Tools

There are different tools that you are going to need to be able to build your models: measuring tools, edged tools, clamping tools, brushes and airbrushes, paint, glue, power tools, etc.

Below you will find a description of each of these tools.

Measuring Tools

You will need a selection of plastic or steel rulers. You will use them not only for measuring but also for tracing and adding details to your model.

Remember if you are a serious modeler planning to modify some plastic kits, you will need a ruler to measure reference plans and calculate scales from photographs.

Edged Tools

Commonly known as the “X-Acto knife” or “Hobby Knife“, is one of the most important tools. It is a good idea to have a good set of different blades and handles. Always wear protection safety glasses when using edged tools.

When cutting the plastic pieces from the spruces, do not press down with the blade all the way down at once. Perform a progressive cut to avoid breaking the plastic in an undesired location. Most small pieces are very fragile. Take special care when cutting clear plastic like the one used on cockpits, windows, and lights. This type of plastic is even more fragile.

Another type of edged tool is the “U” shape razor saw. If you are planning to make heavy modifications to your plastic kit, make sure to consider a razor saw.

CAUTION: Do not let small children operate this type of tool without adult supervision.

Clamping Tools

Standard or cross-action tweezers are indispensable. These tools are ideal for handling small pieces or holding parts for painting or gluing.

Standard clamps are also very useful for holding components together for gluing, especially for larger parts like wing halves, when parts need to stay together temporarily for longer periods of time.

Rubber bands, wood clothespins, and even paper clips can be used for clamping. Masking tape and invisible tape can also be used to hold parts together, but they are primarily used for masking areas of the model for painting. invisible tape is useful for masking canopies.

Airbrushes

The airbrush is a miniature spray gun that blends a stream of air with paint depositing the resulting mixture smoothly over a surface. The required air is generally supplied by an air compressor. An airbrush is a precision tool and it is preferred over spray paint cans. The video tutorials on this website will teach you how to use an airbrush.

The most common and simplest airbrush is the external mix single action (a color bottle or cup is plugged into the back of the fluid tip)

It is very important to remember to clean the airbrush thoroughly after each use.


Paint

Types of paint:

Enamel: This is the most common type of paint for modelers. Manufacturers of this type of paint are Testors, Humbrol, and Pactra among others.

Lacquer: This type of paint normally comes in spray cans.

Acrylic: These paints can not be mixed with enamel paints, they are water-thinable (no water-soluble). They are also becoming very popular and are preferred by many modelers.

Remember that some paints, especially those for metal finish are very volatile. Work in a well-ventilated area and/or use a protective mask.

Accurate Colors

Many kit manufacturers reference FS (Federal Standard) numbers for the colors used by the airplanes. These FS numbers also identify many paints for scale modeling in the market today.

Federal Standard Color Reference Chart (www.federalstandardcolor.com)

Glue

Also known as “Cement” it is used to adhere the plastic parts of a model kit. It comes in different types:

Tube cement: Thickened plastic that comes packaged in a squeeze tube, it has a relatively quick drying time.

Liquid cement: It requires the use of a brush for application to the seam of two surfaces held together in contact. In most cases, this type of glue is more effective because when applying it flows along the joint and dries rapidly. This type of cement actually dissolves the surface of the plastic parts held together, producing a solid bond.

The “Superglues”: They dry in 10 to 45 seconds. This type of glue is excellent for gluing antennas, landing gears, and other small parts.

Small Power Tools

The Dremel Motor – This tool is a miniature power drill that supports an extensive line of miniature bits, polishing wheels, saw blades, grinders, etc. It is an excellent and indispensable tool.

There are miniature cordless drills capable of spinning between 7,500rpm to 15,000rpm.

The miniature drill can be used for example to sand the edges of the wings, joints, and sections of the model where the spruces were removed.

This type of tool is very useful to perform major modifications on models; for example, it can be used to make a wing have a more pronounced curve.

CAUTION: Do not drive your miniature power drill at high speeds because it will generate more heat to melt the plastic you are working on.

CAUTION: Do not let small children operate this type of tool without adult supervision.

Tools Examples:

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