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(Guide) Basic necessities for Modifying/Building models

2821 Views 6 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  CollectorX
I just compiled a list of items needed for modifying diecast or building plastic kits. It not only lists the items but the uses for them as well and some recommendations.
I know you may have most of these but just in case as a refresher or for beginners. Believe me this may help in lessening problems during your projects. (I know some of these have been mentioned previously but I put these together because they all come hand in hand and to compliment other sources.)


Small desk trash can- Getting up every once in a while to throw masking tape away gets old much less reaching under the table to throw your trash away. I have found that any thing you can do to make the job easier even if it takes longer your should do it, because in building/modifying diecast or plastic kits your going to do it many times. If you go this way get used to collecting small trash bags for these little helpers.

Dremel kit- Cut diecast.

Exacto knife- Of some sort. Rubber grips are nice.(most used tool)

Cork board- Is recommended to be used as a knife holder and as your primary workstation to work with and to drop paint glue and any other material accidentally during modification/building. I recommend finding a large board usually approx the size of a 18 inch monitor will do the trick.

Cup of Q-tips-Perfect for polishing or waxing those hard to reach places.

Sprue cutter- For carefully detaching parts from their trees, when working with windows I recommend using an exacto knife.

Pliers- Just in case your paint bottle gets hard to open because of dried paint.

Brushes-At least one thin glue brush, wide painting brushes and a large duster brush (for dusting excess flocking) Artists brushes work best, the fine the bristles the better.

Elmer's glue or window cement/maker- perfect for windows bc excess glue can be wiped off with warm wet towel.

Plastic cement and or super glues-I recommend Tenax highly, super glue is very nice as well for some applications, faller expert is good (but does not dry as fast I would like), and Tamiya plastic cement thin (but this glue is not nearly as good as Tenax) I would recommend Faller plastic cement but this glue takes a long time to dry other than that its fine.

Sand paper- Need 600-3500 grit range recommended.

Detail paint- Including the basics such as chrome silver, flat black, and flat white and so on.

Wooden dowel rods- For painting in conjunction with mounting tape (coat hangers can also be used but are hard to get good contact with mounting tape.

Mounting tape- Used to mount plastic parts.

Masking tape- 40mm Tamiya tape is highly recommended and has never failed me when used properly. Since Tamiya tape is expensive you can use a less expensive tape to cover the parts further from the masked section. Also I hear that Gladlock press and seal plastic works very well as a masking tape and leaves no residue behind. (Tip: pre-cut piece of tape on hand at the edge of your workbench closest to you just in case you need it to tape something down i.e. mirrors, body panels engine parts waiting to dry and so on.)

Gloves- Thick chemical resistant gloves for painter strippers, household cleaning gloves for painting, and Tamiya professional gloves are recommended for handling model for construction. Believe me the Tamiya gloves are almost necessary when building high detail, high gloss models that are complex and they allow you to have great dexterity and professional finish. They also greatly reduce the amount of risk involved when building, and always watch your fingers for loose paint or glue this is what usually messes up a model.

Tweezers- You may need strong ones, short ones, and long ones. The tweezers that close themselves come in handy for holding drying parts or for construction.

Burnishing tool- great for taking all risk associated with using tooth pick or fingernail to burnish edges. It wont snag tape and cause hours of frustration when masking windows. Excellent tool although expensive.

Aluminum can- Can be cut to any size/shape to add detail.

Thin metal wire- Great for brake lines and engine detail.

Toothbrush- Of course not your own, just an old one used to clean parts and for stripping paint.

Tin Snips- Personal preference, used to cut thick plastic trees for roll cages and other ideas. Stronger than a sprue cutter.

Painting mask- If you are going to do a lot of painting I suggest a nice mask to keep chemicals out of your lungs.

Polishing system- I use all of Tamiya's polishing compounds and results are great! Also for the last touch to remove finger prints and small scratches I recommend "The last detail" model wax.

Pen- Comes with many parts that are useful, springs, exhaust tips, and so on. Recommend buying two at once if you have dual exhaust to match.

Sanding sticks- Very useful for ridding of flash in hard to sand places.

Eye protection- Very important when using stripper.

Food Strainer- For sifting through carpet flocking to rid of unwanted lumps and chunks.

Scissors- Can be used for cutting decal sheets but be careful of what you use them on.

Sharpie markers- Great for touch ups on black, or silver or any color. Silver come in handy for picking off nuts and bolts and black is great for pulleys and belts.

Pin vise- A must and comes in handy with everything. Great uses are drilling for engine compartment detail hoses, engine wiring for spark plug boots and distributor. Equip yourself with several drill bits, and the small ones come in handy.

Scriber- Good for opening doors, hoods, and trunks. Also good tool for deepening existing panel lines. However it is extremely easy to go off course and scratch the rest of the car leaving difficult to remove marks. Work slow and be carefull!

Nail clippers- Good for cutting metal wire and plastic engine wires.

Headphone wire- good for several wires within to wires batteries and engines.

Paint thinner- is a must when cleaning brushes. Make sure you used the right thinner for the paint you have. Also good for paint, highlighting detail, and washes.

Polishing cloth- Need a clean soft cotton cloth to polish and remove wax/dust.

Lighter- Great for heating up clear plastic styrene to conform for wind shields and other windows. Also good for giving metal exhaust tips a burnt used look.

Note pad- Needed for writing ideas, you don't want to leave a piece of detail and then it be too late to fix it after the fact.

Compass- For making nice round circles, brakes and steering wheels.

Screw drivers- Several sizes come in handy.

Toothpicks- Always have a few on hand ready to be used at a moments notice if you accidentally use too much glue you can wipe it away or if you need it to apply glue. They also work well as paint applicators.

Sanding files- Rarely used heavily on plastic but very useful on diecast i.e. Maistos.

Magnifier- I highly recommend if you are getting serious about diecast modifications or plastic kit building to use a well lit area preferably achieving that with a lamp with built in magnifier to see the details up close. Your eyes are well worth the investment.

Tripod- Used for not only taking pictures of your fine models but can be used effectively as a paint rack for your model hung upsidedown to prevent dust particles from settling on the wet paint. (works only if tripod has a center bag hook)

Page up paper holder- Some sort of document holder to properly hold your diecast/plastic model instructions.

AOL CDs- Have a few on hand espcially if you are going to mix paint. They are free and almost everywhere and facilitate in seeing your paint while mixing.

There are many other various things you may need but these are the basics for a workbench that can take on most projects that are typical.

I hope this is helpful. Goodluck!
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WOW, dude! Great job. I can go out and build a kit right now with all that info. :giggle I'm sure there'll be PLENTY of people here that will find this list invaluable. :nicejob
Wow! I can't think of anything you missed! I use the disposable fingernail file strips to sand down the tires. . .
I like the AOL CD idea :cheers
Same here! I forgot to mention that because I hardly build models needing tire sanding. Thanks :cheers
Great list.

A few I'd add -

www.microbrush.com brushes. These are great little brushes that get in those hard to reach areas & come in 4 sizes. These are throw away brushes and cost under $2 per package. Great for detailing small parts & touch ups.

Goo Gone - for removing those nasty AUTOart stickers.

A good wax . I usually use a Clear Coat compound to get rid of the marks after wetsanding a paint job down & a finishing wax to bring out the shine.

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs - Large rectangle size (16 cups/128 oz) . These are sold in 2 packs for under $4 (Walmart/Target). These are great for storing parts , screws, chassis,etc of the current project you're working on. They also come with tops and are stackable. Plus, if your significant other likes baking, these come in handy for that too when you aren't using them(might earn you some brownie points :giggle ).
Thanks for the extra tips Scott_S :cheers
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