar under a faucet, and running hot water over the cover. (Remember science class? Heat expands.) The cap should remove without much effort.

Confused by the various shades of black paint (gloss, flat, matte, semi gloss)?
Take a piece of scrap white plastic, or a piece of sprue, and dab a sample of each, (leaving a space in between each) on the plastic, and leave your sample on your work bench or building table as a reminder. You can refer to it as you are building a model, to help you determine which shade to use for a given application. For example, during the "muscle car" era, many cars had flat black grilles. To simulate the openings in such a grille, one might use gloss black in contrast to the flat black grille. Gloss black also gives a realistic appearance to a tailpipe, or carburetor air filter opening; conversely, flat black may be used to simulate "soot" on the inside of a tailpipe. EXPERIMENT!

Can't find "glass" for that kit-bashed, scratch built, or extensively modified model?
Clear sheets of "plastic" are available in various thicknesses from Plastruct, and Evergreen, and there are other options as well. Plastic used under shirt collars, or in display packaging of many household, clothing, food, and scale model (imagine that!) products. For curves and other than flat shapes, some bubble, or blister, packages work well. Try to find clear plastic (some appears milky) and remember it can be waxed if needed, to remove scratches.

Have problems installing window "glass" in your models?
Use white glue (Elmer's, Testors, etc.). White glue dries clear, AND, before it dries, can be removed with hot water. There is also available a small tool called a "parts placer", which attaches to parts by suction, and enables accurate, relatively hassle free, placement of windows and small parts, keeping glue away from fingers, and fingers out of the way. Check with your local hobby dealer, or order one from us.

Jim Amado: The plastic surgeon, builder, collector, writer.
page updated 1/5/2019