We al started by gluing together our first model more or less according the directions and, if we were lucky we had a jar of paint, gave it an all over paintjob. During the following kits we became better in the paintjob and the models became looking better. Then we noticed that the original had an antenna that wasn't on the actual model, so we made our own. That was the beginning of the hunger for reality.
In the old days we had to rely on books and magazines, often with bad pictures, and not meant for detailing models. To find this information we searched bookstores, libraries, and some of us just wrote a letter to the manufactures of the real thing (I can recall that British Aerospace was particularly kind for his fans with beautiful pictures of their aircraft).
Today we have internet. If we want to know a detail, a different version of an aircraft, a paint scheme or the right shape on an air intake, we can find it on the internet. There are specialized websites on paint, on markings, on cockpit details, walk arounds, forums with endless treads on the right diameter of an ECM-antenna, etc.
But lets not forget the old fashioned books and magazines. Every serious modeler has a small librarary of books on just the one aircraft. And let us be honest, going through a book is more relaxing than endless surfing on the web.
To find a particular book isn't that hard anymore. Here are some tips were to find good reference books:
Of course the bookstore, but most of them just don't have specialized books on just that one subject.
- The library, but they have often the same problem as the bookstore.
- Specialized bookstores, there is a start. Just search for Aviation books on the web.
- Amazon. Yes, here you can find just every book you want.
But the problem with all the above is mostly the price. You want something special, so pay a special (high) price.
To save money and still find the right books, here is what I do.
- Go to second hand book markets. Here you will almost always find a stand of someone who loved aviation but is now selling his collection. Or just that one stand that doesn't have a clue on the emotional value of that Boulton Paul Defiant fighter book.
- Ebay. There are so many sellers that just want to get rid of there book collection. Just place a bid and wait.
- Check in with your local model supplier and regularly and sooner or later there will be a book he sells with a discount.
- Wherever you are on the world, walk in to every bookstore you see. If you do that long enough you will get a good routine in where to look and what to look for.