ESSENTIAL TOOLS FOR CREATING A BETTER MODEL
ESSENTIAL TOOLS FOR CREATING A BETTER MODEL
Model building is a rewarding hobby, but constructing a 1:8 scale replica that not only looks but feels like the genuine car and exhibits much of the same functionality, is especially satisfying.
But even the pros need the proper tools.
Constructing a precision model such as Eaglemoss’ Die-Cast Club (DCC) creates is much easier than say a smaller scale kit, or the plastic models that can have warped or misshapen parts.
The good news, is that for DCC and some other kits you’ll receive a Phillips head screwdriver that perfectly fits the screws used to attach its parts. And if there are special screws or attaching pieces DCC, and some other makers, will send along the proper tools to make your job easier and more enjoyable.
Yet, all of us who make models of any sort know we need a few special tools to make our jobs easier. All are easily found online or at hobby stores.
Here are the essentials:
- 1. A small plastic box. This is where I start by putting all the screws or other small loose parts in one spot, so that they don’t jump from my workbench or kitchen table and disappear into the nether regions, pant cuffs, carpet, air ducts, or simply into limbo. You may already have a box you can use, or a discount store is sure to have one. I recommend one with dividers so you can separate like parts or screws.
- 2. Tweezers are a must for holding small or delicate parts, for instance wiring for an engine bay. I recommend a pair of tweezers, one with flat ends and one with a sharp nose, and preferably long enough that you can insert them well into an engine bay. If you want to go fancy (and why not?) consider a pair of cross-action curved or straight tweezers. They assure a better and easier grip, and usually cost only a teeny bit more than standard tweezers.
- 3. Needle nose or flat nose pliers also can serve a similar purpose of holding a small part while you position it properly. Most of us keep such pliers with our home tool kits. You can use those or buy a slightly smaller pair of hobby pliers. Bent needle nose pliers also can be helpful to reach around corners in a model.
- 4. A hobby knife, what many call an Exacto or scalpel, with a sharp No. 11 blade can be used for everything from opening plastic packages of small parts to easily cutting parts off a sprue. And when you’ve finished your model you’ll still have a great knife for opening any number of packages that seem to hermetically seal up their object, say a small battery pack or HD card.
- 5. Superglue is always handy when modeling. A small tube or bottle will do. First, it sticks parts of all consistencies together easily and quickly, and two, sometimes even a well-engineered part needs something to hold it tight. A drop of superglue will do the job and you’ll likely find several other uses for it around the house.
- 6. Sanding sticks or files can remove small burrs from parts, or tidy up plastic pieces after they are removed from a sprue. They also can aid in getting a tight-fitting part to more easily slide into place or fit together. It doesn’t happen often, especially with DCC kits, but it’s best to be prepared. These are inexpensive and can be used for many modeling projects, or other fine work in your house or apartment.
Just two more things to consider. I think they are useful, but not exactly necessary.
First, consider a rubber self-healing cutting mat that you can lay on your tabletop. A mat will protect whatever surface you’re working on and also makes for easier trimming or sanding of parts as it provides a fairly firm, but forgiving work surface. Mats also are less likely to act as a springboard for a part dropped on it because they are soft and have some give to them.
Second, if you’re of a certain age and find close-up work a bit hard to focus on or see clearly, consider a magnifying visor. These come by various names, but two I know of are the Optisight Magnifying Visor and Donegan’s OptiVisor. These allow you to see parts with precision up close, and leave your hands free to fasten or glue those parts into the exact spot intended. If your vision is perfect, well, you may not need this, but it can prevent dropped and lost parts, the rue of any modeler.
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