Model Construction Services

There is a wide variety of comercial plastic or metal construction kits available on the market today. These cover a wide range real life, or 'prototype' subjects, such as trains, aircraft, ships, military vehicles, cars, trucks, motorcycles, buildings and figures, and are available in a variety of sizes or scales. Although they can vary in quality, accuracy and level of detail, they are generally intended to produce, when competently assembled, an at least reasonably accurate scale model of their prototype. Except for most model trains, which are usually intended to run on a suitable model railway, these kits are intended for static display, perhaps on a shelf or in a display case; they are not toys, and are generally too fragile to stand up to rough play without sustaining damage.

Perhaps you want one of these models – or even a collection – to display on your shelf, or to run on or fit into your layout:

  • Maybe you're interested in a particular area of military history or equipment, such as aircraft, ships or vehicles, and want one or more representative models to grace your bookshelf or display case.
  • Maybe you're interested in a particular type of vehicle, such as trucks, motorcycles, or racing, fast or classic cars, and want one or more representative models to grace your bookshelf or display case.
  • Maybe you want a model of a treasured car or other vehicle that you either currently own, or fondly remember from your past.
  • Maybe you're interested in a particular area of maritime history or type of ships or boats, and want one or more representative models to grace your bookshelf or display case.
  • Maybe you want to increase the variety of rolling stock running on your model railway layout beyond that available from the ready-to-run market.
  • Maybe you want model buildings, structures and/or vehicles for your railway layout to provide a realistic setting for running your collection of trains.
  • Maybe you're a fan of a particular film or TV series or genre, and want one or more representative models to grace your bookshelf or display case.

In all of these cases, maybe you lack the time, skill, or simply the inclination to build the model(s) yourself to a sufficiently high standard. This is where Aardstorm Models comes in: I can use my extensive model making experience to build, paint and finish the model of your choice, to the standard you require. If the model you want is not currently available as a kit I may still be able to help; if a kit for a similar prototype is available I may be able to modify it to produce the exact model you want, for example by fitting a commercially available conversion kit or accessories intended for the purpose, or even by combining parts from two or more different kits. For some subjects (mainly buildings and similar structures) I can also build your chosen model from scratch; from plastic sheet and other accessories.

In addition to constructing your model, I can also provide a number of options to help you to display it effectively, from a simple base to a complete diorama or even model railway layout. See the Display Options page for more details.

If you have a specific model in mind, please enquire or request a quotation for further detail about what I can do for your specific model. The rest of this page gives more detail about various aspects of my model construction service that are applicable to most types of model; the other pages in this section give more details that are relevant to specific types of model, together with a summary of the main points from this page. Also see the How To Order page for full details of how to order your model(s) from me.

Build Quality

I will normally take great care to remove casting and mould marks and fit, fill and finish all (visible) joints to make them as invisible as possible in the finished model – although I cannot guarantee to eliminate such marks entirely. Depending on the quality of the kit your model is to be based on, this can take a considerable amount of time, and therefore add significantly to the cost of producing your model. Therefore, if you are not too worried about such imperfections and want to reduce the cost of construction you are welcome to request that your model be built 'out of the box', with only minimal fitting and finishing, when you request a quotation.

Build Options

Many kits are supplied as standard with options to construct them in different ways. For example, additional parts may be supplied for fitting as alternatives in order to cover different prototypes, or parts or sub-assemblies maybe fitted in different positions. The range of options is then extended in many cases by the availabilty of accessories and/or conversion kits from other manufacturers (or sometimes the same manufacturer), either to increase the range of different prototypes covered, or to improve on the level of detail for the standard kit.

Some kits also provide features or panels that are intended to be moveable or removable in the finished model, for example to reveal additional internal detail. Such features inevitably result in excessively large gaps around them in the closed or covered state, or unsightly hinges. Therefore, if you do not wish to retain the (re)moveability of such features in your finished model, I can improve its appearance by permanently fixing them in the closed/covered position, and then fill the gaps to match the rest of the model.

Some kit manufacturers represent the joints (gaps) between panels in the prototype as raised ridges rather than recessed grooves. I can therefore improve the appearance of the finished model by carefully removing the moulded ridges, then restoring the panel detail by scribing appropriate grooves into the model's surface.

Beyond these 'standard' build options, if the model that you want is not covered by readily available kits and accessories, I may also be able to produce it by combining parts from two or more standard kits. This may require considerable preliminary research to find candidate kits to work with, and assess the feasibilty of combining them. If you are unable to do this, you are welcome to commission an initial research project from me; see below for details.

Where your model is based on commercially available kits and/or accessories, you also have the option of purchasing them yourself, and supplying them to me for construction, or I can purchase them on your behalf. The latter option has the advantage that I can contact the supplier directly should there be a problem with missing or damaged components, while the former option will allow you to examine the instructions to help you select which build and finishing options you want me to implement.

You will need to specify exactly which options you wish me to use before I start working on your model. You should also give an indication of which options you are likely to require when requesting a quotation, particularly where these will have a significant effect on the amount of work I will need to put into constructing your model. In some cases I may not be able to give a firm quotation until I have the kit(s) and accessories in my possession. In these cases I will give you a provisional quotation, then firm it up (and request your approval) just before starting work.

Finishing Options

Just as many kits include options for constructing them in different ways, even more provide instructions and decals or transfers for painting and finishing them to represent different specific prototypes. The range of finishing options is further expanded by the availability of alternative decal sets from other manufacturers, either for specific kits or as generic sets, for example for a specific nation's armed forces or a specific railway company at different periods. You will therefore need to specify which colour scheme and decals you want me to apply to your model. Although I don't need precise details in order to produce a quotation, I do need an indication of the complexity of the colour scheme you are likely to choose, since highly complex schemes will take a lot more time to produce than simple ones.

In addition to the basic colour scheme, I can also apply a final finish to your model to represent the degree of use the prototype being modelled has seen. This can range from a pristine, 'straight out of the factory' finish, through to a heavily-used, extremely dirty, grimey and rusty, even damaged in some way. The degree of such 'weathering' you require for your model will significantly affect my price: the heavier the weathering, the more time it will take to produce. You should therefore specify this when requesting a quotation. A pristine or lightly weathered finish is likely to be most appropriate for a model that is intended for display on a simple base, whereas heavier weathering is likely to be necessary for a model to realistically fit into a complete diorama.

Research Projects

Where you want a model of a specific prototype, and this is not covered by a standard kit or associated commercial accessory packs, substantial research is likely to be required into exactly what the prototype looked like, and how to produce it. This is particularly true where you want me to build a model for you either from scratch, or as a combination of two or more standard kits. This research is likely to require searching books and magazines for information, and possibly also libraries and picture archives. If a suitable prototype still exists, and is publicly accessible (perhaps in a museum), then it could also involve visiting it to take photographs, notes and measurements. You can do this research for yourself, and supply the information to me, or you can commission me to help you, or do it for you.

If you decide that you want my help with the research for a specific model, this is best handled as a separate, pre-construction research project, for which I will charge £12 per hour, plus any travelling costs.