great looking models depends on a lot of different tools. Some
tools can make a job so much easier.
basic hobby tools you need starts with the knife. Normally these
all use what is called a #11 blade. A tapered blade with a very
fine edge and fine point. The hobby knife is used to cut model
parts, shape them, trim them, open holes, make holes, make slicing
cuts, and dozens of other uses. It would be hard to build a model
without at least one. Try and choose one with a soft grip that
can be more comfortable.
Metal Foil is popular with model car builders, especially those
that build older 50's and 60's cars which had a lot of chrome.
But Bare Metal Foil is also made in gold, which is good for Lowrider
cars, or NASA kits, such as an Apollo LEM, or anywhere you think
a gold finish is needed. Black chrome is popular when doing black
trim on a car for that modern, all blacked out look, like Special
Ops or something.
Mat cutting boards are an essential tool as well. They are great
for when you use a hobby knife, because they offer a soft backing,
so you can get a more consstant cut. The cutting mats are self
healing, meaning, your cut marks nearly disappear from the surface,
and you can get smooth clean cuts over and over for many years.
The mats come in a variety of sizes, from 8 x 10 to as large as
4 or 5 feet.
tools come in handy when bending photo-etch, which is primarily
produced on flat frets. It's up to you to bend the small parts.
Brass photoetch is a softer metal, and can be bent and minipulated
by hand, but some are stainless steel, and require more force
to bend. A tool to bend photoetch is the only way to get a nice
EVEN bend, especially on large straight parts. Some modelers don't
use photo-etch much, but once you have the tools to get photo
etch to bend to your will, you'll find you will use it more and
more on your model projects.
are a handy tool to have. They can make short work of a model
seam on a project, and can get into many places your fingers can't.
I usualy use them before using the rougher sandpaper because I
feel they are faster, and on a primed model, help me tackle a
seam better. Files come as an assortment: some are flat, some
are rounded, even triangle beveled, so they can be uses in some
unusual places where sandpaper will not work. Hobby files are
also great for cleaning up model parts. A good set of files is
a must have tool.
lighting is essential for building model kits. Especially for
those of us that are getting older. The better you can see what
you're doing, the better your model will look. Some desk lamps
provide much sronger light, and some use a magnifying lense to
work on very small, detailed model parts. I recommend you get
the brightest lamp you can use, or one that will fit in your model
area. (I use two myself to help prevent "shadows" on
are many ways to keep a lot of stuff on your work area, but small
trays and bins can help store a lot of needed things in a small
space. Small trays keep model parts separated, and within arms
reach. But more important, they keep you from accidently loosing
the tiny parts from falling on the floor, never to be seen again.
Or getting crushed or damaged on the work bench while building.
Trays can also hold tools, like glue, paint, tweezers, hobby knives,
and other tools you to keep from moving all around on your workspace.
are so varied, there are probably a million different kinds people
use. It usually breaks down to two kinds.
indoor desk: This is a model work area that's probably inside
the house, maybe a bedroom. That's a bench that's usually much
neater for visiting guests, and a closet may be used for storage.
These typically use quality desks and furniture, meaning, they
won't likely be made out of old pallets and a 55 gallon drum.
If you live in an apartment, especially in the city, where you
can't modify any of the structure, chances are, you have a nice
model desk to work from. These are model desks that usually allow
you to be in a sitting position with a chair.
"outdoor" desk: This is usually in the garage (as mine
is), in a basement, or out in a shed separate from the house.
Anthing goes here, and modelers will make a desk, or bench, out
of whatever materials might be on hand. Most of the benches I
have seen in these locations are higher, and use a stool, and
/ or allow you to stand while modeling (as mine is). Some are
lower and use a chair, but not to many. I like the taller option
because I won't be constantly getting up and out of a chair all
the time. (and if you have back issues, you know what I mean).
It's easier to slide off a stool and get some painting done, or
do some work on another bench (I have 2 for different stages of
type you use, a permanent modeling area allows you to get more
modeling done, with no previous setup. You can come home from
work, sit down, and start modeling right away. Once done, you
can just get up and leave it. So there's a great advantage to
having a specific area set up for building models.
any craft or hobby, it's the tools that get the job done. Start
out small with the basics, and add a tool now and then as you
can afford. You will find that learning how to use more and different
tools will help make your models better and better, and more enjoyable
HERE to see the magnet jig and sheet in action.
magnets, used with a metal pan, can help you line up
parts to be glued as a jig. The magnets will hold them in place
glue dries, and make sure the parts are squared.