Saturday, June 30, 2012

Scale Modelling: Essential Tools of the Craft

Even before I decided what my very first model kit will be considering the entries from my previous blog (Scale Modelling), I went on  building up my basic tools of the craft. It turned out that it would not be as simple as purchasing tool kits from scale modelling shops but it involves also building my own stuff. Below are the basic tools I bought:

1. Tamiya Basic Tool set Scale #74016

The Basic Tool Set from Tamiya contains the basic indespensable tools for both modelling and crafting works. This is a great tool kit for beginners who are starting to get into the hobby.
One Pair of Side Sprue Cutters for Plastic- a small pair of pliers that snips off the part leaving very little of the sprue; very helpful and both saves time
One Angled Tweezers-  makes picking up and positioning very small kit parts a lot easier.
One Small Phillips Screwdriver
One Small Slotted Screwdriver
One Craft Knife
One Metal File- sanding
Handy Plastic Case

Basic Tool Set
Tool Kit items

The most important and versatile tool scale modelers use.  A good knife with a variety of blades should cover the needs of a beginner. It can be used for removing parts from the sprue, cleaning and reshaping kit parts and smoothing filler.

Modelers Knife

3. Sanding materials- blocks, needle files / sanding sticks

Modelers still do a lot of sanding and shaping even with the improved production standards for model kits compared to the the early days of the hobby.  

MFS - Blue Sanding Block 300grit - 4 sided Scale na #005
Sanding Block
MFS Blue Sanding Sponge 220grit #008
Sanding sticks
MFS Super Set of Files and Sponges 9 pieces #010
Sanding Tools
3. Pin Vise

This a hand held and hand powered mini-drill. Together with a set of twist drills it will allow the modeller to drill a variety of sizes of hole through plastic and resin (but not metal).  For plastic, it is better to use a hand drill rather than a motorised drill because the low melting point of plastic means that any motorised drill is more likely to melt through the plastic rather than drill though it and this can make an unsightly mess.  It is also much easier to exercise fine control with a hand drill.

A set of miniature drills in a drill index, along with a revolving head pin vice and a pin vice with drill bit
storage in the hollow end.  Photo copyright 2009 Lesley Shepherd, Licensed to Inc

4. Self-healing Cutting Mats

High quality mat material doesn't leave marks when cut and will not dull blades.Convenient and versatile cutting mat features printed graph, circle, angle and right angle lines for easy reference.

Self-Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
Above are the  essential tools of the scale modelling craft which should be sufficient for the beginner to complete the first few models.  There are a host of other tools available which will extend the abilities of the modeller and these can be added to the tool box as necessary.  
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