Kit-bashing Models

Combining parts from other kits to make something new

Kit-bashing: Basics

If you know anything about how ILM did the Star Wars models back in the day, then you know that they combined parts from hundreds of model kits...a process called kit-bashing. Kit-bashing is different than scratch-building in that instead of building parts, you are trying to find a place for parts (which can sometimes be just as hard). Luckily, you don't need as many tools. Instead, for kit-bashing, you just need a bucket load of parts.

Most of the Star Wars models used a lot of tank parts. These days, I love to use Dragon "smart kit" parts, since those kits usually have A LOT of parts...even hundreds of unused extras. Tank parts are good for hard edges, engines, and adding that industrial look. Airplane parts are great for curved edges, smooth lines, canopies, and bomb parts. Oceanic ships are great for antennae, small gun batteries, and large hull pieces. Of course, there's stuff in any kit that you can find some use for. The key is having enough to build whatever you want.

Now, the easiest way to get parts is through used or incomplete kits. People often sell these at model shows, eBay, or you might see them discounted at a local hobby store. You can also try posting on modeling forums asking for spare parts, as many modelers never use the dozens of extra parts that come with many modern kits.

Kit-bashing: Tools

Apart from the Essential Modeling Tools, you will probably want to get some various saws. Since many model parts are molded as large parts, you may need to cut them down in order to get them to fit. A Dremel may help, but you lose a lot of styrene in the process. So, smaller saws are valuable to have on hand.

  1. Zona saws
    • These are the most common, and they come in many sizes and depths.
    • The thin one in the photo has the most teeth and is also the thinnest in kerf (or saw tooth width)
    • The thicker one is more of a general saw that I also use for cutting brass. It is the only saw I use for cutting brass since it does dull the blade over time
  2. Hobby knife saw inserts
    • Many companies make X-acto handle inserts.
    • Currently, I have a set of RB Productions Pico saws, which come in a set of 4
    • These allow very fine removal of detail with minimal damage to the parts

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