Tools Guide I




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Tools for the job

When I first started gaming in 1990, I had one brush and a couple paint pots hanging around and little else. It was barely enough for painting and of course modeling was impossible. It could have stayed this way for long but I started playing Eldar in 2002. So many miniatures were missing from this product line that I had to build them myself. As I involved more in conversions my collection of tools grew. Since many fellow players are interested in conversions, I thinks it'll be useful to them to have a little guide to cover them all.

Essential tools

If you plan to do a minimum of modelling, you will need this. You really can't attempt anything without it. Unless you are a new beginner in miniature wargaming, you certainly already own most of the items presented there.

I don't even own a craft knife. A pair of cutters is simply enough. One of them is an all-purpose blade, the other is saved for situations where real sharpness is necessary. One sturdy knife on top of it, and you have all the tools you'll ever need for removing miniatures from their sprue and do basic cleaning of flashes and mold lines.

A couple fine-grained files is plenty. One flat and one round are okay. They are useful for cleaning off metal miniatures and work out some bad alignment in large metal kits. Since files are often sold in sets, you will certainly end up with many shapes that will allow you to experiment at will, but frankly, I rarely if ever use more than two.

Green Stuff
Kneadatite's Green Stuff is necessary whenever you sculpt details yourself, though only in small quantities. I've purchased a 36" roll years ago and I'm not sure to have used 5" of it, despite using some whenever possible. Green Stuff is sticky and I pay a tribute to all sculptors managing to give life to what feels like a ball of chewing-gum. Mixing Green Stuff causes some discomfort if you do it with a bare hand, so you may purchase some rubber gloves for this step.

Pin vice
A pin vice is involved everytime you feel parts of a complex miniature need strengthening. One hole drilled in both parts, a small lenght of brass wire and glue in the middle, and you have a reliable model lasting forever. A pin vice is inexpensive but limited to drilling. If you plan to perform that operation often or feel the need for more complex tooling, a Dremel tool (see Tools Guide II) is more appropriate. I still own a drill from my pre-Dremel era and use it from time to time, when I'm too lazy to use my Dremel tool or want to drill in silence. Of course, the drills provided with the tool can be set in the Dremel tool.

A ruler. Duh. You don't need a yard length, it's quite the opposite. With the model scale usually involved in miniature gaming, several inches are enough and avoid you much of the trouble of your ruler colliding with everything laying on your modeling desk. A good ruler is useful for designing banners or as a quick support for cutting in a straight line. The shorter the better.

Are they really toothpicks? Indeed. They are invaluable. I use them for everytime I need a disposable pointy stick, for example to remove dried paint from a paint pot lid or to mix and apply epoxy glue. I've used them as banner poles. As sculpting tools. As support for glued miniatures. As pikes in some scenery. To clean off excess putty. Inexpensive and available in wide numbers, always have a box of toothpicks nearby, you won't regret it. You may even use them to pick your teeth...

published on 29 Apr 2004


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