Essential Tools for Making Model Kits

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced modeler, going further with the hobby entails using a few tools to make the job a whole lot easier and finish the project. Yet, with the wide array of equipment out there, it can be a daunting task to determine which exact tools do you need and how you can use them. To help you save energy, time, and money, we’ve listed the basic tools you need for making model kits. Once you know this, you can start working on your models as well as begin building your impressive toolbox – both pleasures you can relish in scale modeling.

Craft Knife

The craft is perhaps the most significant and versatile tool that you will utilize in the hobby. It is used on removing the model parts from the sprue, reshaping or cleaning them up, placing fillers, cutting out decals, scribing panel lines, and other fundamental stuff. So, be sure that you get a sharp and high-quality one if you want to do things seamlessly. Have a few extra fresh craft knives so you have replacements in case your current one goes dull.

Tweezers

Tweezers are another important tool in making model kits. You can use them for holding and positioning tiny parts and applying the decals. They come in a variety of shapes, types, and sizes, such as pointed, flat-ended, lockable, or spring-loaded. Though an ordinary one is usually sufficient, it can be very beneficial to try out other kinds of tweezers and get a small collection as you progress with the hobby.

Sprue Cutters or Nippers

While you can use your craft knife in removing the part from the sprue, you can veer away from frustration and save a lot of work and time by investing in sprue cutters or nippers instead. These are specialized tools for the job that will likely give you better snips or trimmed parts. 

Sanding sticks or sanding pads

Some plastic parts need to be cleaned up or reshaped, which is why you need to stock up on sanding pads for curved edges or sanding sticks for flat surfaces. They come in different grades. You can check your hardware or hobby store for finer grades, such as 400 or 800 grit, for your scale models.

Glue

After removing the parts, you need to stick all the stuff together to create your model. Get a reliable glue that doesn’t dry too slow nor one that dries too quickly, find one that will give you ample time to perfectly place the parts but will attach parts shortly after. That way, you can avoid messy mishaps and unaligned sections.

Straight ruler and a lead pencil

Measuring is a skill widely used in making models, particularly when you need to make adjustments or add details. Having a straight ruler at hand ensures that you get the correct sizing and placement. Get a lead pencil so you can mark the specifications or locations or draw lines, so you could execute any cutting and scribing tasks precisely after.

Pin Vise and drill bits

A pin vise is a hand-held manual mini drill you can use to drill different sizes of holes (varies depending on the drill bit) through the resin or plastic material. You might be wondering what is there to drill, but you’ll most likely encounter various holes needed to be hollowed or drilled out to make the parts fit.

Paintbrushes

Many model kits come ready-painted and no longer require painting. However, if you want to add further detailing or modify the colors, having a good range of quality paintbrushes can help you give your model your desired better finish. You can use wide soft brushes for painting wide areas and fine point ones for painting intricate details. An airbrush is often not needed but it can be handy if you want to paint various types of media and paint your model more quickly and evenly.

Modeling Putty

Mistakes are inevitable regardless if you’re a beginner or an experienced hobbyist. Incorrect scribing or cutting often results in marks, dents, and blemishes that can affect the look of your model. Fortunately, you can “undo” them by filling them with modeling putty. It can be very useful in curing those slip-ups as well as in filling seams or gaps in the model.

Household items and materials

One of the best things about scale modeling is it allows you to exercise your creativity and resourcefulness not only with the model itself but also when it comes to the tools you can use. So, go ahead and look for feasible items, such as rubber bands, paper towels, clothespins, or toothpicks, that can make your modeling tasks easier.