Your Favorite Tool or Technique?

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Your Favorite Tool or Technique?

  • I know there's a forum for tools and things....but as Aircraft is my preference, I'd like to hear what other A/C builders consider to be their favorite "discovery" that helps improve your builds.

    Me?  JLC saw, Alclad (after YEARS hearing people rave about it), BMF for masking canopies, Future....a Hold N Fold....an Iwata HP airbrush.....

    What do YOU consider to be the one (or five) things that are the most useful, the biggest help to you in making every model you build better than the last?

    I think we can all learn some very good things here....I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

    Cheers, LeeTree Remember, Safety Fast!!!
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  • 400-800-1000... grit sandpaper.  Cleaning up wing roots and glue joints.  Maybe not my favorite, but  one of the most important, rewarding jobs on my aircraft.  Rick

     

  • The Model Master paint line.

  • Your Favorite Tool?


    Shopsmith. No, I’m not kidding. Shopsmiths are magic.

    Huh? Occasional factual, grammatical, or spelling variations are inherent to this thesis and should
    not be considered as defects, as they enhance the individuality and character of this document.

  • For me, Tamiya Extra Thin cement - I couldn't live without it.  I remember the day when i first learnt about it from my cousin 20ish years ago.  Up until then i'd only built using testors glue in the orange tube. whilst i was still young (10 or so), and my skills weren't great, but the thing i hated the most was the glue marks marring everything.

    A close second would be pastels. i only found these about 5 years ago. i really enjoy the weathering process, so this is something i love to experiment with.

    Chris

  • I'd have to say Elmer's Fill n Finish putty. Doesn't shrink, sands well water clean-up, shapes easily with water, etc. been using it for nearly 25 years Lately I've been usng a spackle tho.  My old Sears 10" band saw. I've cut up more models for scratchbuilds and kitbashes than I care to count. Had it for nearly 30 years. Floor sander belt sand paper. Coarse grit, buy it by the foot, about 10 or so inches wide. Have a piece tacked on to a 3' x 1' plywood box lid. Makes great sander for big vac kits. Stretch-forming parts. (Poor man's vac-form.) Resin casting and mold making.

  • Wet sanding and polishing.   I can't believe that I went so long without knowing about this....

  • Tenax 7R - Honestly without this stuff I don't know that I'd have really gotten back into modeling. Love the way it welds plastic fast. No more glue it, clamp it, wait for a day...now if I'm being productive I can knock out major construction in a night or two if I don't have to stop to paint things.

    Used .35mm Iwata HP-CS airbrush needle - this thing is the unsung hero of my workbench. It's a fantastic micro-applicator for glue, a ghetto rivet-maker, a drill-hole starter, tiny paintbrush, panel-line cleaner-outer. It gets as much use as an xacto knife on my bench.

    Gunze Mr. Leveling Thinner - My paint jobs have gotten significantly better since I embraced the "thin the snot out of it" school of painting. Building up in layers makes shading and modulation easy, and with MLT I can thin Gunze and Tamiya paints to within an inch of their lives. I've also found it useful for heavily thinning Model Master enamels. I guess it's "hotter" than enamel thinner, and eliminates spidering and pooling you can get if you push the paint too far.

    On the Bench: 1/32 Trumpeter P-47 | 1/32 Hasegawa Bf 109G | 1/144 Eduard MiG-21MF x2

    On Deck:  1/350 HMS Dreadnought

    Blog/Completed Builds: doogsmodels.com

     

  • My airbrush and compressor, it's not a branded one but I got it at my local model shop years ago and has transformed my models big time.

  • a pair of $3 gloves at Dollar General

    they are just supposed to be cotton work gloves with a rubber type of work surface

    but, I keep them clean, they are perfect for removing Model Master and other similar types of paint caps

    you have a firm rubber grip to hold the bottle, and a good solid grab on the cap,,,,,no more pliers and/or soaking in thinner,,,,,,I haven't had to do either since I got those gloves

    they are near the rubber gloves and mops, the Mr Clean area of the store

    they are gray cloth, with blue gripping area,,,,,,Evercare is the brand

    One of each Navy squadron in the USN??,,,, yeah

    http://hangardeckview.blogspot.com/

  • I like Floquil Model Railroad paint flat coat.  I use it as both an undercoat as well as a final overcoating.  

    Years ago I noticed that it was smoother than the gloss coat I was using (Crystal Cote, also from Floquil), so I tried it in place of the gloss coat, and decaled over the top of it.

    It worked great.  It has a sort of waxy feel to it when sprayed with an airbrush, and it is slick enough for decals to slide and settle on, and since it is also the final top coat, you can add decals and do general touch ups at any time.  In most cases, I've had no silvering of the decal, when used in conjunction with the micro- solutions.

         Nulla rosa sine spina

  • Doog:

    I don't doubt the effectiveness of Tenax. It's very nice to melting seams, but I'm not sure how you get it to substitute for Tamiya Instant. (Actually I have found for some joins that orange cap Tamiya is actually better: sets slower but is very strong. Not a substitute but a complement.) I find Tenax sets so fast that by the time I try to join the parts, it's half dry. Maybe I don't use enough? And I've just bought some Mr. Levelling Thinner - not the first time you've cost me money. We'll see if it's better than Tamiya lacquer which I have used with great success in the past at very low ratios. And I like your tip about cloth dremel tools for buffing.

    Despite this talk about Mr. Color (I have maybe 60 bottles of Tamiya or Gunze paints and am not going to throw them away, so it's worth it to look for the ultimate thinner), whenever possible I'm moving toward water based acrylics. This is a completely personal matter for me and I would only recommend it to the people who like messing with paint and don't mind a little learning curve. I have some Citadel which I like, but my real favorites now are Vallejo Model Color and Golden Fluid acrylics. One does need to master artist acrylic airbrush mediums to make this work. But if you do, the resulting paint is wonderful to work with. No odor, lovely pigments (I'd put Golden's up against any paint I've seen) and if you're blowing them thin at about 15psi - where I do most of my spraying now - they will not clog. By using hardeners, retarders, "flow aid" and the main thinning mediums you in essence create your own paint for any given project. I know all Goldens use the same agent so they mix perfectly and I'd guess strongly the same is true with Model Color. (Might note that Vallejo makes a lot of art paints.)  Mr. Color does almost all of the standard military colors, but I've found that as I learn color mixing I can get very close to almost anything I'm looking for with Goldens. With the right mediums you can spray at extremely thin ratios at low psi. The down side is that they will take a little longer to dry. The upside to that is if a spray goes wrong, you've got a few seconds to simply wipe it away. Obviously if you're using any of these, you don't have far to go for hand brushing. And the stuff all comes in dropper bottles, lasts forever and is dirt cheap. If you ever try them out do not thin with alcohol ever - this is death - and never use more than a few drops of water, more will break the integrity of the paint. Use water if you want a wash: check Swanny's for a couple of good "sludge" wash recipes using artist acrylics: there you actually want to break down the paint. And don't bother with the cheapo craft paints that are almost free: here you get what you pay for. Golden or Liquitex cost less per ounce than model paints anyway.

    I've noticed one thing about these paints. When first applied they look more like a coat of paint over a surface than having the plastic change colors. A modern car has the colored metal effect. Military weapons, at least in the past, didn't. (NMS excepted natch.) They look like metal objects with a coat of paint over them. I hope this doesn't sound nuts, but think about this the next time you look at a restored warbird, tank or even museum ship. By the time weathering is done the effect is less evident, but I think the water acrylics just have a different "look" and I think I prefer it.

    And it cleans up with water or windex. I still use lacquer thinner to clean the airbrush though. These paints use liquid polymer as agent - essentially really thin plastic - and solvents will break them down immediately. That means you don't use solvents for thinners, but when you're cleaning your nozzle, nothing better than to break down paint. I learned early on that just because this stuff is so benign, and seems to blast out clean quickly, that you need to give your brush a good cleaning after every session - having liquid plastic as an agent could leave a clogged brush very quickly. But it cleans easily if it clogs: just don't forget about it.

    BTW: if you drop by the art store or check the blick web site you might check Sennelier dry pigments. Some paint loonies in the art world still make their own earth tone oil paints and that means they need inorganic pigments. (Ground up rock or minerals.) Sennelier provides about ten colors: I think ochre, raw umber and burnt umber will take you a long way. I'll be getting both black and white also. They're more expensive than MIG but about one third the cost per volume. As for quality - Sennelier is the probably the most famous high end artist paint maker in the world - so the stuff is remarkably fine. They're almost tricky to use because they're so fine but are great if you're setting them in alcohol or mixing them into some kind of brew.

    Eric

  • Man, Eric, that's a lot to reply to! But here goes!

    EBergerud

    Doog:

    I don't doubt the effectiveness of Tenax. It's very nice to melting seams, but I'm not sure how you get it to substitute for Tamiya Instant. (Actually I have found for some joins that orange cap Tamiya is actually better: sets slower but is very strong. Not a substitute but a complement.) I find Tenax sets so fast that by the time I try to join the parts, it's half dry. Maybe I don't use enough?

    To be honest I've never used Tamiya instant. The thing with Tenax, though, is that it's very much a welder, and you almost have to apply it while the parts are already pressed together (or so close that all it takes is a pinch to close them). I love this. This means I can tape a fuselage together and attack it with the Touch-n-Flow in sections and have the whole thing done in a few minutes. Or I can take a yellow microbrush (you can get them at Hobby Lobby) and swipe Tenax across narrow areas like the trailing edges of wings and get a good, solid weld without dribbling everywhere.

    Now sure, there are some parts where the "hold them together and weld" approach doesn't work so well. The two micro-MiGs I'm working on right now, the tail and fuselage spine are separate entities from the main fuselage. But in 1/144 scale, a touch-in-flow run along that area would be really visible. So I used Roket Plastic Glue (it's a slower acting and somehow non-toxic plastic solvent). It worked really well and I will probably continue to use it for those 10% of joins where Tenax is too hot and where I don't want to use Gator's Grip for whatever reason.

    And I've just bought some Mr. Levelling Thinner - not the first time you've cost me money. We'll see if it's better than Tamiya lacquer which I have used with great success in the past at very low ratios. And I like your tip about cloth dremel tools for buffing.

    Despite this talk about Mr. Color (I have maybe 60 bottles of Tamiya or Gunze paints and am not going to throw them away, so it's worth it to look for the ultimate thinner), whenever possible I'm moving toward water based acrylics. This is a completely personal matter for me and I would only recommend it to the people who like messing with paint and don't mind a little learning curve. 

     

    See, I've never been able to get water-based acrylics to spray the way I want (heavily thinned, through a small-diameter nozzle, at low PSI). Either they're too thick to pull it off, or so thinned that they run, or they suffer from separation issues. I love Vallejo myself, and I'm actually cool with it for base coats and the like, but for the subtler stuff I've been doing with Gunze and Tamiya lately, I've always found it wanting. That's not to say it can't be done, but I feel like it's something like alchemy to pull it off. With Gunze and Tamiya, it's just add some leveling thinner and go.

    And with Gunze and lacquer thinner, airbrush cleaning is super simple. Honestly the worst paint I've used in regards to PITA to clean is Model Master enamel. Love those paints, but it takes elbow grease to get those things out of your brush. 

    On the Bench: 1/32 Trumpeter P-47 | 1/32 Hasegawa Bf 109G | 1/144 Eduard MiG-21MF x2

    On Deck:  1/350 HMS Dreadnought

    Blog/Completed Builds: doogsmodels.com

     

  • Testors Dullcoat

    Pastels

    Water colors

    My airbrush and compressor

    These are my favorite things...

    Oh, and the sweet micro saw only avail from poland or something...

    Photobucket

    On the Bench: Tamiya's 1/48 A-10a Thunderbolt 

    In the Hangar:  Hmmm???

     

  • Ditto on the Tenax.  I actually pour my Tenax into an old Tamiya Extra Thin Cement bottle (green lid).  I find the applicator supplied by Tamiya very easy to use and it works great.  Next on my list would be Tamiya paints in conjunction with their lacquer thinner.  Its like painting with silk and its almost a shame to have to clear coat it.  

    Joe

     

    "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"