Remember, when buying tools that the internet can be your friend. However, do not buy cheap unbranded tools and always check the sellers feedback ratings if buying on Ebay.
List of Essential Tools
The following is a list of the basic tools that you need to complete one of our models to a satisfactory level:
- Scalpel or small craft knife with new blades – We prefer a straight blade, but use a blade that you are comfortable with. Either buy a retractable scalpel/knife or use a cork or other means to protect the blade, and you, when the scalpel or knife is not being used. We use a small sharpening stone to preserve the edge and prolong the life of blades.
- Steel rule – For a straight edge to cut against and fold. A 300mm engineers rule is fine if you are careful, but purpose built cutting edges are safer, if an bit more cumbersome.
- Cutting mat – A4 size is fine but an A3 sized one is better if you have the space for it.
- Tweezers – Fine point ones are good for most uses, but a small selection are handy.
- Engineering Squares – Both 75mm and 150mm sized are recommended. If you think you need only one get the 75mm size.
- Emery Paper/Board – Emery board (used for filing nails) and emery paper is used for straightening the edges of card templates. A useful tip is to glue a strip (75mmx150mm for example) of emery paper onto a 2mm piece of card and use that for sanding things flat by laying it on the cutting mat and moving the item to be sanded across it. We use 240 grade emery, but use the grade you are comfortable with.
- Paint Brushes – Get good quality ones. A size 00 and a size 5 does for all of our needs.
- Damp Cloth – For when the glue does not go just where you want it to.
List of Useful Tools
Although not absolutely necessary, the following tools can help make your modelling experience a lot more pleasant:
- Scissors – Not essential, but we use them for cutting an angle in the paper when wrapping it around the base card to avoid double thickness at the rear of the card. Do not use cheap and nasty ones, buy medical quality with piercing points. They can be obtained relatively cheaply from Ebay.
- PVA Glue Applicator – Although our models can be constructed using a general purpose adhesive and paper glue (UHU and PrittStick for example), our preference is to print on A4 sticky label sheets and use PVA type glue and a precision glue applicator. Such applicators can deliver a small amount of glue in the right place with no or little “collateral damage”. There are a few available, a name to look out for is “Fine Tip”. Alternatively, a syringe and needle of a suitable size and bore could be used, but may be susceptible to clogging. If neither of these solutions appeal to you, then a fine paint brush could be utilised but remember to clean it after use.
- Lighting and Magnification – Again not an essential tool, but it is much easier to work under a good light source and magnification can be really useful for small jobs, especially for older eyes. We use a combined light/magnifier on an angle poise mounting. Once again Ebay is your friend in this matter.
- Vernier Gauge – Useful for measuring the thickness of card stock. Digital one are cheap nowadays, mechanical ones (especially the non-dial type) are even cheaper and more than adequate for this task.
- Wire Cutters – Useful for snipping wire and plastic rod.
- Needle Files – Sets are available on Ebay and useful in all modelling situations.
- Drill Bits and Pin Chuck – 0.7mm, 1mm and 2mm drills are most useful to help detail our models.