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Mangozac's tools thread

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Mangozac's tools thread

Postby mangozac » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:12 am

OK we're here today to talk about tools. No, not this kind of tool, I'm talking about the kind that is actually useful ;)

You see, my addiction isn't just for plastics and resin - I also have a bit of a tool fetish. There's nothing more satisfying than having a specialised tool in your hands that has been designed specifically for the job at hand. And at the same time there are those tools that you have commandeered from their original function.

So I present for you today a pictorial tour of the most common tools I use for modelling. Painting requires an extra kit of tools, as does casting. I've numbered each of the tools or groups of tools in the following pictures to match the descriptions underneath.


  1. Main scalpel: This is the primary scalpel I use for most of my work. It always contains the sharpest blade and the blade is changed roughly every fortnight.
  2. Spare blades: You must have these.
  3. Secondary scalpel: When a blade is replaced in the primary scalpel, the old blade is placed into the secondary scalpel. This one is used for dirty scraping and carving work where a sharp blade isn't so important.
  4. Dull scalpel: The blade in this scalpel hasn't been changed in years and it's now more just a dull piece of metal. I use it for cutting slices of putty and indeed during sculpting mixed putty.
  5. Scalpel saw: I don't know what the real name for this thing is but I use it for cutting styrene rod and tube.
  6. Long nose pliers: Pretty self explanatory. I use tweezers more often but they still have their uses.
  7. Scalpel saw blades: The scalpel saw actually came with a couple of different blades. I actually use these short ones by hand (without placing them in the handle) for sawing straight panel lines.
  8. Mitre box: This is actually a piece of aluminium U-channel that I use for making 90° cuts when cutting tube and rod. The only downside is that it doesn't do 45° but I like it because of its compact size.
  9. Cutters: Another must have. These are the same type of cutters I have in my electronics toolkit as they are a great unit.

  10. Sanding stick: This is just a paddle pop stick with some wet and dry sandpaper glued around it. I'm too macho to buy fingernail sanding sticks from the department store ;)
  11. Half-round
  12. Triangular
  13. Flat (rectangular)
  14. Round
  15. Square
  16. Small paintbrush: I use this wet when puttying to clean up a surface.
  17. Large paintbrush: After filing/sanding/carving I use this to clean away all of the dust and removed material.
  18. Eraser: For rubbing out the lines and measurements that you stuffed up.
  19. HB Pencil: Keep it sharp so that your markings are accurate. I usually sketch rough versions of panel lines over the model before I measure and draw them properly.
  20. Circle cutter: This is a really cheap and nasty one but it does the job. It's only intended for cutting paper but by pointing the blade backwards it will scrape its way through styrene over a few passes.

  21. Square: Another must have. I intend to get a smaller one one day for finer work.
  22. Scriber: This is a dosdgy one I made from a piece of stainless steel rod. I use it for marking holes only.
  23. Tweezers: The next most important tool after the square. If you don't have a pair then you are not serious about modelling! I love this set - they are very pointy and in fact I have stabbed myself a few times on them.
  24. Scriber: This scriber came with one of my scribing template sets. It's not the most ergonomic tool I have but it does the job. I plan to get an expensive Hasegawa scriber one day.
    Sculpting tools:
  25. The favourite
  26. The big smoother
  27. The scoop
  28. The second favourite
  29. The weird one
  30. Ball ended burnisher. My dentist gave me this one for removing my Invisalign braces but I find it easier to use my fingers so it became a modelling tool ;)

  31. Ruler: Get one with metric one side and imperial the other - it makes it easier working in an international community ;)
  32. Pin vice: I got this one from an electronics store. Goes up to 3mm.
  33. Drills: Otherwise known as drill bits. As you can see I have a bunch of different sizes, the larger ones match diameters of the larger styrene tube I use.
  34. Screwdriver 1: I use this one as a chisel.
  35. Screwdriver 2: Believe it or not I actually use this one as a screwdriver and for prying stuff apart.

  36. Masking tape: Okay, I'll admit, the only reason I bought the Tamiya stuff is because I saw a Japanese modeller doing awesome stuff and he uses it :oops: . But in my defence it's a great size (4mm wide) for modelling. I use it to hold parts together and mask parts when puttying.
  37. Scribing templates: Lots of fun! Do yourself a favour and when you order some Modelling Support Goods from Japan, grab some of these also ;)

  38. Medical clamp: I don't know where to get these - maybe a chemist? I nicked these from my Dad.
  39. Super glue: Not technically a tool but I figured I'd throw the glues in. I hate the little packs of 5 for $2 because they're seriously single use. I don't use super glue that often so I want one that won't dry out on me. This Selleys brand one has been good for months and I'll definitely get it again.
  40. Styrene cement: This is the staple glue and the reason why working with styrene is the most enjoyable. Revell Contacta in the blue tube with needle applicator is the only one to get. I keep a bit of thin guitar string handy to poke down the needle when it gets blocked.
  41. PVA Glue: This was $2 shop stuff. I can't think off-hand what I use it for but I do use it.

Sorry but I forgot to take a picture of the last "tool" I use - wet and dry sandpaper.
- 400 grit for serious material removal
- 800 grit for general purpose
- 1000 grit for final finishing
- 1200 grit for polishing

Well that's all I have for today - that took a lot longer to write up than I thought it would. If you have anything to add to the list, please contribute!
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Re: Mangozac's tools thread

Postby Warhound » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:58 am

Great thought Zac, and it will facinating to see what everyone else uses in their everyday work!

I will post my tools up soon when I have the chance to take some shots, as while you actually cover most bases, I have some tools that will maybe fill some gaps;-)

Maybe, the next thing we need to do is do some wip of specific techniques?!;-)

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Re: Mangozac's tools thread

Postby Seb » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:42 am

I think I'm having tool envy (*cough)

I have about four tools that I use (Scribe. knife, saw and rasp) Seriously need to expand this collection I think. I do concur your thoughts on a certain bipedal tool also, which I believe is a Dudd.

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Re: Mangozac's tools thread

Postby mangozac » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:19 pm

Seb wrote:I have about four tools that I use (Scribe. knife, saw and rasp) Seriously need to expand this collection I think.

Here I was expecting that you would enlighten us with something cool and exotic :(

Don't worry - you're a perfect example of it's not about how many tools you have, but how you use them ;)

Warhound, yes I was thinking that some technique demonstrations would be good, but alas, they take much more time to put together...
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Re: Mangozac's tools thread

Postby Seb » Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:38 am

Aye.. admittedly there is the sundry stuff like glue and clippers, but actual modelling tools.. yah, just the four.

I will however gear up for serious project work when I settle at the end of my trip. Probably hit you and the gang up for tips on devices to buy at this stage. For now, shall watch this thread and others like it with much interest.

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