Armor/AFV: Techniques
From Weathering to making tent rolls, discuss it here.
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Tools we use
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: April 13, 2006
KitMaker: 424 posts
Armorama: 419 posts
Posted: Friday, March 02, 2018 - 03:12 PM UTC
I have done a bit of de-cluterring lately and found so many tools I accumulated over the years. Some I have totally forgotten and the ones I used regularly. I also have tools I modified and customise to suit the project I'm doing yet I found myself looking online for more and new tools available. It seems a never ending hunt for tools.

It would be nice for us to have a thread to list all our tools used for reference and guidance. I would like to see what is your daily use, basic tools, modified or custom tools, precision tools etc. We can also share ideas on tools we use. I can learn a thing or two from others.

If you guys post pictures of your tools here it would be much appreciated. I will try to snap some pictures of the modelling tools I have accumulated (of which most I don't use often).
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Gauteng, South Africa
Joined: April 05, 2014
KitMaker: 384 posts
Armorama: 372 posts
Posted: Friday, March 02, 2018 - 04:24 PM UTC
Hi Val.

Good thread this is.

These are my 'staple' tools:
-Tamiya sprue cutter
-sanding boards (emery boards that I stick various grades of sandpaper to for basic part cleanup).
-X-acto hobby knife with various blades.
-Tamiya tweezers (straight and thin nosed versions).
-pin vise and drill bit set
-circle cutter for cutting round shapes on tape,perfect for making wheel masks
-rubberised clips and clothes pegs
-Razor saw (valuable for cutting styrene and resin parts cleanly)
-scribing tool for rescribing panel lines.

I have many more tools in my toolboxes but these are my most commonly used ones.
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Ontario, Canada
Joined: March 01, 2004
KitMaker: 3,123 posts
Armorama: 2,539 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2018 - 08:18 PM UTC
UMM-USA sells a number of really useful tools.

This razor saw is pretty much my favourite specialty tool of all time. It cuts plastic and resin equally well, with very narrow kerf (like 8 thou)and you can use very little force on the tool making it perfect not only for regular cutting but also for removing very fragile parts from sprues.

This scribing tool it also really handy and I use it a lot. The big downfall with this tool is that the sharp straight blade is also where one normally puts your hand to hold tot tool to use the scribe hook, and vice versa.

Frankly, I'm going to get a second one and make a handle for each end so I can use both tools without risking a finger.

UMM also carries several other scribing templates and rules which are quite handy, but, building almost exclusively armour, I seldom need more than a simple scribing line and the flexible rules do a good job.

UMM also carry pretty reasonable punch and die sets, although my Walther Hex set is still going strong and I have a great circular punch set a toolmaker friend made 20 years ago that works great, so I haven't actually used them.

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Quebec, Canada
Joined: January 01, 2004
KitMaker: 7,600 posts
Armorama: 6,110 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2018 - 08:52 PM UTC
Apart from all the above-mentioned tools, my most often used one, for clean-up on both vehicles and figures is a half-round rat-tail file, toothed on both sides. Very versatile tool.
Also lots of mini-clothes pins - useful for clamping small parts during glueing, and holding figures by a base, and PE frets for priming, airbrushing, etc.
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Michigan, United States
Joined: October 28, 2002
KitMaker: 4,021 posts
Armorama: 3,947 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2018 - 09:00 PM UTC
Hand tools:

1) straight-jaw, non-serrated hemostats. Great to grip PE when attachment nubs need filing off. Great to grip PE for simple bends. I use this constantly.

2) rat tail files. Who has enough of these?

Measuring tools/cutting edges:

1) Stainless steel straight edges, 45 triangle, L-shaped

2) digital calipers (even the cheapo $15 ones have their uses). For XMas, my FIL bought me a set of the super sweet Mituyoyo digital calipers. Wow!


1) self-repairing cutting mat

2) Ott light

3) optivisor

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Washington, United States
Joined: March 11, 2016
KitMaker: 1,792 posts
Armorama: 1,186 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2018 - 09:00 PM UTC
Needle files
Flexible straight edge and eraser shield for scribing
Ruler and micrometer
Clamps, clips and clothes pins
soldering iron
My dremal
My curved hemostats
First aid kit for obvious reasons see my callsign.

Edit: it was a tie posting with Mr Chow
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Arizona, United States
Joined: September 20, 2017
KitMaker: 350 posts
Armorama: 19 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2018 - 10:16 PM UTC
There should be a guide built directly into this website. I know I asked tons of n00b questions, so I am sure they have been asked thousands of times. Like a sticky or a section on here recommending basic tools and more advanced options. Kind of like a list people can start with when they want to start modeling.
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Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,670 posts
Armorama: 2,052 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2018 - 11:01 PM UTC
Going to post this up front-- go see what Paul Budzik's does with his tools
I've been collecting miniature/hobby tools since 1959, and have too many to list, most of you have hit the basics. When I go to hobby shows, I generally carry a small kit along with these items:

Xacto and B&D knives
Micro bushes
Sanding sticks of varying grades
Sandpaper of varying grades
Cyanoacrylate applicator (home made from wire)
Straight cross tip tweezer
Curved trip tweezer
Straight fine tip tweezer
Sprue nippers
Paper towels cut in quarters (less wastage)
Thin and Seam filling cyanoacrylate
Tamiya thin cement
Set of fine steel files
Set of fine steel drill bits
Pin Vise
Sewing scissors
Cheap rubber or latex gloves from Costco (saves hands from harsh chemicals when building, keeps your models from unsightly fingerprints and unwanted dirt when handling).
Optivisor (or equivalent-- I don't really use one, since my close up vision is rather good- what I do use is a high intensity headlamp for getting light where I need it to see)

This is my basic list of tools. Eventually, you'll need more than this. I have sets of riffler files, diamond files, drill bits, Several Dremel tools, a Dremel work station, a resistance soldering unit, vac-form machine, cut off wheels, razor saws, jewelers saws, dozens of dentist drill bits (ask your dentist for his used and broken tools) and all kinds of mixing dishes, measuring cups, three go-to airbrushes and all kinds of air brush repair parts, pipe cleaners, q-tips, shaped wooden dowels, a Pan-a-Vise, three compressors--- Camel hair/nylon/sponge brushes, burnishers---- and on and on, ad infinitum. Bottom line is, as you build, you'll find a need to add tools over the years, which make modeling simpler and more enjoyable. One thing you should do is invest in quality tools, and learn how to use them. My favorite catalog is the Micro-Mark catalog. They have about every tool you'd need. Some are high quality, others are cheap, but still useable. Pick out what you need. Be organized in storing and caring for them. Most importantly, be innovative. You can make many of your own tools with wood, brass and wire, and a Dremel or similar tool with a little inventiveness. And don't forget to add the safety tools. I'd direct you to Paul Budzik's website if you want to see a good tutorial on tools, and how to use them:
VR, Russ
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New Jersey, United States
Joined: February 02, 2008
KitMaker: 1,388 posts
Armorama: 1,325 posts
Posted: Sunday, March 04, 2018 - 11:06 PM UTC
Wilder tweezers
Flat jawed Jewelers pliers
Tamiya plastic file
Tamiya photo etch file
Sanding sponges
Hold and fold
Rigid, metal ruler