Essential Modeling Tools

8 must-have modeling tools, using a Dremel

Tools

  1. Xacto knife and blades
    • Get some number 11's and a chisel blade
    • Xacto makes Stainless Steel blades that are denoted by an SS on the blade and they won't rust like the regular ones
  2. Sprue Nippers and Cutters
    • Invest in a good pair of Xuron cutters. These will last forever if you only use them on plastic
    • Get some flush-cutters as well for smaller parts
  3. Tweezers
    • You need a few pairs for holding small parts, decals, etc.
    • Self-closing tweezers are great for holding parts for painting
  4. Pin Vise and drill bits
    • I love the Zona brand with the large rear part to the handle, it won't dig into your hand while drilling holes
    • Drill bit sets can be bought online in various sizes (I prefer metric)
  5. Sanding pads, sanding sticks
    • Get a set of sanding pads for curved surfaces, sanding sticks for flat surfaces
    • Sticks can be cut and recut as the edges become overly used
    • Use an eraser to remove build-up on sanding surfaces
    • Swizzle sticks are a cheap/great investment
  6. Tamiya putty (or some kind of modeling putty)
    • Used for filling seams
    • The Tamiya/Squadron putty stinks and shrinks a little when curing, but dries very hard and can be wet-sanded
    • Tamiya/Squadron putty will bond to the plastic better than most other putties
  7. Clamps, rubber bands, and clothespins
    • All are valuable at holding things together as the cement/glue dries
    • Berna clamps (seen in picture) are great for light-pressure use
  8. Blue-tack or Poster Putty
    • Reusable putty that is great at holding parts, masking, and much more
    • Good for dry-fitting pieces
    • Use a large ball of blue-tack to pull up and leftover residue
    • Not affected by acrylic paints, but enamels, lacquers, and alcohol can dissolve it making a gooey mess

Dremel

If you plan on doing more extreme conversions, scratch-builds, or kit-bashes, then you should invest in a Dremel rotary tool. I prefer the Dremel Stylus if you can find it at a decent price. The Stylus is just the easiest to hold, and it allows more control than most other rotary tools.

  • Start off a mid-speed and adjust as necessary. Most people use it at too high a speed, which melts the plastic.
  • Dremels need other collets to fit smaller bits.
  • However, be careful with smaller drill bits, as they will snap easily.
  • Get some sanding drums, drill set, and high-speed cutters from Dremel.
  • Off-brand accessories include the big saw blade you see in the picture.

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