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Your Favorite Tool or Technique?

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  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: Australia
Your Favorite Tool or Technique?
Posted by leemitcheltree on Sunday, November 25, 2012 7:13 PM

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!!!
  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Crawfordsville, Indiana
Posted by Wabashwheels on Sunday, November 25, 2012 7:44 PM

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

 

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: State of Mississippi. State motto: Virtute et armis (By valor and arms)
Posted by mississippivol on Sunday, November 25, 2012 8:05 PM

The Model Master paint line.

  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: Washington, DC
Posted by TomZ2 on Monday, November 26, 2012 12:26 AM

Your Favorite Tool?


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

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.

cml
  • Member since
    March, 2007
  • From: Brisbane, Australia
Posted by cml on Monday, November 26, 2012 6:53 AM

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

  • Member since
    August, 2012
Posted by famvburg on Monday, November 26, 2012 9:27 AM

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.

Dre
  • Member since
    June, 2007
  • From: here, not over there
Posted by Dre on Monday, November 26, 2012 9:39 AM

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

  • Member since
    June, 2010
  • From: Austin, TX
Posted by DoogsATX on Monday, November 26, 2012 1:45 PM

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

 

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, November 26, 2012 2:15 PM

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.

  • Member since
    March, 2005
  • From: near Nashville, TN
Posted by TarnShip on Monday, November 26, 2012 4:20 PM

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

almost gone

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: AandF in the Badger State
Posted by checkmateking02 on Monday, November 26, 2012 5:05 PM

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

  • Member since
    February, 2010
  • From: Berkeley CA/St. Paul MN
Posted by EBergerud on Monday, November 26, 2012 5:38 PM

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

  • Member since
    June, 2010
  • From: Austin, TX
Posted by DoogsATX on Monday, November 26, 2012 10:07 PM

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

 

  • Member since
    December, 2010
  • From: Colorado Springs
Posted by Geof on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 12:28 AM

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???

 

  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 2:16 AM

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"

 

  • Member since
    January, 2012
  • From: Hatfield
Posted by Misty on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 6:08 AM

zap a gap medium ca - just enough time to adjust (JUST!) and fills well.

Gators grip glue - for when any ca is too fast.

tamiya rattle can primers white (and grey) best way to a flawless white/yellow/bright red top coat.

micromesh foam squares - much easier to use than sheet micromesh.

Mr softer decal solution - will pull down anything, even the thickest CF decal (with help from a hot cotton bud)

Oh and coffee, shed loads of it.

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 8:24 AM

Hey I ditto Lawdog. I re-use my old Tamiya cement jar, cause its bigger and nice and flat, only the Tenax seems to evaporate fairly quickly...Guess I need to build faster. Does Eduard's painting masks count as a favorite tool, or is it cheating...I'd say gunze paints and my airbrush. Painting is a  breeze and I have far less screw ups do to the quality of the paint.

 

G-J
  • Member since
    July, 2012
Posted by G-J on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 8:33 AM

Toothpicks....for propping up parts, mixing paint, fixing a spot of glue

waxed paper:  makes a great pallet and covers the cutting mat.

On the bench:  Tamyia Mosquito Mk. VI for the '44 group build.  Yes, still.

On deck: 

  • Member since
    January, 2006
  • From: Sarasota, FL
Posted by RedCorvette on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 8:37 AM

Most have been mentioned already, but the key "milestones" in my modeling toolbox:

1.  My first X-acto knife with a #11 blade.

2.  Testors liquid cement

3.  Tweezers.

4.  My Badger 350 airbrush and compressor (30 years old and still going strong).

5.  Wet/dry sandpaper

6.  Testor Model Master paints (including metalizers).

Mark  

FSM Charter Subscriber

  • Member since
    December, 2006
  • From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted by Fly-n-hi on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 9:25 AM

Heck, some of my favorite tools or techniques have already been covered but I'll add a couple more:

1. Mr. Super Clear Gloss and Mr. Super Clear Flat.  I will use Mr. Super Clear Gloss instead of Future whenever I can.  It puts down such a nice gloss coat.  Drawback:  Price.  Stuff ain't cheap.  But one can should cover 3 1/48 models.

1. Novus Polishing System.  Using this on canopies will make them crystal clear.  No more dipping canopies in Future...which is one less thing that can get screwed up on the model.

  • Member since
    December, 2009
  • From: Laurel, MD
Posted by Tucohoward on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 11:52 AM

I've recommended this before and wiil do so again. The Master Class Model Building #1 DVD by Floyd Werner has made the most improvement in my model building by far. I learned about things like using Mr. Surfacer and EZline just to name a couple of things. I went from being frustrated and not completing much to building models I am very happy with. No connection to Floyd, although I did make a point of finding him at a show to thank him personally.

The Mighty Mo says no.

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: Winamac,Indiana 46996-1525
Posted by ACESES5 on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:28 PM

.012 Beadalon for cableing on ww1 biplanes looks awsom, Tamyia bottled glue green cap, Tamyia paints, Modelmaster paints, last but not least my seam scraper from MicroMark.           ACESES5  FINISHED 11/26/12  DRAGON BERGPANTHER IV          

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: MN
Posted by Nathan T on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 5:47 PM

Tuco-I've always thought about buying Floyd Werner's dvd, but opted for Swanny's series instead. I should pick his up just to watch the 109 master build some 109s..So you're saying its worth the $50-60 price tag?

 

  • Member since
    February, 2011
  • From: Monterey Bay,CA-Fort Bragg, NC
Posted by randypandy831 on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 7:28 PM

1. airbrush

2.tamiya extra thin

3.promodeller wash

tamiya 1/48 P-47D $25 + shipping

tamiya 1/48 mosquito $20+ shipping

hobby boss 1/48 F-105G. wings and fuselage cut from sprue. $40+ shipping. 

  • Member since
    November, 2005
  • From: Somewhere in the Midwest
Posted by autocar1953 on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:05 PM

Favorite tool?  12" bamboo skewer, with a alligator clip on the non-pointed end...About 12 0f them.

Adhesive? Hardware store MEK  in a plastic squeeze bottle with an .015 dia tube or smaller.

primer?   Walmart cheapie, decanted into an airbrush bottle, and thinned about 20%

paint? i like Model Master thinned with testors airbrush thinner..30-50%.

Airbrush/compressor? Badger 200 single action internal mix/ Sears pancake with regulator watertrap 15/20 psi to spray.  I also have a Badger 100/150 with a built in color cup..

Jim A.

500 started, none finished....

James

  • Member since
    November, 2012
  • From: Central Ohio
Posted by kenposan on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:13 PM

Easy Off (yellow can) for removing chrome. tried coke and bleach, but neither seemed to work as well (or as quickly)  for me.

  • Member since
    April, 2010
  • From: Yuma, AZ
Posted by Ripcord on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:45 PM

Right now its the one that works.  Later when I get more experience maybe I can choose....  No I cant lie,  I love all of it!!!!  Big SmileBig SmileBig Smile

Mike

  • Member since
    December, 2005
Posted by Spike Redding on Thursday, November 29, 2012 5:27 AM

One of my favorites hasn't been mentioned yet, so I cast a vote for the Dobson Mitrre-Rite.  It's got the perfect combination of consistency and versatility for cutting settable angles, and it uses standard replacement blades which are easily obtained from most hobby outlets.  I think it's available from both MicroMark and ModelExpo-online.

For glue, I go with what autocar1953 said, and I will swear by hardware-store methyl ethyl ketone (MEK).  Give it a try and you will NEVER go back to name-brand water-thin solvent glues.  Plus it costs about $8 a quart.

--Spike

  • Member since
    August, 2010
Posted by flyinyak on Thursday, November 29, 2012 1:06 PM

Eduard canopy masks. Greatest thing to happen to modeling since the iPod dock with a remote control.

  • Member since
    January, 2003
  • From: Australia
Posted by leemitcheltree on Friday, November 30, 2012 12:14 AM

Guys....Girls.....whatever.....this is awesome!!!!  You guys (and gals?) ROCK!  Keep them cards and letters a' comin!!!!

There's some GREAT ideas here - some of which I have not come across before.....but I will now!!!

Remember  .....   Keep an open mind - I've learned so much simply by LISTENING to others.....you can ALWAYS learn if you just put your lips together and keep them there......I've improved my skills incredibly just by reading FSM and seeing the stuff you guys post on this website.

In the past, there were so many things I'd read about....and never tried.  I have some favorite things that I read about....and then tried....and the results improved my builds more than I can say!

Brilliant stuff....like I said.....you guys rock.

Anyone else?  I'm listening......

Cheers, LeeTree Remember, Safety Fast!!!

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