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1999-2003. All rights reserved.
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Modelling Tools
Cutting Tools, Brushes, Miscellaneous Tools,
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CUTTING TOOLS

- Scalpel
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Goblin CartoonThe best tool for most of your cutting needs is a surgical scalpel. They come with detachable blades which can be easily changed when they become blunt. A good blade shape is the 10a, which has a sharp point and a flat cutting edge, but a number of types are available including curved blades. Don't lean on the knife too hard when cutting, or you will snap the blade.

WARNING Be extremely careful, you can cut big pieces out of yourself in an instant. The easiest way to cut yourself is when cutting against a steel rule. If the fingers of the hand holding the ruler stick over the edge, you will neatly slice the ends off. During my architecture course, countless people did exactly that (including myself - twice) and one had to go to casualty to have it bandaged.

Usefulness - Essential
Availability - Very Common
Sources - Model, craft & art shops.

- Craft Knife
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Xacto knifeIf you want to hack through solid bits of wood or large chunks of figure, you will need something heavier than a scalpel. This one is an 'X-acto' knife and has more in common with a chisel than a craft knife. It has interchangeable blades which are strong enough to be exceptionally difficult to break.

You could also use a 'Stanley' knife, the traditional craft knife, but I wouldn't recommend the ones with the long segmented blades that you break off to get a fresh edge. They are probably fine if you get a good one, but the two I've had have broken.

Usefulness - Very Useful
Availability - Common
Sources - Model, craft & art shops.

- Steel Set Square

Picture of set squareThis can be used to get a precise right angle when cutting walls for buildings and similar. The one shown here is about 4" long.

Usefulness - Fairly Useful
Availability - Rare
Sources - Craft, model and hardware shops.

- Metal Rule

Use this and a scalpel to cut a straight line through card, paper etc. Aluminium ones are better than steel because they don't rust. Some have a rubbery strip stuck underneath which prevents whatever you are cutting from slipping.

Usefulness - Very Useful
Availability - Common
Sources - DIY, craft and hardware shops.

- Small Metal Rule

This one is only 6" long, which makes it very easy to position and turn. It is ideal for fiddly stuff like cutting out windows from bits of card etc. The thinness of the metal has the added bonus that when you press it down, it bends over things you are cutting which helps to stop them slipping. You will need a larger rule as well for cutting bigger items, but this makes a handy alternative. I got this one for only 50 pence from a market stall.

Usefulness - Handy
Availability - Fairly Rare
Sources - DIY, craft and hardware shops.

BRUSHES

Brushes are very much a personal thing, so I will just describe what I use.

- Figure Painting Brushes
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I use a size 2. Prolene brush from Pro Arte. This is a mixture of synthetic and natural hair, which I find lasts better than pure sable. It keeps a good point, so you don't need anything smaller. When they get old, I shorten them slightly with a pair of scissors, and use them for drybrushing.

Usefulness - Essential
Availability - Very Common
Sources - DIY, craft and model shops.

- Scenery Brushes
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I have a size 7 and a size 11 'Dalon' brush from Daler. These don't keep a point, but will stand an awful lot of abuse in the form of glue and dry brushing.

Usefulness - Essential
Availability - Very Common
Sources - DIY, craft and model shops.

MISCELLANEOUS TOOLS

- Pliers

The most useful kind is one with narrow tips (needle pliers), make sure you get some with a wire cutting bit at the back. You can get some really tiny ones which are designed for working on jewellery.

Usefulness - Very Useful
Availability - Common
Sources - DIY, craft and model shops.

- Hypodermic

I use this blunt nozzled hypodermic for adding water to paintpots, occasionally squirting in a couple of syringefuls and giving it a stir can add years to their life. Brushes don't hold enough water, taps are inconvenient and easy to flood with, and pouring is messy. Laboratory pipettes would also be good. It's best to keep a container of clean water for this, and not to use brush washing water.

Usefulness - Occasionally Convenient
Availability - Rare
Sources - ?

- Tweezers

Nice for positioning those minute and awkward bits of model.

Usefulness - Very Useful
Availability - Common
Sources - Craft and cosmetic shops.

- Punch Pliers

Picture of punch pliers These are used to punch small holes in things, and are usually used for making holes in the leather of horse riding equipment.

Unfortunately when used on card, the tubes tend to jam up, so you will need to unblock them regularly with a thin piece of metal.

Usefulness - Occasionally Useful
Availability - Rare
Sources - Riding tack and some craft shops.

- Metal Pointy Thing

This is a steel spike about 78" long with a round spatula on one end. I think it is some kind of leatherworking tool. I use it for all sorts of things, such as unblocking glue tubes, stirring paint, making holes and round dents in things etc.

Unfortunately I can't say where it came from, because I don't know. As far as I remember my Dad found it somewhere and thought it might be useful. I have a feeling that it might have been his grandfather's.

Usefulness - Fairly Useful
Availability - Might be unique
Sources - Who knows

- Clay-shaping tool

Again I'm not sure where this came from, but it is a fairly typical clay working tool. It can also be used to shape epoxy putty, although personally I tend to use a scalpel.

This one is brass, but you are more likely to get them in plastic these days.

Usefulness - Useful for putty modelling
Availability - Fairly rare
Sources - Craft and art shops

- Clothes Pegs (or Clothes Pins in America)

Use these to firmly clamp bits of card etc. when waiting for the glue to dry.

Usefulness - Very Useful
Availability - Common
Sources - Hardware shops.




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1999-2005. All rights reserved.
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