Essential Tools For Model Building

Model building is a hobby for both kids and adults. It has its advantages in developing children’s skills, a great way to spend your spare time, and even as an excellent hobby for collecting models.

However, before you start building your own model sets, you need to consider many factors. These factors include ensuring that you purchase quality models online, you have undivided commitment to try this new interest to maximize your money’s worth, and ensuring that you have the right and complete set of tools for model building.

A complete set of model building tools includes several materials and equipment that you need to invest in. After all, this investment will prove to be very useful and satisfying should your model-building hobby become long-term.

If you are a beginner in model building, you need to have the essential model-building tools.

  • Craft Knife
  • Abrasives
  • Tweezers
  • Flush cutter/side cutting pliers
  • Needle files/sanding sticks
  • Pin chuck and drills

Craft Knife

A sharp is one of the essential model-building tools to have. It is a versatile knife typically used for various functions, such as detaching parts from the sprue, tidying them up, and reshaping them. You may also use the knife to smoothen the filler.

The X-Acto type is the most common craft knife in the market.

Abrasives and Sanding Materials

a model train

In model building, you often need to smoothen surfaces and reshape other pieces to fit, tidy them up, or for your preference. For this, you need a set of sandpaper you can quickly get from a hardware store near you. However, models require a finer variety of sandpaper.

Note that sandpaper also differs in its coarseness, so you need to find the best-suited one for your models to avoid damage. For beginner model builders, it is recommended that you use the 400 and 800 grit.

The ‘Wet and Dry’ paper, typically called the ’emery’ paper or silicon carbide paper, is also recommended since it is of better quality than the other variety. It generates more consistency in results. Its results are longer in effectivity. It can also be used on metals and even on wet surfaces and to minimize airborne dust, which can be harmful when it accumulates inside your mode.

Tweezers

Model building can be very tricky and sometimes challenging since you often deal with small pieces. Tweezers come in very handy when you are working with small details in your model building. They make things a lot easier since they can reach through the tiniest nooks of your model pieces.

Tweezers are conveniently available in cosmetic and hardware stores. These are very cheap, as well. However, if you want to be particular with the type of tweezers you use, note that there are various types in the market. For model building, you can look for the modelers’ or engineers’ tweezers, which are more customized to your needs in model building. 

Other model builders collect different tweezers, mainly ranging in tip size to reach the smallest parts of model pieces.

These three, the craft knife, abrasives and sandpaper, and tweezers, are among the basic tools you need in elementary model building. However, as you progress, you may find more tools you need for specific purposes and more effective execution.

Here are some tools you can add to your model building toolkit for your convenience:

Flush Cutter

a screwdriver held in hand

Although craft knives are used to detach small parts, this task can be quite a struggle and may often damage the parts when not done correctly. Flush cutters are often recommended for this specific task. It is a small pair of pliers for a more effective, easier, and faster removal of sprue parts.

When buying your flush cutter and other pliers, always opt for the quality ones as cheaper ones do not guarantee excellent results and can also get broken easily.

Needle Files/Sanding Sticks

Expect a lot of sanding and reshaping when model building. Of course, sandpaper can also do the job, but for smaller parts, needle files or sanding sticks are more efficient since they are smaller in size and can be used to sand the small corners of your model. These are useful in widening holes and shaping plastic.

Pin Chuck/Vise and Drills

You may also encounter the need to drill holes on your models as you build one. Pin chuck or pin vise does this job for you. It is a small hand-held drill that allows you to poke holes of different sizes on your models. However, it is only used in plastic.

Note that hand-held drills are preferred for plastic models instead of motor drills.

There you go! Those are the standard tools you need in model building. As mentioned, you may need more tools as you advance to more complex models. To ensure that you complete your model-building toolkit, here is a checklist of the complete tools and equipment you need to secure.

  • White glue
  • Superglue
  • Super glue accelerator
  • Super glue debonder
  • Sanding sticks
  • Sprue cutter
  • Budget brushes
  • Hobby knife
  • Tweezers
  • Assorted sandpaper
  • Model cement
  • Filler putty
  • Paint set
  • Masking tape
  • Thinner
  • Scissors
  • Decal tweezers
  • Toothpicks
  • Clothespins
  • Rubber bands
  • Spray paint
  • Respirator mask