Tools and Techniques
May 10th 1996

When you start building you have very few tools. (I had a very large file and a pair of nail clippers) As you build more and more you start to purchase tools to make the job easier. After a while you have quite a collection

Below are some of the tool that I use. Most are obvious while others are not. Eventually all of the headings will be filled out


1. Side cutters
It is surprising how much a difference good side cutters make. I went through quite a few cheaper ones before I bought one of the better (expensive) ones. What convinced me was when I borrowed a friends, what a difference. I now use my other cutters for large sprues and cutting wire.

2. Files
All those little files with different shapes and different roughness' do make a certain jobs easier. One set from the hobby store should last a lifetime. A parts store near me has these small files for a very cheap price so I have quite a few in my tool box. I use a wire brush to keep the teeth clean. You can get these from a tool store relatively cheaply.

3. Paint mixer
Saw this in the hobby store and laughed at it. Who needs this when I can shake the bottle or use a stick. However after buying it (I don't remember why I bought it) I was surprised at how useful and quick it is. The mixing tip works excellently and I highly recommend it to anyone. A couple of my modelling friends have bought one and are also very pleased. It is especially good for the metal paints since these tend to separate easily. I have found this can bring back paints I thought were gone. To clean the mixer I just stick the tip into a jar of laquer thinner and run it for a couple of seconds.

4. Syrofoam
Miracle drug? No but this stuff has many uses. I am not talking about the white stuff that falls apart. The pink or blue higher density stuff is very useful. I use it mostly as a paint stand. It can be cut into any shape or size I need or I can stick coat hanger wire in it to hold items I can not tape down (car bodies).

5. Hemostats & tweezers
Tweezers I don't use a lot. The magazines say to use them to position small parts and for putting decals on. I find with the tweezers I don't have the fine control I need for positioning parts. The tweezers I have are the self closing ones. This way I can hold the small part with one hand without worrying about squeezing the tzeewers. 90% of the time I use my fingers for small parts and a brush for placing and moving decals. Hemostats are link long clamps that can lock closed. Great for holding parts for painting. I find these one of the most used items in my tool box. A supply store near me has these cheap. I've seen plastic ones but the stainless steel ones are the best. They come in various sizes and I have about 10 of these things.

6. Putty
7. Polishing Compounds/ kits
8. Glues
9. Exacto-Knives
10. Dremel Tool
11. Pin Vice
12. Airbrush
13. Tool box
14. Right angle
15. Eye dropper
16. Food dryer


1. Flexi-files
Bought a set of these on the recommendation of a friend. I hardly use them but they are good for sanding curves sections. Would I buy them now? I don't think so.

2. Automotive body filler
3. Profile maker
What is this you say? 4. Dental tools
5. Magnifying glasses
6. Solder
7. Q-tips
8. Vice
9. Chaulking compound
10. Polyfill
11. Lathe
12. Drill press

Return to Home Page

Send comments, suggestions etc. to