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Old 12-15-2004, 10:06 PM   #1
willimo
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Modelling equipment list

Modeling tool list:

Beginner: You can get away with building your first kit for under $60 if you are careful and don’t have expensive taste in kits. If that sounds like a lot, don’t fret, most of these materials will last you a very long time. Also, a lot of tools can be found around the house. Now, don’t expect everything to, but you’ll probably find things like the hobby knife, white glue, and super glue in your home already.

Cutting:
· X-acto (or equivalent) knife. This is the quintessential tool in your box. This is absolutely necessary for removing parts off the sprues before assembly, removing flash, cutting out decals, and just about everything else. You will find it to work better if your blades are often changed, fresh, and sharp.
· Emory board. A cheap nail file, you can use this to clean flash on parts and the body. These are fantastically cheap and amazingly useful.

Adhesives:
· Plastic cement. This is a chemical solvent used to attach plastic parts to each other. It melts the surface of the two parts at the seam, and as it sets and cures, the plastic is joined as if it were one part. The type in a toothpaste-type tube is rubbish, get the thin, clear kind in a bottle and use the brush in the cap to apply it.
· Superglue. Some small parts, or parts that do not stay on their own long enough for cement to set, may be attached with superglue instead of cement. Be warned – superglue joints are nowhere near as strong as a cured cement joint, and super glue vapors tend to “fog” parts, so use as little as possible, and only if you must. Remember, a tiny bit goes a long way, “a little dab’ll do ya.” You will find the type available at the hobby shop will be superior to the type at the drug store.
· White glue. White glue, or any clear-drying glue (there are some hobby specific types that dry super duper clear) is useful when attaching clear parts like headlight lenses and so forth. Most people have this around the house.

Paint work:
· Primer. There are as many primers as there are paints, so be sure to use a primer that is compatible with the paint and the plastic. If you spray hot paints, like automotive lacquers, you will need a primer that can resist chemical reaction, but you also need to be sure to test it on scrap (sprues with parts cut off are perfect) to make sure the primer does not react with the plastic. If you are using a less harsh paint, like an acrylic, you can use a less harsh primer. Priming is necessary to prevent most chipping, runs, and can help provide a uniform surface, which is great for paint.
· Spray paints. Spraying the car body will be far less frustrating than painting it by hand with a brush. Model paints from a bottle tend to not level well after brush application, so a smooth glossy surface is easier to achieve with sprays. Not that sprays make it easy, just easier. You may want to use a spray paint for your interior too, since it is also a large surface. A flat, or matte, paint will suite the interior better.
· Detail brushes. You will need 3 or 4 small brushes for detail painting. You will want a rather large one for painting a larger part, and tiny ones for small details. There’s no need to go overboard at first, as most people’s first set of brushes don’t last very long.
· Bottle paints. There are many types of paints out there, and as a beginner Acrylic type paint will be more user friendly. They are easier to clean up, fix when you make mistakes, mix, and use in general. They are more expensive however, and the small enamel bottles are cheap to stock up on at the beginning. You will need special thinners and brush cleaners for enamels, though, so it may be a wash in the end. You can get away with just a few to start with. The most used tend to be black, silver, red, white, and gray. When you buy your first kit, many list the colors needed on the box. If you are just trying this out, try to lump colors together. Get one metallic instead of silver, gold, and steel for example.
· Thinner and brush cleaner. Match to paint type selected above. Water works for acrylics, brand-specific thinner is better. Enamel thinner is required for enamels. You shouldn’t need lacquer thinner at the beginner stage.

Other:
· The kit. It needs to be something you are very interested in building. If you are very interested and excited about the kit and its subject, you will be less likely to grow frustrated with it and keep to.
· Workbench. A well lit place away from pets, children, and neglected significant others.

================================

Intermediate: After a few kits under your belt, you will start accumulating tools that you “need.” In addition to the above listed tools, these stand out as being fairly common and important to further the results you get with your growing skills.

Cutting:
· Sprue or side cutters. You will eventually notice that your hobby knife does not do the best job of removing parts from the sprue. There may be pits or scratches on the part after cutting. A specially made sprue cutter works very well, and is also useful for cutting things flush to a flat surface. Only ever use this for cutting plastic, as the cutting surface is very sharp and soft, and nicks easily.
· Needle or jeweler’s files. You can start with one, or a set, but you’ll never be satisfied with the ones you have. These are good for removing flash from odd shaped and sizes places and surfaces. They can also be used for recontouring surfaces and simple modifications.
· Pin vise and tiny drill bits. Often holes for positive location of parts are not big enough, not deep enough, or not there in the kit. Or perhaps there is a mistake in the kit you want to correct, and you need to drill a hole. A pin vise is a small handle with a chuck that will hold very small drill bits (or pins or wire or whatever) and can be used almost as a hand drill. This will become one of your most used tools; you may not think so at first but after you’ve had it for a couple models’ time, you will be amazed at how often it was out on your bench.

Adhesives:
· Epoxy. This is a (usually) two-part glue that must be mixed before application. It has varying set times, from 1 to 15 minutes, and dries very hard and strong. It can replace superglue, and is in fact superior in many cases since it will not “fog” the parts that are bonded.

Paint work:
· Airbrush. You may want your model to be a custom color, which you cannot do with a spray can. You may want to apply small amounts of paint to a very precise place. Whatever your motivation, if brushing isn't cutting it and spray cans are not giving you the control you desire, an airbrush may be the way to go. They can give you very good control over your spray work and can open the doors to a whole slew of new effects and paint work abilities. After learning how to use them properly, they can also help you paint bodies better. However, it is important to note that they are not a painting panacea. If you cannot do an acceptable job with spray cans, it is unlikely that an airbrush can solve your problems, it is just another tool that you will have to master. Another drawback is the significant initial investment, especially considering the price of the compressor. If you are building few models and are on a budget, it may not be an economical option, but building many models with spray cans for each can end up costing a fortune as well.
· Wet-sanding materials. You can get many different tools for this. There are sand papers with fine enough grit to be used for wet-sanding, and there are also hobby specific sanding pads. The sanding pads are various grits from 2400-12000, on a foam pad for support and softness. If you experience bubbles, dust, or orange peel in your paint, these are useful for cutting and polishing these defects out.
· Polish and wax. It is important to note that these are two different things. Polish is a liquid (or paste) with a very, very fine grit suspended in it, and sands the surface just like papers. Wax, on the other hand, is wax that is very fine and meant to fill very fine scratches and create an overall shine and luster. These are not interchangeable, but usually used together for best results.
· Tube type putty. This is a filler-type putty that can be used to fill small cuts, scratches, cuts and dips in a model’s surface. It is important to note that tube type putties are filler only, and not for shaping. They also contain the same chemicals as plastic cement, so applying too much can deform and melt plastic.
· Decal set and solvent. As decal work gets more complex, you will need one or the other of these to help decals settle in to tight places, curve around corners and they help make smooth decal onto the paint. You probably won’t need it if you’re only adding decals for emblems, license plates and instrument clusters, but if you’re ready to tackle a fully colored racecar, you will probably really need this tool. And a lot of patience.

Other:
· Tweezers. Is that small part eluding you? Use some tweezers! There are many kinds, but most people will swear by their self-closing types.
· Clamps and vises. No need to go out of your way to get real expensive tools here, some of the best clips are four for a dollar at the drug store. Anything you can use to hold your model together while glue sets goes here, rubber bands included.

====================================

Advanced: At some point you’ll find yourself wanting more out of a kit. Perhaps you notice mistakes in the kit, or perhaps you want to tackle some custom work. I’ll only list simple custom work tools, as by the time you’re really doing heavy-duty custom work, you’ll know what you want and what you need. These will just get you started.

Simple scratchbuilding supplies:
· Styrene. This is the same plastic that your models are made of. It is available in all sorts of shapes, sheets (plastic card), rod, tube, and structural shapes. You can even get clear or special colors, and a company called Plastruct makes many other shapes in an slicker plastic. It cannot be emphasized enough that this is what you build your custom work up with! Putty is only for smoothing the shapes. You will have greater control when building with styrene instead of slapping putty all over a bumper and spending a week sanding it away, not to mention avoiding the headaches caused by cracking, shrinking, or crumbling putty.
· Epoxy putty. Some may cringe at the inclusion of this as a scratchbuilding supply, as it is often misused and used as a crutch instead of sound construction. However, this is a (usually) two-part material that must be kneaded together. It is useful in large fillets and gaps when scratchbuilding, as it dries very hard, sands similarly to plastic, and doesn’t shrink much.
· Razor saw and miter box. These are used together to cut plastic rod, strip, tube, or whatever shape, square. This is a great advantage when scratchbuilding, and is very like a full size saw and miter box used in carpentry.
· Measuring tools: You will want (need) many measuring tools at this point. One of the most used tools is a metal ruler, as it is both a measuring tool and a cutting edge. A very valuable and neglected tool is an architect’s scale. They have a measuring surface in real inches, as well as to various scales. An architect’s scale sets various increments of an inch to a scale foot, so ½” scale is the same as 1:24 (½” equivalent to 1’= 12”, therefore 1”= 24” or 1:24 scale.). This goes a long way toward transferring measurements. Another very useful tool is a caliper for measuring diameters of circles, or transferring internal and external measurements quickly.
· Is there really any limit?

=================================

This is far from a comprehensive guide. These are just some of the most commonly occurring tools in most modeler’s toolboxes. You may find you never use some of them, or use tools that are not listed quite a bit. As your skills grow, your tools will become more specialized. A lot of modelers go to the extreme, buying and using lathes, decal printers, and so forth. You will realize that there is no real end to all the tools you’ll want, as you will find yourself wanting a new one with pretty much every model you build.
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Last edited by willimo; 12-16-2004 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 12-15-2004, 11:22 PM   #2
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Re: Modelling equipment list

Sticky please.
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Old 12-16-2004, 05:51 AM   #3
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Re: Modelling equipment list (sorted by skill level)

Good job willimo, I see you took some insparation of my idea but it's allright as long as you did a great job
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Old 12-16-2004, 07:43 AM   #4
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Re: Modelling equipment list (sorted by skill level)

Great write up Will. Very informative.

There is also a stage above Advanced, called Obsessive Compulsive.

It involves buying lathes, milling machines and 1:1 cars to fashion your models after.

I can't wait to fall into the OC category!
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Old 12-17-2004, 03:24 AM   #5
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One tip for beginners that I found VERY helpful: Testors sells a kit available at WalMart etc. that has 10 acrylic paints, 3 paintbrushes, 5 pieces of sandpaper in various grits, a knife, a tube of plastic cement, and a container of clear parts cement. I've bought two of these kits at $10 each. Very worth it.
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Old 12-17-2004, 02:20 PM   #6
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Re: Modelling equipment list (sorted by skill level)

this is great...i believe this should go in the FAQ in the "what do I need" section
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Old 12-17-2004, 03:07 PM   #7
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Re: Modelling equipment list (sorted by skill level)

I want to extend a special thanks to Jay for helping with this. I don't want to take full credit for it by being the one that posted it.
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Old 12-18-2004, 01:57 PM   #8
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Re: Modelling equipment list (sorted by skill level)

Yeah, this should definitely go in the faq.
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Old 12-18-2004, 05:37 PM   #9
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Re: Re: Modelling equipment list (sorted by skill level)

There is also a stage above Advanced, called Obsessive Compulsive.

It involves buying lathes, milling machines and 1:1 cars to fashion your models after.

Oh great, I fall into this catagory. I thought i was just over enthusiastic. No wait, I got into scrach building to get the cars I've had.
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Old 12-20-2004, 04:09 PM   #10
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Re: Re: Modelling equipment list (sorted by skill level)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchuberT
Sticky please.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spidereddie
this is great...i believe this should go in the FAQ in the "what do I need" section
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jumpman_Z
Yeah, this should definitely go in the faq.
It's been in the FAQ since moments after it was posted. Ran's thread was added also...
Quote:
Originally Posted by willimo
I want to extend a special thanks to Jay for helping with this. I don't want to take full credit for it by being the one that posted it.
Thanks, but I'm just and editor, at best. A footnote will be fine.
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