Top Tools for Model Makers

There are literally hundreds of tools that model makers use and we couldn't possibly name them all, but these are our top picks:

Wet Palette

A wet palette is a tool used by artists and painters to keep their paints moist and workable for extended periods of time. The palette consists of a shallow container filled with a sponge or absorbent paper, which is then soaked with water. A piece of parchment paper or a special permeable paper is placed on top of the sponge or paper, creating a surface for the paints to be mixed and stored.

The wet palette keeps the paints from drying out, allowing artists to blend and work with their colors for longer periods of time without having to continuously remix them. The wet palette also helps prevent the paints from becoming too thick or gooey, which can affect their consistency and application.

Some wet palettes come with lids or covers, which help to further extend the life of the paints by preventing evaporation and contamination from dust and debris. Wet palettes can be used with a variety of painting mediums, including acrylics, watercolors, and gouache.

Paintbrush Soap

Paintbrush soap is a type of soap used to clean paintbrushes after they have been used for painting. The soap is specifically designed to dissolve and remove the paint from the bristles of the brush without damaging them, allowing the brush to be reused for future painting projects.

Paintbrush soap typically contains a blend of surfactants, which are compounds that help to break down and dissolve the paint. The soap is often formulated to work with specific types of paint, such as acrylic, oil, or watercolor.

To use paintbrush soap, you simply wet the bristles of the brush with water and then swirl them in the soap until a lather forms. You can then rinse the brush under running water until the water runs clear, and repeat the process if necessary until all of the paint has been removed.

Using paintbrush soap regularly to clean your paintbrushes can help to extend their lifespan and maintain their performance over time. It is also an important step in maintaining the quality of your artwork, as clean brushes help to ensure that your paint colors remain true and consistent.

Spray Paint for priming

Priming a model with spray paint is an important step in the model-making process that helps to create a smooth and even surface for the paint to adhere to. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to prime a model with spray paint:

  1. Clean the model: Before priming, it's important to clean the model thoroughly to remove any dust, dirt, or grease that may be on the surface. You can use a soft brush or cloth to wipe the model down, or even rinse it under water if it's made of a material that can handle it.

  2. Choose your spray paint: There are many different types of spray paint available, but for priming a model, you'll want to choose a spray paint that is specifically designed for use on models. Look for spray paint that is labeled as "primer" or "model primer", as this will give you the best results.

  3. Shake the can: Before spraying, make sure to shake the can of spray paint well to ensure that the paint is mixed thoroughly. This will help to ensure an even coat.

  4. Test the spray: It's a good idea to test the spray paint on a scrap piece of plastic or paper before using it on your model. This will help you get a feel for the spray pattern and ensure that the paint is flowing smoothly.

  5. Spray the model: Hold the can of spray paint about 6-8 inches away from the model and begin spraying in short, even strokes. Be sure to keep the can moving as you spray to avoid pooling or drips.

  6. Allow to dry: Once you've finished spraying the model, set it aside to dry. The drying time will vary depending on the type of spray paint you used, but it's usually best to wait at least 24 hours before handling the model again.

  7. Check for imperfections: After the primer has dried, check the model for any imperfections or areas that may need additional priming. If necessary, repeat the priming process in these areas until you're happy with the overall surface texture.

By following these steps, you can effectively prime your model with spray paint and create a smooth, even surface for painting.

Model Making Files and/or Fine Sand Paper

Removing mold lines from a model is an important step in preparing the model for painting or display. Mold lines are raised ridges that are left on the surface of a model after it has been cast in a mold, and they can detract from the overall appearance of the model if they are not removed. Here's how to remove mold lines from a model:

  1. Identify the mold lines: Before you can remove mold lines, you need to identify them. They are usually located along the seams of the model, where the two halves of the mold came together. They may also be located on other parts of the model where excess material has spilled over.

  2. Choose your tools: There are several tools you can use to remove mold lines, including hobby knives, files, sandpaper, and specialized mold line removers. Choose the tool that you are most comfortable with and that works best for the particular model you are working on.

  3. Begin removing the mold lines: Use your chosen tool to gently scrape or sand away the mold lines. Be careful not to apply too much pressure or you may damage the model. It's also important to work slowly and methodically to ensure that you don't miss any mold lines.

  4. Check your progress: As you work, periodically stop and examine the model to see if you've missed any mold lines or if there are any areas that need further attention.

  5. Clean the model: Once you've removed all of the mold lines, use a soft brush or cloth to clean the model and remove any debris or dust that may have accumulated.

  6. Repeat as necessary: Depending on the complexity of the model, you may need to repeat this process several times to remove all of the mold lines.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove mold lines from your model and create a clean, smooth surface that is ready for painting or display.

Matt Varnish

Coating your scale models in matt varnish is an important step in the finishing process that helps to protect the model and give it a more realistic appearance. Here are some reasons why you should coat your scale models in matt varnish:

  1. Protection: A matt varnish provides a protective layer that helps to protect the model from scratches, dust, and other types of damage. This is especially important if you plan to display your model or transport it to shows or events.

  2. Realistic appearance: A matt varnish can help to give your model a more realistic appearance by reducing the shine and glossiness of the surface. This is particularly important if you've used glossy paint or decals on your model, as it can help to blend everything together and create a more natural look.

  3. Durability: A matt varnish can help to increase the durability of your model by strengthening the paint and reducing the risk of chipping or flaking. This is especially important if you plan to handle your model frequently or if it will be exposed to harsh conditions.

  4. Ease of cleaning: A matt varnish makes it easier to clean your model, as it provides a smooth surface that can be wiped clean with a soft cloth or brush. This is particularly important if your model is prone to collecting dust or if you plan to display it in a dusty environment.

Overall, coating your scale models in matt varnish is an important step in the finishing process that can help to protect the model, improve its appearance, and increase its durability.

What's your favourite?

Let us know in the comments what is your favourite model making tool or piece of equipment?

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