Every modeler who cares about this hobby should keep one or two of
Revell/Monogram's SnapTite kits on hand just to give away to youngsters.
These kits are well engineered and allow a child to taste that sweet feeling
of putting a finished one on the shelf without experiencing undue frustration.
These kits may or may not bring in enough kids to "Save the Hobby", but
they are a darn fine effort and Revell/Monogram is deserving of our support.
My daughter's first modeling experience came when she was a toddler.
I had just put the top wing on an Airfix Tiger Moth and gone into the
next room. I was followed soon after by Cina Renee holding the top wing
in one hand and the rest of the model in the other with a trail of struts
on the floor behind her:
"Air Pane Dada"
"Uh, (oh S#$%), Here Honey, let Daddy help you with that"
And she is the ONLY living being on the planet who could do that and
attempts at modeling over the years were frustrated by not yet developed
powers of visualization and coordination. Since Dad's attention was her
goal rather than the model, she was happy enough to pester me as I built
her models. Later as reading skills developed, studying the plans and
hunting a specific part on the sprue became her job. Sprue nippers have
always been popular. Now that she is eight years old, she is getting to
the stage where she can see a finished project in her mind's eye and has
enough (barely) attention span to build a few steps at a time before getting
distracted. Her tastes in models are broad, she has a completed Nie 17,
B-25, VW Beetle, RMS Titanic and a Visible Woman in her collection. Oh
yes and a Howard Ike with the loudest paint scheme you've ever seen occupying
an honored perch on Grandpa's book shelf. These were all done with varying
amounts of "Help" from Dad.
Cutting the pieces from the sprue
What is satisfactory to a kid may send the IPMSer in you over the edge,
but remember just getting it together to the point of decals, stickers
in the case of SnapTite kits, is their goal. Filling seams is not on the
average kid's list of fun things to do. Sticking on "cool" decals and
making jet noises as they fly the finished model around the house are
a kid's priorities. Keep this point in mind and focus your activities
toward these ends and you will have that kid associating models with fun
for the rest of her or his life.
IM and Revell/Monogram have provided us with an F/A 18 SnapTite kit.
This will be her first one all by herself. The rules of engagement are
Dad can tell and show how , but Cina does it. She already likes the markings.
Snapping the pieces into place
The kit consists of two sprues with 16 pieces molded appropriately enough
in Navy Blue. One clear canopy, a sheet of peel & press markings and an
instruction sheet. The box is printed on all sides and the back is printed
full of information on the airplane and the Blue Angels. Bilingual for
our Canadian pals. It is listed as 1:72 scale and has recessed panel lines
and nice detail. This kit can be made into as fine a scale model of the
F/A 18 as the kid's talents will allow.
Construction began with the cutting of the parts from the sprues. "Flat
side of the nippers to the part dear." "Mind you don't pinch your fingers".
A modicum of parts cleanup followed and then began the painting of the
tires, L/G legs and pilot. Here I allowed her to use water cleanup acrylic
I decided that she was not ready to be let loose with CA or other glues,
so we built this one glueless as advertised.
She followed the steps depicted on the instruction sheet and had no
problems finding where things went. Dad did need to help out with a little
muscle power to get a couple of the "hard" parts to snap fully into place.
This is a well engineered kit, the parts fit well, the instructions
are simple to follow and children do have a good time building and playing
with the model. With just a little guidance and attention from a parent
this is a fun project that rewards patience, following instructions and
attention to detail in just the right measure.