Orangeville, ON (James Doan) If you are just starting out in modelling, don’t try to build anything without the proper tools. While modellers of many years have usually acquired an array of tools including electric drills, airbrushes, vises and clamps, specialty scalpels, (and even miniature welding tools!) for a small expense outlay, you can purchase a basic set of tools.
First on the list is a razor-sharp modelling knife. It is better to purchase a knife with a handle that fits replaceable blades. You will go through a lot of blades, never work with a dull blade, so buy blades in bulk and never hesitate to replace a blade as you work. As far as blade shapes are concerned, most model work can be handled with a standard #11 blade (the straight edge with a sharp point). Another useful blade, #10, has a curved cutting edge, suitable for contour finishing.
Always handle knives with care, they are SHARP and can cut you as easily as the model part. Never cut at an angle that will put sideways pressure on the blade, they are thin and can break easily. Never cut towards your fingers.
Next on your list of tools is a set of fine modelling files. There are three basic shapes – a thin round-section “rat tail” file, a triangular section file tapering to a sharp point with three flat surfaces, and a file with one half-round face and a flat one.
A good set of stainless steel surgical tweezers is also useful.
A razor saw, ideal for cutting through thick objects where a knife is not practical, should also be in your kit. Get the thinnest blade you can find.
A sharp awl, for boring holes, comes in handy.
In the miscellaneous department, a supply of straight pins, thumbtacks and toothpicks will be always welcome.
Don’t forget to include a steel rule.