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Scale up your skills with the new Haynes Model Builders’ Manual

11th July 2019
Mat Irvine
Wednesday, 26 June, 2019


11th July 2019: The art of model-making is centuries old, but the introduction of polystyrene in the mid-20th century made the ‘plastic construction kit’ accessible to the amateur model-maker.  Today, model-making has evolved into a thriving, worldwide hobby and for some, a life-long career. The new Model Builders’ Manual from Haynes takes the reader on a journey through the evolution of modern model-making and the essential tools and techniques needed for building.

The Model Builders’ Manual offers a comprehensive introduction for those new to model-making, along with expert advice for those already experienced in making models who wish to hone their skills. The manual focuses on ‘plastic scale model construction kits’ and provides down-to-earth information on model making for beginners. 

All subjects for models are covered, from cars and aircraft to figures and animals, and the down-to-earth text is supported by numerous photographs. Expert advice is provided on trickier tasks such as preparing and assembling windows on aircraft models and getting the best from ‘old-stock’ decals. 

The book explores ‘the ideal workshop’ space for hobby model-making; the tools and adhesives required; paint types and application techniques and the wide variety of decals available. As part of this essential section, the author unpacks all the aspects of the build which are not included in the kit, outlining the need for good storage, safe work surfaces – for cutting and clamping – and the best lighting setups.  The book also looks at the growth of multi-material kits, and provides details of non-plastic materials, such as resins, white metal and photo-etch parts, all of which need to be dealt with slightly differently to polystyrene. 

The manual is written by model-making expert, Mat Irvine and offers an enthusiastic perspective. Mat carved out his model-making hobby as a child and went on to become a seasoned professional working within the BBC Visual Effects team and later as a consultant to model companies worldwide.

Mat explained: “The idea of creating models, miniatures or replicas of objects around us is hardly new – its goes back centuries, likely aeons. The 1960s were the real heyday of hobby model making, with many of the model companies growing their catalogues, including kits that are now – half a century on – still available, and despite all the modern tooling techniques since introduced, still make up into excellent models.

“This book aims to be a starter manual for any potential model maker.  I also hope that it makes for a good read about all the associated aspects of model making that could interest a more experienced maker, even enlightening them with a few nuggets of information they might not know about. 

“Even experienced modellers invariably like to look through a ‘basic’ book, to see if there’s anything they could have missed!”

The manual offers insights into the professional world of model-making and provides sections on new manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and details on UK-based divisions of the IPMS, competition and societies. 

The book also features a large selection of historical models making it a wonderful gift for knowledgeable model enthusiasts, collectors and model historians alike. 


Title details

The Model Builders’ Manual is available from priced at £22.99. The book number is H6555. The ISBN is 9781785215551. It is published in July 2019.


About the author

Mat Irvine has been involved with model making over most of his lifetime. He started with small models built from Plasticine, but soon progressed to models in the Airfix catalogue, scouring Woolworths in his local town when new models became available each month. He then moved from ‘amateur’ to ‘professional’, when he joined the BBC Visual Effects Department in his early twenties. Here, the work covered all aspects of special effects, not just model making, though that was an important part, and he designed ‘miniature’ sequences for series such as Doctor Who and Blake’s 7 and science programmes including Tomorrow’s World, Horizon, The Sky at Night, and much more besides. He also worked as Effects Designer for the multi-award winning Edge of Darkness, in which he briefly appears! Mat regularly appeared in front of cameras for Saturday morning programmes such as Swap Shop and Saturday Superstore, demonstrating model-building techniques. He co-presented the design and technology series Techno, and directed the ‘Starman’ episode of the BBC series Future Fantastic, and he has talked on model-making and effects at many conventions, and lectured at several universities. Mat has acted as a consultant with many of the model-making companies around the world. He has written 15 books, a number on model building, and many hundreds of articles for model magazines.

The author is available for interview -



For more information about the book and to request content please contact McCann PR:

Lianne Barnard on 0117 313 9492 or 

Lynsey Wickens on 0117 921 8146 or  

Alternatively, email 


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