07 October 2011
In Part 1 of our regular monthly series, our expert answers your modelling questions... everything you need to know about restoring your diecast models and more! Send your queries to our expert at [email protected] ...
In Part 1 of our regular monthly series, our expert answers your modelling questions... everything you need to know about restoring your diecast models and more! Send your queries to our expert at [email protected]
I’d like to start model making, but I’m wondering what tools and equipment I should buy. Any ideas?
Justin Tereaux, Northampton
Very little is needed, but some tools are essential, while others will make your work much easier. Assuming you have a table or workbench, I would get these items:
• A vice, ideally with removable rubber jaw pads. A suction type base, or clamp to fix it to a table edge, is also good.
• Razor saws to cut metal and plastic. Hacksaws are no good, being far too coarse for this. Get a saw with at least 52 TPI (teeth per inch). The stronger the stiffener along its top edge, the better – cheap ones have a tinplate stiffener, which can buckle in use. By the way keep blunt razor saws – they still work fine on plastic, saving your new ones for metal.
• A set of small pliers won’t cost much and will be very useful. Plus one or more pairs of ‘full size’ pliers, where more effort is needed.
• Drills and drill bits. Hand drills or small electric hobby ones are OK, mains DIY drills too big and heavy. For very fine work, hand-operated Archimedes Screw type drills are best. These don’t apply bending force to the drill bit, reducing the chance of breakage.
• Jeweller’s screwdrivers. These don’t cost much so get two sets, one to undo screws in models and another for general use, such as poking holes clear, scraping paint off, opening tins of paint, and so on. Keep the ‘good’ set separate, so the tips remain sharp.
• A cutting mat of ‘self-healing’ plastic. These seem always to be dark green, with metric squaring on them.
• A trimming knife and a steel ruler, 150 or 300mm long.
• Paint brushes. Buy only very expensive or very cheap ones. Why? Mid-price ones are a waste! For brush painting, go to an art shop and get real sable hair brushes. These cost £5 or more, but will last for years if looked after. And very cheap ones? These are made of stiff bristle and are ideal for use when stripping paint.
• Needle files. These are incredibly useful. The diamond-coated sort are more durable and better for filing hard materials like diecast metal. They cost only slightly more than the standard ones.
• A range of clamps to hold parts being worked on, painted or whatever. There are many kinds – pin vices, engineer’s clamps, miniature vices, even Blu-Tak is great to hold really small bits.
PICTURED Some basic modelling tools to get you started.