The Basics : Gathering up a Toolkit for Modelling. - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-12, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Default The Basics : Gathering up a Toolkit for Modelling.

The Basics : Gathering up a Toolkit for Modelling.

When starting out in the hobby it's very easy to get distracted by buying all the glitzy toys and forget to invest in a decent selection of tools.
Shop smart and this doesn't have to be too expensive and won't eat into your budget for minis as much as you fear. ( I don't care what colour the chaps T-shirt is he is trying to sell you an overpriced tool that you can get better quality one for less somewhere else every time, just buy his paint and minis.)

Over time you will probably find yourself adding tools for specific jobs to the box but for the purposes of this article we will stick to the basics you'll need and what they are good for.


Scalpel

There is a reason I have listed this one first as it is not so much 'what do you do with it?' as 'what don't you use it for?'
I consider the scalpel the single most important tool I own. There was a time when I used mine for everything as it was the only tool I had.

Why scalpel and not craft knife/safety knife? In a word versatility no other knife allows such an amount of abuse and use.
There are a few sizes of handle and blade types available, the most used size is a Number 3 handle and Blade types are 11 (precision point) or 10A (a bit more robust than the 11)



Cypher871 kindly added a bit more information on scalpels later in this thread. I'll quote it here to keep it all handily in one place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cypher871 View Post
If you do opt for a scalpel there are two basic types disposable and re-useable. Disposable scalpels are one shot deals with the blade fixed to a moulded plastic handle...use and bin once it is blunt.





Re-useable scalpels are purchased as a handle and blades seperately





Blades come in packs of 100, 10 foil packets containing 10 blades each. There are two sizes of handle and 10 types of blade. The smaller handle can take blade numbers 10, 11, 12, 15 and 15T. The larger handle can accommodate blade numbers 20 through 24.



Personally I always use a number 11 blade.

Oh, and a little safety tip. If you are not paying attention when you change blades you can easily cut yourself. The blades are just a push fit and lock in place when pushed onto the retainer. I always use a small pair of snipe nose pliers to remove and install blades...no danger of cutting yourself...and yes, the first time you snap a scalpel blade you will crap yourself!

Cy
Clippers

Again one of the stock tools you should carry in your kit, primarily used for clipping minis out of the sprues, excess flash/tab removal and cutting wire for drilling and pinning. Also can be used for trimming off Miniature parts during conversions if you don't want to keep both halves of what you are cutting. The pair pictured below are side clippers ( my personal preference ), straight clippers are more usually the type owned by gamers.



Pin Vice Drill ( 1mm Bit).

This item is more of an intermediate tool, whilst you can live with out one I strongly advise getting one and a 1 mm drill bit or 10.
Primarily used for drilling during the drill and pin process ( a must when gluing parts made from different materials) and drilling out the barrel muzzles on guns. For Heavy weapons such as Heavy Bolters a 2mm drill bit will be handy to have.

Svartmetall has a very good beginners guide to Pinning and Drilling that can be found HERE.




Needle Files

Useful to have around, but with the gradual demise of Metal use in GW products and the improved quality of plastics over recent years I seem to be using them less often.
Primary uses are removal of heavy mold seams and cleaning off flash on metal Minis.



Razor Saw

Once again more of an intermediate tool than a basic perhaps but well worth a mention for the newer modeler anyway.
Primary uses, well cutting anything too beefy to get a knife through, removal of large resin molding tabs and all metal mini cutting.



Emery Paper

Not so much a tool as a consumable resource, Emery (Also know wet and dry) paper is just a special sort of sand paper really, something metal workers use a lot.
Useful for a final 'filing' of mold seam lines and cleaning out other mold imperfections in areas that you cannot get a file or knife into. Also used lightly can 'sand' Green Stuff. For the Miniature hobbyist Fine Emery paper of a grade about 800 is the best.


Last edited by Viscount Vash; 01-17-13 at 09:29 AM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-21-12, 10:26 PM
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-01-13, 02:13 AM
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A good hobby knife is just as good as a scalpel, you just need a decent selection of blades, and a new blade set for a hobby knife is much cheaper than a new blade set for a scalpel, and the versatility of different blades is lost
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-01-13, 02:59 AM
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Have you ever used a dremel VV ?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-01-13, 09:32 AM
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Are you needing advice Magpie? I have used one a lot.

In addition for this list you can also use a jewelers saw, more flexible, replaceable blades, various sizes. But they are weaker and will break easy enough.

Micro diamond files, very fine grit, small, good on resin, plastic, and metal.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-01-13, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slango20 View Post
A good hobby knife is just as good as a scalpel, you just need a decent selection of blades, and a new blade set for a hobby knife is much cheaper than a new blade set for a scalpel, and the versatility of different blades is lost
Each to their own I suppose, I prefer the control a scalpel offers, when surgeons start using craft knifes I'll change over.

On the price front you possibly have me, I buy them by the 100 so they were about 10 pence (Sterling) each. I do a lot of cutting so it's not as mad as it seems.

I've had Knife sets before, and found the things to be false economy and only used the other blade types when I had blunted all the pointy ones or not at all. ( at which point I spent money on curved or chisel blades to leave in abox somewhere.)



Quote:
Originally Posted by Magpie_Oz View Post
Have you ever used a dremel VV ?
To death, took me about 6 years to kill my first one. I did a little intro to the Dremel Stylus a while back.
https://www.heresy-online.net/forums/...ad.php?t=84361
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-01-13, 12:08 PM
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I lost my stylus :-( I seriously have not seen it for 8 months. Great tool, need another one myself.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-01-13, 12:23 PM
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I've had a Dremel 1100 for a year or so, I'd be interested to see how you guys use your's. I use the sanding and engraving bits for mould line clean up etc but I've not have much luck cutting things.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-16-13, 02:44 PM
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As I move toward my dream of playing Warhammer 40k, I found this thread very helpful.

I've never done modeling and I find that a much disadvantage towards this hobby. I basically have to learn several things. Not only just the game!

But the only question I can think of right now is on the topic of the scalpel.
Is the blade replaceable? I can see the perks of using the tool, but I would almost think that using just a razor blade or a box cutter would have the same outcome, but I could be wrong.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-16-13, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holo144 View Post
But the only question I can think of right now is on the topic of the scalpel.
Is the blade replaceable? I can see the perks of using the tool, but I would almost think that using just a razor blade or a box cutter would have the same outcome, but I could be wrong.
Most scalpel handles will take new blades.

Scalpels are less robust than box cutters but give much more control so are better if you want to do fine alterations. As they are sharper they are also safer than other knives if you change blades when they start to blunt.
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