Testors model paint tips for better results

Testors is a brand that’s been around for decades. It’s by far the most common brand of model paint for hobbyists. Here are my Testors model paint tips to reduce frustration, give you better results, and save you money. After all, a hobby should be enjoyable, not frustrating.

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Department 56 vs Lemax

Department 56 vs Lemax is a battle between the two biggest names in holiday villages. There are a lot of similarities between the two brands, but the differences may matter to you. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering one or the other.

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What scale are Hot Wheels cars?

What scale are Hot Wheels cars?

What scale are Hot Wheels cars, you ask? Unfortunately it varies a bit. They tend to be a bit less than 1:64. But scale isn’t Hot Wheels’ objective. Fitting in the package is. That means the size of Hot Wheels cars is between 2.5 and 3 inches, depending on what looks right for the prototype model. That’s when a prototype even exists. So it can take some homework to figure out the actual scale of any given model. Read more

What scale are Matchbox cars?

What scale are Matchbox cars, you ask? Unfortunately it varies a bit. Nominally they’re around 1:64 scale. But scale isn’t Matchbox’s objective. Fitting in the package is. That means the size of Matchbox cars is between 2.5 and 3 inches, depending on what looks right for the prototype model. So it can take some homework to figure out the actual scale of any given model.

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Spray painting tips to paint like a pro

I’ve gathered a lot of spray painting tips over the years but I’ve never seen more than 10 collected in one place. Spray paint is a tool, and using it is a skill you can learn. With a bit of practice, you can get enviable results and make the object you’re painting look better than new.

Whether you’re painting something for your house or for your hobby, here are more than 20 spray painting tips to help you paint with the best of them–in the order you’re likely to need to use them in your projects.

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Department 56 scale: The definitive guide

Department 56 scale: The definitive guide

The Department 56 product line is rather extensive, but there are items they don’t produce and likely never will. If you want to complete your village with other items, or use Department 56 in other settings, such as a train layout, then scale might matter to you—and “Department 56 scale” is undefined. Here’s how to make sure the things you want to use together will go together, size-wise.

The answer, by Department 56’s own admission, is that it varies. But since I see the question come up again and again, I’m going to tackle it. It varies, but there’s a method to it the madness.

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A collection of old photographs to help your model-making

It’s hard to make models of old buildings without knowing what they looked like in the past. Over a period of about 30 years, Charles Cushman, an exceptionally gifted amateur photographer, took about 14,000 slides of everyday life, mostly in color. After his death in 1972, his family donated the slides to Indiana University, which digitized the collection and put it online. Key in what you’re looking for–buildings, automobiles, people, whatever–and you can study photos taken from 1939 to 1969. Then you can make your people, buildings, or cars look like they did during the time period you’re after. If you like a particular city, you may even be able to find pictures of that city in the collection.

I love driving through the older parts of St. Louis and imagining what the city looked like in the past, but sometimes it’s not easy to imagine what’s behind the boarded-up windows, and what the streets and sidewalks would look like with people milling around. Seeing the Cushman photos makes it easier to imagine what the buildings that survive today looked like in their glory days.

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