Jump to content

As a result of the close-down of the UK by the British Government last night, we have made all the Buy/Sell areas read-only until we open back up again, so please have a look at the announcement linked here.

This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Tramline222

Tool kit - starting again after 30 years - where to begin?

Recommended Posts

I'm returning to aircraft modelling after a 30 year break.  Everything has moved on and basically I realise I need to start over with everything!

 

Obviously, I need tools for plastic modelling but can someone advise me what the best option is to begin a tool kit collection?  

 

What tools do I really need, which tools should I have in my locker and basically is there a good tool kit which I could purchase to begin the task of putting a decent collection together?

Any advice or pointers gratefully received.

 

Many thanks

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sharp knives and decent set of files.  Sanding blocks are useful   Steel rule.  Screwdriver for removing recalcitrant paint lids.  Pretty well everything else helps but not vital.  A minidrill will assist in small household tasks too.  Some would insist on an airbrush.  Over the years I have gathered lots of modelling tools which may be used once but never again.   One tool I do use a lot is a pair of clippers for removing parts from runners; others find them damaging.  Thin masking tape for canopy frames.  Not the kind that comes in decorating stores.  close-up lenses for your eyes.  A sense of proportion for reading model reviews and the internet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard! :clap2:

 

A JLC razor saw is among my 5 most-used tools.

 

Because of my age-appropriate vision, another top-5 is an Optivisor with a #5 lens plate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Oops, fancy forgetting that.   But it must be a fine-toothed thin saw, some available in model shops are too thick.  I had a lovely Swann-Morton one for years.   I've recently bought a multiple pack of saws in different sizes but have thrown away the packaging so no idea whose it was - Hobbycraft is a fairly safe bet.

 

And tweezers.  

 

PS  Eye-dropper for adding thinners in small quantities.

 

PPS  Doesn't it add up quickly?  

Edited by Graham Boak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

When it comes to razor saws I find the RB Production ones superior to the JLC, I do own both. RB Productions.

 

Files I cannot recommend Valorbe Swiss files high enough, not cheap but will last a life time and far superior in cut to most of the cheap sets.

 

A good selection of wet and dry grits , they can be wrapped round/glued to dowels, tongue depressors, aluminium "T" sections, old debit cards and cut to shape. Not a fan of paying for over priced sanding sticks. A nail buffer is worth buying.

 

Flexi files are a good investment for sanding seams on a curve, the abrasive strips are easily made form your wet and dry stock.

 

Scalpels and goody supply of blades, blunt blades are handy for applying filler etc.

 

A pin vice and a set of good micro drills, beware cheap sets that are blunt.

 

A scraper, IPMS do a good set or a suitable sized goose neck  one.

 

Acupuncture needles have many uses especially wrestling with cyanoacrylate glue.

 

A good steel ruler.

 

A ceramic tile for cutting on, mixing stuff can easily be scraped clean and many other uses.

 

Clothes pegs, bulldog clips, crocodile clips, tape, elastic bands plasticine and such like for holding things.

 

Cocktail sticks, paper clips many many uses and with a touch of beeswax on the ends handy for picking up small and fiddly bits.

 

Quality masking tape.

 

Cutting mat.

 

Good lighting and eye kit that allows to see what you are doing.

 

There is a lot of stuff out there but that is some of the stuff I use the most frequently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by dromia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RB Production have some excellent tools and parts. Be sure to bookmark the site.

 

I completely agree with Vallorbe Swiss-cut needle files! They are outstanding! More to the point, you'll get much better results compared to cheap files. Swiss-pattern needle files are available in 0-cut (coarsest), 2-cut (med-coarse), 4-cut (med-fine), and 6-cut (finest). Some people prefer just 2- and 4-cut. But I do like the polished surface that 6-cut can provide. Equalling files are the most important; I find myself using my crossing files quite frequently, too. Here's a good site to explain files. I find a 14cm overall length with a 6.5cm length of cut to be a good size for model building.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if anyone's mentioned it yet, but a set of nippers is an important start to any modelling tool kit.  A single-blade cutting tool is the best type in my experience, and they're available from a number of manufacturers now.  I have a DSPIAE cutter that you can buy from Aliexpress, and these things act more as a guillotine on a flat block, rather than two blades crushing the sprue gate.  The difference in the result is like chalk and cheese, and will ease clean-up of sprue gates a lot.

 

Grab a couple of Swann Morton ferric handled scalpels too, as if you go for a magnetic tool rack, they stick and hang safely away from your groin/foot etc. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Tramline222 said:

I'm returning to aircraft modelling after a 30 year break.  Everything has moved on and basically I realise I need to start over with everything!

 

It has and it hasn't... to be contradictory!  The basics are still the same!     

I have been saying this regarding techniques, but the same applies to tools, if what you use gets results you are happy with, then they are the 'right' tools.

 

Have a read here of the Work In Progress threads,  and see what other use.

 

 

Also, to extent will depend on what and how you are building,  if you are not doing a lot of modifications, then some items are of less use.

If you are going to use a lot of photo etch, then a etch bender maybe a good idea.

 

I still have some items I kept from my youth,  scalpel handles, razor saw, and items I just picked up over the years.

 

Items I use all the time. Note,  many items can be got off ebay cheaply, and for basic tools, in many case they are just fine.   I still use some fine files I got in pound shop years ago.

 

A pin vice with a sewing needle,  great for scribing,  adding drops of superglue and as centre point marker.   

A few pin vices are handy.   I have another with the eye end of the needle,  top clipped off 

 

A set of microdrills.    Cheap set, £3 posted

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/US-PRO-20pc-HSS-Metal-Micro-Mini-Small-Drill-Bit-Set-Metric-0-3mm-1-6mm-2409/301382753809

What I have, and fine for the occasional use I found.

 

Metal mechanical vernier calipers, as the ends of the internal parts can be used to dot out distances (the site swear filter changes the p word) 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/6-150MM-METAL-VERNIER-CALIPER-GUAGE-MEASURING-TOOL-NEW/222176629904

£.3.50 posted

 

a six inch/15cm imperial/metric marked steel rule.

 

superglue.  I just buy multipack from the pound shop.  Get some talc,  mixed with SG makes fast drying filler.  SG on it's own makes a very good fine gap filler, but sand as soon as it hardens, as when fully hard it's tougher than the plastic.

I frequently use tip drops applied with a needle to tack parts into place, and then use the capillary action of Tamiya Extra Thin to make the join.

 

as stated, nail buffers and emery boards.

 

A lot of handy bits can be got in pound shops and the like,  while for DIY use cheap pliers and screwdrivers are not going last,  if not used hard then they can be handy and cheap additions

 

A pair of pliers with round prongs (from a pound shop) has been very handy for bending /curving plastic

 

I have no doubt there are some tools well worth the extra cash, the sprue nippers mentioned by Mike are an example.   

 

Finally, this site.   Do a Work in Progress thread,  we have a very helpful and supportive community,  doing a build will get you tips and techniques if you have problems,   or just positive feedback, interest  and encouragement.   Modelling tends to be a solitary and quiet hobby,  so places like this which you can share what you do, and how you do it, are very helpful.

 

HTH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you’re in the U.K. I would make my way to a local Hobbycraft. They have a dedicated area for tools. In no particular order:

 

a craft knife with changeable blades. I have both a Swann Morton and Xacto types. The former is for fine work and the Xacto with a thicker blade can be used for more ‘brutal’ work.

 

Filler. Oh dear this is a minefield. The right answer is that there are different types for different jobs. General all purpose types include Humbrol, Revell Plasto and Squadron Signal’s Green Stuff or White Stuff. There is also Perfect Plastic Putty (aka PPP), but unlike the others I can’t get it to work properly, but that’s just me. It comes down to using whatever you feel more comfortable with. There are also various grades of Milliput, a two part epoxy. This is more for sculpting into shapes, which can then be sanded and carved.

 

Wet and Dry paper for sanding. This stuff is graded. Basically, the higher the number, the finer it is. As the name suggests, this can be used either dry or wet (useful for minimising dust and swarf).

 

Glue. Lots of types. Again it depends what you want to do. There is the traditional tube cement. Nowadays I only use it for but-joining large mating surfaces such as wing roots. Liquid cement comes in bottles and sometimes has an applicator brush. It uses capillary action as only melts the immediate mating surfaces. Place (say) two fuselage halves together then run the applicator along the join. Superglue, both thin and gel for attaching small parts that won’t be subject to stress, for example foot pedals. Revell’s Contacts Clear, is good for attaching transparencies without fogging. Humbrol have a version,  but my brain has a block on the name at the moment! As an alternative, white PVA glue does the same thing.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Trevor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Max Headroom said:

Filler. Oh dear this is a minefield. The right answer is that there are different types for different jobs. General all purpose types include Humbrol, Revell Plasto and Squadron Signal’s Green Stuff or White Stuff. There is also Perfect Plastic Putty (aka PPP), but unlike the others I can’t get it to work properly, but that’s just me. It comes down to using whatever you feel more comfortable with. There are also various grades of Milliput, a two part epoxy. This is more for sculpting into shapes, which can then be sanded and carved.

 

Big jobs, Milliput.  Does not shrink, can be shaped while wet, minimising sanding.   Small jobs, superglue, or superglue and talc, or use plastic strip or scrap.

 

Also, and in this I have memories of my youth and smearing filler about,  try to reduce the problem first.   

 

Test fit, scrape, sand and  also,  try using plastic sheet.strip or stretched sprue to shim out if a gap. 

 

Instructions are not always helpful,  on occasion a different sequence might work better (see below*)

 

Make sure alignment pins are not causing fit problems. (again, see CAD notes) 

 

@Tramline222, this reminds me,  modern CAD designed kits,  their sheer precision can cause problems if you not forewarned.   

 

I have seen a few build on here where the builder is moaning about fit and all the filling they have had to do, cue model photo smeared in filller, and fine detail destroyed.

Other have no problems, and it all fits exquisitely ... why...user error.

 

kits from 30+ years ago almost have a bit of wiggle room,  the odd missed seam or sprue nib was not a problem,  but now can cause serious fit issues later,  in this I'm thinking specifically of some recent Airifx Spitfire kits, like the 1/48th Vb/I kit, which has a separate fuel tank cover, added later.

If you don't know, and mess up the cockpit tub installation,  and in this case a missed nib or seam line, or even a coat of paint will cause this, and suddenly this fuel tank does not fit... and you already stuck the fuselage together and the wings are on...

the 72nd Spitfire Mk.I has very tight bulkheads, and these can cause fuselage gaps,  and then wing dihedral problems, and the pin locating holes can be very tight.  Solution, a light scrape of bulkhead edges, no paint, and a gentle ream of alignment holes.   

I know,  hardly slapping together a 2 bob airfix kit on a Saturday afternoon, and we have members who build legacy kits and don't worry as well.

 

(As an aside, I pondered on how on earth i happily slapped together 100 + kits between 1975 and 77 without a knife or sandpaper and tube glue, twisting the bits off the sprues and sticking away

 ....well, as I still have a few remains, the answer is roughly....  I have vague plans to try doing an old tool Airfix Blenhiem like this as I have a spare AND the remains of one I did then)

 

It's really worth doing a bit of research,   and in the case of Britmodeller, the site search is not great, but if you add Britmodeller into a google search term,  you get better results, to see if there are known problems.   

 

* for example, a way to assemble X that avoids fit problems.   Example, sometimes it maybe be worth joining upper wing parts to the fuselage before the lower wing is added,  eliminating wing root seams perhaps with fine detail,  and making a easier gap on the wing leading edge.

 

Don't be afraid to ask questions, however 'dumb' it may seem,  though I suggest seeing if you can find an answer first,  if you can't, or get contradictory ones,  ask away, add in links to other discussions.

 

Unwritten site etiquette is to be friendly, helpful and polite,  being a smart bottom, rude or demeaning is quick way to no longer being a member. 

 

You may get answers of mind bending detail and complexity,  and I have seen new members get upset when their  "but i thought" is given a detailed answer why this is not so, but as long as you are happy to learn then revel in the knowledge we have a fair few members who ACTUALLY write the books on here. 

 

This does mean on occasion that you will read information that contradicts what is the usual answer,  but, actually the answer here is now the right one,  frequently with documentation. 

 

cheers

T

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The correct number of tools you should own is n+1

 

n= what you currently have and the +1 is what happens every time you go to a hobby shop or browse the internet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, AltcarBoB said:

The correct number of tools you should own is n+1

 

n= what you currently have and the +1 is what happens every time you go to a hobby shop or browse the internet.

Should be referred to as @CedB’s Law. If there’s a tool for a job, Ced will know about it!

 

Trevor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/12/2020 at 4:11 PM, dromia said:

 

 

Files I cannot recommend Valorbe Swiss files high enough, not cheap but will last a life time and far superior in cut to most of the cheap sets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi,

 

I've been after some very fine needle files for some time.  In addition to plastic modelling I do tabletop wargaming which often involves white metal figures (15mm, 20mm and 28mm).  Needle files are best for cleaning up flash and seams and getting into all the nooks and crannies.  I have several sets including some really nice tiny ones (about 80mm long) and even though they are quite fine they still leave discernable scratches.  So have been looking at some really fine ones without any success until recently when I stumbled across the Valorbe make.  I can see that they do different cuts but although the Cut 4 sounds interesting I still don't know how fine that really is.

 

Which ones do you have?  Do they leave scratches on plastic  Can you relate them to a wet and dry grit to give me some idea?

 

I don't mind spending the money if they are what I need.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I mainly have 2 and 4 cut files with flats in 0 and 6 cut for quick removal and fine polishing.

 

The table on the bottom of page 2 of this link has file cut to ceramic grit relationship to give you a indication of cut.

 

Vallorbe files.

 

Like all abrasive methods they will leave "scratches" commensurate with the size of the cut just as wet and dry does.

 

The number 6 is good enough for fine polishing in my work, after that there is crocus cloth, toothpaste, t-cut, brasso and the like.

 

Just to add the bigger the cut number the finer the teeth and the greater the number of teeth per square inch.

Edited by dromia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, dromia said:

I mainly have 2 and 4 cut files with flats in 0 and 6 cut for quick removal and fine polishing.

 

The table on the bottom of page 2 of this link has file cut to ceramic grit relationship to give you a indication of cut.

 

Vallorbe files.

 

Like all abrasive methods they will leave "scratches" commensurate with the size of the cut just as wet and dry does.

 

The number 6 is good enough for fine polishing in my work, after that there is crocus cloth, toothpaste, t-cut, brasso and the like.

 

Just to add the bigger the cut number the finer the teeth and the greater the number of teeth per square inch.

So a Cut 4 is about a 700 grit wet and dry does that sound right.

 

That may work - appreciate there will always be scratches - but not looking for perfection, just fine enough that I can live with them.

 

The issue I face is that there are plenty of areas that realistically you can only get at with a needle file - imagine the gap between legs or the crook of an arm of small white metal figures.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nigel, look into "riffler" files, also available from Vallorbe. Only recently I learned about these from a watchmaker. I know the problems with white metal miniatures as well. Looks like these riffler thingies are like double-headed sculpting tools with teeth instead. Different designs are available. I might need to get me some.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Aye 700-800 grit. I will happily remove mould lines with them followed by a steel/bronze wool buff.

 

Vallorbe do rifflers as well which I have a selection of, I believe that they only go down to a No4 cut though.

 

The trick is to keep your files clean especially if used on "white metal", I use those fibre glass tipped pens to keep my abrasives unclogged.

Edited by dromia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you rub a piece of chalk on your file before working white metal it helps prevent the little balls of metal shavings clogging the grooves. Doesn't last long but helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@nheather did you get any fine files and what do you think of them. I have just dropped my favourite needle file on concrete point down and it made a "Tink" noise and became a three piece file ☹️. So I need a new one, though the largest piece will come in handy one day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, AltcarBoB said:

@nheather did you get any fine files and what do you think of them. I have just dropped my favourite needle file on concrete point down and it made a "Tink" noise and became a three piece file ☹️. So I need a new one, though the largest piece will come in handy one day.

No I didn’t because I ‘m still unsure whether a Cut 4 is fine enough.  I’d feel more comfortable seeing some in the flesh first.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/10/2020 at 12:06 PM, dromia said:

The trick is to keep your files clean especially if used on "white metal", I use those fibre glass tipped pens to keep my abrasives unclogged

Outstanding suggestion! :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, nheather said:

No I didn’t because I ‘m still unsure whether a Cut 4 is fine enough.  I’d feel more comfortable seeing some in the flesh first.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

I know what you mean somethings you need to handle first. When things get back to normal I will visit a model show with a shopping list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...