Picking the Right Hobby Tools for your Project

Picking the Right Hobby Tools for your Project

Posted by on May 21st 2024

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Picking the Right Hobby Tools for your ProjectA vital aspect of crafting intricate and detailed model kits is to ensure you have the correct tools. When we talk about tools, we're referring to a range of products, including knives, sanding sticks, and various adhesives crucial for assembling models with precision and finesse. Here are the items that you absolutely need to have on your workbench if you want to get started in plastic model kit building:

Sprue Cutter: Also called a “sprue nipper”, this item is crucial for cutting the parts of the plastic sprues that come in a model kit. Simply take the flat end of the cutter, place it flush with the part, and snip it right off the sprue.

Hobby Knife: You will find hobby knives have all sorts of uses for plastic modeling. But the key for a beginner is to clean up parts that come off the sprues. You can use the knife to shave off extra bits of plastic (also known as “flash”), or scrape paint off of a contact point before gluing two plastic parts together. Eventually, you will also use old hobby knives to apply putty to a model kit.

Sandpaper/Sanding Sticks: Sandpaper and sanding sticks come in many different grits, from coarse to superfine. A good guidance is to start with a 400 grit, and expand your selection based on the project you are doing. The finer the grit, the more polished the final look, but also the more time and care you will need to devote to your kit.

Masking Tape: Hobby masking tape is different than regular masking tape you would find in an office supply store. Hobby tape is made specifically to adhere to plastic to prevent paint from getting onto that spot, while also being able to come off seamlessly, without leaving any residue. Use masking tape before painting to cover areas you do not want touched by the paint (e.g. clear parts, or a section of a car body that will be a different color than the body itself).

Self-Healing Cutting Mat: Never use sharp tools such as hobby knives directly on your workbench. All you will do is damage something that should last you a long time. Instead, invest in a simple self-healing cutting mat, which will both give you a hard surface to work on, while also protecting your workbench. A good cutting mat should last you many years if you take proper care of it.

This is just the start of what you will need if you decide to get deeper into model building. Remember, you’re only as good as your tools. Don’t sacrifice the final product by skimping on high-quality modeling tools. The more expensive tools may set you back up front, but they will last much longer and create much more beautiful works of art.