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Assembly Required: Building Model Cars

Assembly Required: Building Model Cars

The winter months are approaching and it is getting colder in the garage.  That means there will be a lull in car projects for a while.  Even though I have a powerful kerosene heater in the garage, it’s just not fun working in that environment.  I need a car project that can take place indoors.

I have a set of wheels that I want to paint, but that’s problematic in the basement.  There is a great exhaust fan down there, but the toxic fumes make my wife unhappy.  Go figure!

Looking For Inspiration

Many of my project ideas come from searching through my garage or basement.  I recently built a rolling shop stool after tripping over my old, tippy garage stool.  That was a fun build, which I detailed below.

Related articleDIY Rolling Shop Stool

This newest indoor project idea came from a basement reorganization.  After moving some bins around the basement, I found an old car model that I never started.  It is a 1970 ½ Camaro Z28 that I received in 2009 (I think it was a gift).  The box was open, but the build did not begin.  Until now.

a lot of orange model parts

Some Assembly Required

As you can see from the picture above, a typical car model has a lot of pieces.  They are all molded in a single color (usually white) and come with good instructions for assembly.  Kits for younger builders may be snapped together, but most require a special glue.  

Building these model kits is pretty easy with the included instructions, however, to do it right you should paint the subassemblies first.  That takes a bit more time and planning, but that also adds to the overall satisfaction of the build.

model car subassemblies

Take Your Time

When I jump into any project, I tend to devote full attention to it until it is completed.  For something like model car building, the journey is worth more than the destination.  After all, this is a winter project designed to provide a steady flow of enjoyment over the dark months.

project table with model pieces and tools

I have a corner in my basement set up for projects, which is perfect for model car building.  I can work on it a little at a time without disrupting the lives of the other living beings in the house.

This arrangement has really worked out for me, and has allowed me to slow down to focus on the little details.  That is, after all, the purpose of a hobby.  

In fact, this is a great way for anyone interested in the car hobby to get started.  Other ways are discussed in the article below.

Related articleThe Car Hobby: Find Your Thing

Minor Challenges

It’s been a long time since I built a car model, so I did not have any supplies (other than some small paint brushes).  Luckily, a really good hobby shop is only three miles away. I picked up small jars of paint for the little parts, some spray paint for the body and plastic model glue.  

Side note on the glue:  when I was a little kid, we needed a parent to be able to buy the glue. Some kids were huffing the stuff for a high, but the chemicals in the glue were known to cause respiratory failure, brain damage, seizures, kidney and liver damage, and some other nasty issues.  Don’t sniff the glue!

Midway through the build, I discovered that all of the chrome pieces (bumpers and grill) as well as the glass (windshield and taillamps) were missing.  Either I lost them 14 years ago or they never were included with the kit.  Luckily, I found a source on eBay that sells spare parts.  It wasn’t cheap, but I received those spare pieces quickly.

green car rear view

Final Thoughts & Questions

I’m really glad I found this model kit in my basement, as it gave me a couple of weeks of entertainment.  It also wet my whistle for another build, which I will start after the holidays.  My local hobby shop has a huge selection of models, so I’ll have to spend some time there browsing the shelves.

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions. Please email me at, or message me through the Vehicle Nanny Instagram or Facebook pages.

Want to learn more about me?  Go to this article:   Who’s Your Nanny?

About The Author


  1. Dave Rhinehart

    I have a model of my 1977 camaro rally sport. I didn’t build it myself. I found a guy that builds models as part of his therapy. He did a fantastic job on it.

    • Bill Taylor

      That’s cool on two fronts. I like the therapy aspect of the build, and the fact he built your car.


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