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A Beginner's Guide To Model Cars

Educational toys never go out of style, regardless of the variety of video games and other electronic distractions produced over time. When it comes to developing both the creative and technical parts of a child’s mind, an option worth considering is building a scale model. There are several different types of scale models. One of the most popular involves building model cars. A simple visit to a hobby shop or car show may be all it takes to get kids interested in this particular type of activity.

There are several advantages to building a model car. Building a scale model of a car allows kids to build something with their hands, using a variety of tools to create the finished product. Although there are different types of kits to suit a wide range of skills, working with small parts teaches kids to be detail-oriented and to be organized. Some model vehicles allow for more customization, allowing kids to make their own designs or decals. Each part of the vehicle goes to a specific location, educating kids on the importance of reading and following instructions and planning on what to do next.

Model cars are small duplicates of old or existing vehicles. This helps educate kids on the intricate parts of a machine. During this time, parents can help in making the model car, allowing both parties to bond and spend time with each other. The finished piece can be mounted on display, instilling a sense of accomplishment and pride in the child. 


"How To Get Started"

  • A Scale Modeling Guide for Parents: The article gives parents an overview of what the hobby entails, the benefits for kids and adults of different ages and where to start looking for kits and parts. Also featured in the site are different types of tools and materials used in building model cars and techniques in model making.
  • Getting Started in Model Kit Building: This website gives a general overview of the hobby and how to start making car models. It includes tips on how to choose the right kits, what different skill levels mean, the tools needed and the right environment for working.
  • Toy and Model Cars: The Palo Alto Medical Foundation website has devoted a section on making model cars. It includes tips and precautions when working with model kits.


  • RC Car Kit Building Tips: This article from the RC Hobbies website includes a helpful list of tools which are necessary in building a car.
  • Model Making Tools and Equipment: Included in the web page is a basic list of tools used in making scale models in general.
  • Scale Auto Magazine: This online magazine includes a list of how-to articles, kit reviews and an FAQ related to model building. The Scale Auto FAQ features different materials used in model making as well as a brief description on how to use them.
  • Scale Model Corvettes: The Scale Corvettes website features tips and hints on modeling Corvettes, reviews on new and existing kits and references on original Corvettes. Also included in the website is a gallery of the model building process in different phases.
  • Model Car Painting with Real Automotive Paints: The article discusses the advantages of using real car paints over those specifically made for model cars.
  • Tools: Linking Dimensions: JRH Scale Cars features an article on different tools and materials used when working in 1/8 scale models. Also included within the same site is an article on the different types of paint and the effects of each in model building.


  • Auto Hobby Page: The CarNut website features a comprehensive list of information of cars in history. Worth checking out include the index of pictures, car specifications, glossary and vintage magazines among others.
  • A Model Toys Reference: The website features at least 1500 different models of cars and trains. Information is also included about the different varieties of existing models.
  • Free Manuals: Model Motorcars Ltd has offered a list of manuals on different Pocher cars such as the Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce and Fiat. These manuals can be downloaded for free from the link. A museum containing photographs of different Pochers from around the globe has also been established and can be visited for free.
  • Manufacturer Brands: DieCast.org features a wide variety of brands that create realistic models with pictures, descriptions and reviews of the different kits. Also included in the website is a list of FAQs, auctions, forums and many more.
  • Model Car Tips: Learn to Build a Realistic Plastic Model Car: The website contains comprehensive information on how to build realistic model cars. Included are information for tools and materials, preparation techniques, building, painting, masking, detailing and much more.
  • Junior Central: During the 1950s-1960s, model cars resembled and functioned in the same way Go Karts do today. These vehicles were used as promotional tools to entice families to come to the dealership. Featured on the website are a number of these realistic duplicates as well as parts for recreating some of the vehicles featured.
  • 1906 Mama and Baby REO: The Baby REO is a realistic and working miniature measuring ¼ of the original vehicle. Both the original and the Baby REO can be viewed from the RE Olds Transportation Museum.
  • Custom Built Model Cars: The website features a gallery of custom made model cars in 1/43 scale. Some of these models have been recognized by organizations such as the Durham Classics among others.

"Organizations and Societies"

  •  International Plastic Modelers’ Society: The IPMS/USA is a branch dedicated to serving hobbyists within the United States.
  • Association of Professional Model Makers: The APM is an international organization which caters to model makers from all industries.
  • National Retail Hobby Stores Association: The NRHSA is a national organization which includes hobby stores in the United States. Consumers can search through the list of companies offering different types of kits.
  • Hobby Merchandiser: Considered the oldest trade magazine for the hobby industry, the website features a few articles from the print version. The magazine features reports and reviews of new products and editorials on anything that is related to creating model vehicles.
  • Internet Craftsmanship Museum: Features a variety of craftsmen and hobbyists from all around the world. Included in the website are pictures of miniature projects highlighting the details of each vehicle. 

"Recommended Reading"

  • Model Building as a Hobby: This PDF file published by the Ohio State University delves into the history and development of model building through the years. It has grown from a fad into an educational pastime.
  • Fine Scale Modeler: This online magazine features a number of how-to articles, kit and product reviews, videos and a store where hobbyists can buy their materials.
  • Brian’s Model Cars: The website features news and reviews on new model kits, projects and events. There are also tutorials available to help hobbyists learn more about the craft.
  • Tips and Tricks: The Model Cars Online website includes techniques on making better model cars such as replacing glass, applying a two-tone paint finish and changing other details.
  • Modeler Site: The website features a variety of articles on how to build different kinds of model vehicles. Included are techniques on building, editorials, back issues of the magazine and manuals on different models of vehicles.

Auto safety is a major concern in the United States because every year, thousands of people get killed in car accidents while millions get injured. In 2008, more than 37,000 people were killed in car crashes and more than 2.3 million people were injured in traffic crashes. In the same year, close to 12,000 people were killed as a result of drunk driving, which is found to cause about 33 percent of all accidents in the United States. It’s further found that 34 percent of fatalities attributed to drunk driving involved drivers from 21 to 24 years of age, 31 percent from 25 to 34 years of age, and 25 percent from 35 to 44 years of age. In 2008, speeding caused about 30 percent of all fatal accidents. Driver distraction caused 6,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries over the same period. The use of cell phones while driving is one of the major causes of distraction. Generally, inclement weather caused about 10 percent of car fatalities. To stay safe on the road, it’s essential to learn and practice various car safety measures.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on features, weather, defensive driving, breaking down, car accidents, vehicle recalls and defects, electronic devices, and driving under the influence.

Car Safety: Features

Car Safety: Weather

  • Driving in the Rain: Excellent safety guide for driving in the rain.
  • Winter Driving: Learn how to stay safe while driving in winter conditions.
  • Hail Safety: Safety recommendations on hail safety for various situations, including driving.
  • Driving in Winter: The California Highway Patrol offers tips on safety driving in rain, snow, sleet, high winds, and fog.
  • Black Ice: Find out how to drive safely on black ice.
  • High Winds: A few tips to help you drive safely when high winds blow.
  • Fall Driving: Covers various safety driving concerns like fog, frost, wet leaves, and sun glare.

Car Safety: Defensive Driving

  • Vision Conditions: Learn more about vision to improve driving safety.
  • Safe Driving: The Michigan State Police offers driving tips to keep safe in various situations.
  • Defensive Driving: Master these techniques to become a master of defensive driving.
  • Being Followed: Shows what to do if you are being followed while driving.
  • Carjacking: Follow these tips to avoid being carjacked.
  • Road Rage: Find out about road rage and how to avoid it.

Car Safety: Breaking Down

  • What to Do: A guideline on what to do when the car breaks down.
  • Changing a Tire: Step-by-step guide for changing a car tire.
  • On the Highway: Learn about what to do when the car breaks down on the highway.
  • Stuck in Snow: General information on winter driving safety with section on what to do when the car is stuck in the snow.
  • Stranded in Winter: A guideline to stay alive and warm while being stranded in snow.
  • Safe Winter Driving: Vital information on winter driving safety including a section at the end on how to avoid being poisoned by motor vehicle exhaust gas when you are stuck in a car.

Car Safety: Car Accidents

  • What to Do: Some instructions of what to do after a car accident.
  • Car Accident Knowledge: It’s important to know how to react in car accidents.
  • Accident Reporting: Complete resource to help you report a car accident.
  • Collisions: The page provides safety tips after a car accident including tending to the injured.
  • 911: Call this number in case of car crashes, especially when there are casualties.
  • After Auto Accident: The brochure offers advice on what to do after an auto accident including not moving the injured.

Car Safety: Vehicle Recalls and Defects

  • Motor Vehicle Recalls: A comprehensive resource center with search engines for vehicle recalls, tire recalls, vehicle equipment recalls, and more.
  • Safety Complaints: Find out how to file a safety complaint for your vehicle.
  • Car Safety: A place to search safety ratings for motor vehicles and accessories.
  • Recalls & Defects: The most authoritative source on motor vehicle recalls and defects.
  • Lemon Law: Many FAQs on the topic.
  • Vehicle Recalls: The EPA provides information on present and past vehicle recalls.

Car Safety: Electronic Devices

  • Distracted Driving: Read about facts and statistics of distracted driving.
  • Mobile Phone Use: Highlights the dangers of using mobile phones while driving with recommendations to reduce the risks.
  • Laws: Find out about laws governing cell phone usage and texting in various states.
  • As Bad As Drunks?: The study postulates that cell phone usage while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.
  • Texting: The NPR outlines the dangers and risks of texting while driving.
  • Distractions: The brochure covers various sources of distractions like cell phones, mp3 players, ipods, and so on.
  • Deadly Distractions: An overview of many distractions in daily driving including radio and music.

Car Safety: Driving Under the Influence

  • Drugged Driving: The National Institute on Drug Abuse provides information and statistics on drugged driving.
  • DUI: A study on the prevalence of Driving Under the Influence in young persons.
  • DUI Laws: Learn about the laws pertaining to DUI in the State of Kentucky.
  • Drinking & Driving: The page provides information and solutions on drunk driving.
  • Drunk Driving: The nonprofit is dedicated to the education and prevention of drunk driving.
  • Just One Night: A PBS program to educate people on the dangers of drinking and driving.
  • Fact Sheet: Queensland Police presents comprehensive information on drug driving.
  • Drugs & Driving: Come here to find out about the effects of drugs on driving.
Matt Robertson's small picture
Article by
Matt Robertson
Matt is the Managing Partner at Leland-West Insurance Brokers, Inc. He started with the firm while still a college student, way back in 1984. According to Matt his only remaining hobby is Motorsport ... because its all he can afford ("will work for tires"). Reach him at matt@lelandwest.com