o Getting magnifying headgear makes a world of difference!
o I use a pane of glass that I lay down masking tape strips upon, which are then painted the base color of say an airplane model. Then, using a metal straight edge, I cut thin precise strips with my sharpest knife. The strips are used for airplane canopy frames, seat belts, and other 'bands' or 'straps'that aren't so easy to 'get straight' by other means. Once attached (it sticks - it's tape...) , these 'frames' are sealed when the finished model 'clear coat' is applied. This is very effective for complex canopies, belts, straps etc.. When done, use a razor blade to scrape the paint from the pane for re-use.
o FUTURE floor wax or similar products have an acrylic in them but otherwise have the consistency of water when wet. I put a few drops of say blue or green food color in the mix, dip my canopies and other clear parts in the solution,let dry over nightafter fixing the masking-tape bands etc....and voila! tinted canopies , windows and such. The FUTURE provides an extra oomph to canopies - a special lustre. Cheap. Easy. Effective.
o Take those platicized wire-tyers that twist up your bread loaves - you know those little twisty-thingys on so many bakery products - and burn the plastic off with a match or lighter kids have mom or dad HELP WITH THIS - no 'playing with fire', okay?. The remaining wire is soft, pliable but holds its shape. Great for miscellaneous handles, straps, 'wiring', cockpit details, antennae, buckles - and it's free! Also make great 'hooks' and 'conduit'.
o Endless uses for GEM-clips paper clips- gun barrels, pitot tubes, struts - just get 'em HOT
and and stick 'em in the plastic.
o Use modeling clay for ballast weight. Form the clay into the nose or engine nascelles, or anywhere you want to feel the weight of your work - Press lead fishing weights into the clay for added heft. Makes your model sit right and feel like it's got some umph to it. The clay adds weight and also secures the lead-weights so they don't get loose as time goes by ...
o I save anything 'tiny' - burned out LEDs, flashlite bulbs from little MAG -lite -type flashlights, as well as clear plastic 'bubbles' and 'packing boxes' that can be used for scratch-building all kinds of stuff - windshields, windows, flaps, landing gear doors ... even scraps of old telephone wire in black or red or white to use for cockpit cables, engine hoses - you can even strip the colored insulation from the wire if you're careful - makes great fuel lines and hoses. It's all in an old kit box... scraps -
o Scraps of window screen make great engine and other 'grilles'. just cut to fit and glue 'em in there! Bits of screening wire are also great for fine, stiff wires: sights, buckles, clips, latches, hinges, do-dads ...
o I build my models as cleanly and completely out of the box FIRST, then I rough them up if desired. Most of my planes I keep 'clean' and spray with several coats of clear gloss for that 'wet' aircraft look. Most of my vehicles get several coats of flat finish with one last overall 'clear' NOT gloss
for a great finish. You can always 'dirty up' a perfectly clean model. The other way 'round doesn't always work so well?