SEssential tools for beginners

Aussie Jeff

49 posts

I thought I'd ask the more experience modellers (particularly aircraft @ 1:72) what they consider the ESSENTIAL tools for their craft - you know the ones you just can't do without. I've been bumbling along finding a craft knife, side-cutters etc from the shed, tweesers knicked from the missus's make-up bag (shhh - I'll get a bollocking if she finds out) and such like.

I've looked on-line for various things but how am I to know wht is really good and what is snake-oil.  With Christmas just around the corner it would be good to get a list together just in case I make that 800km round-trip to the nearest hobby shop!

So - can I ask what you think is essential, nice to have and a wish-list. This could include tools, non-specific paints/lacquers, brushes and other micscellaneous items.

Many thanks in advance.



After 45 years let's have another crack at this caper!


1175 posts

Well, what you've got, except that I had my own permission to take the cuticle pusher and tweezers out of the manicure set my sister gave me! Laughing (the pusher makes a good spatula for putting filler on seams)

Other useful stuff would be wet or dry carbide paper (easily available down to 1200 grit, or 4000 grit from hobby outlets), a #3 scalpel handle with a pack of #11 blades, a pin vice and mini drill set, and some fine metal files.

Though I fly through the shadow of the valley of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am at 65_000 feet and climbing.


2540 posts

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101 posts

 IMHO (as you have probably discovered already):

A good, sharp knife/knives - I use scalpel blades (straight and curved) which I bought in a box of 100 online

A good pair of cutters - again changing from a cheap set to a better one made a big, big difference

Sharp tweezers - the ones (also nicked) from a makeup set were too blunt for me - note - do not drop them as the points get damaged

A variety of sanding sticks - look at the Flory Models offerings (online)

A cutting mat

Something to hold parts when gluing - clothespegs are OK, but specialist clamps are better

Plenty of little boxes / trays for parts and assemblies

A large area, with good light

A magnifier of some sort.

John Symmons

957 posts

Hi Jeff.

I echo the lists above you can never have enough sharp knives, scalpels are the best with a fairly short broard handle with plenty; I'll repeat that; plenty of blades No's 11 and 10 seem to cover most uses. Try a medical supplier or chemist if your model shop doesn't carry them, just remember they are very very sharp and you can easily cut yourself without knowing it, and suddenly your model is covered in red paint, whoops blood. It's also good to have a heavy duty knife something like the Ex-Acto type or copy of, the type with a  collet that clamps the blade as scalpel blades can easily break if used with force. Model and bead shops usually carry some good tweezers, get a small selection both open and closed ones.


Sanding sticks are also very useful far better than loose bits of emery paper. Try the multi-coloured ones with several grades on them, If in the chemists look at the nail care section for polishing and emery sticks, might be cheaper than the model shop. If you nearest town has an electicians supply of engineering suppliers try them for fine side cutters, they must be flat on one side and finely pointed. If you get a pair or two DO NOT use them on metal no matter how tempting it may be, keep them for plastic and they should last for-ever. Also while there see if they have very fine drills 0.3 to 1 mm depending on you requirements. Most of the drill sets sold on-line are actually used ones from circit board manufactures, and can be a bit dull, the ones from an engereering supply store will be sharp and for plastic very sharp, just never never use them in a power drill. Remember the very fine ones 0.3 to 0.5 mm are expensive and fragile.


If you can find a jewllery supply and or bead shop you could get a bead reamer set. This is not essential but oh-so handy in enlarging small holes when you haven't the right size drill. You might even get a small diamiter pin vice, (Ideal for drilling rigging holes in WW 1 aircraft and ships, also aerial wires on WW 2 aircraft.) most ones sold in model shops are a bit chunky.


Try an artist supply shop for a range of brushes both nylon and sable, (Expensive but the best, a few fine ones should do 0 to 000. Nylon is OK for the larger sizes, add a few broard flat ones 4 to 8 depending on your usage.


Finally if you have any money left, more blades, you WILL need them especially seeing you live soooo far out of town. Good luck and hope you have fun with your shoping and modelling and looking forward to seeing the results.


Remember we do this for fun & Merry Christmas.                       John the Pom

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