Thursday, 5 January 2012

Basic Modeling Tools

One of the most common question asked is what are the basic modeling tools that I need to build my model?

Depending on what level of finish you hope to achieve with each model:
1. If you do not intend to paint your model kit, all you really need are
a. Decent sidecutter (Side cutter from Hardware stores are not recommended)
b. Pen knife or Modeling knife (Personal preference)
c. Sandpaper (400, 600 and 1000 grit is normally enough, commercial sandpapers are not recommended)
d. Gundam Panel line markers (comes in black, gray and brown) or Tamiya Panel Line Accent (comes in the same colours as the markers) + Tamiya x-20 Enamel Thinner.
e. Mr Super Clear Top coat (most commonly used is Flat finish).

2. If you intend to paint your model kit but do not own a airbrush/compressor set, you will also need :
a. Primer / Base coat
b. Can spray paint (Limited colours available, costly and not able to do shading effects)

3. If you intend to paint your model kit and own a airbrush, you will need :
a. Paints
b. Paint Thinner (Not commercial thinner, most of the commercial thinners may melt you plastic when excessive amounts are present)


  1. any paint thinner you can recommend for 3b?

  2. The 3 main type of hobby paints are acrylic, enamel and lacquer. Most modelers use either acrylic paints from either Tamiya and Mr Hobby (Light Blue labels), Enamel paints from Tamiya and Lacquer paints from Gaia and Mr Color (Dark Blue/Yellow Labels). You can use the thinners from there respective brands. Will be writing a more elaborate FAQ on paints and thinners

  3. Why can't we use commercial sidecutters and sandpaper from hardware stores? Aren't they the same?

  4. Commercial side cutters are not as sharp and you can't get a really clean cut with it. They tend to rust easily as well.

    The are many types of commercial sandpapers for metal, wood and plastic, and getting the wrong kind of sandpaper could causes scarring of the plastic which are quite difficult to remove.

  5. Thanks for clarifying.

    I've been using (sharp) sidecutters from hardware stores for years without problems, especially if it's not used to cut too close to the plastic part.

    In fact, my favourite is a good pair of nailclippers to snip off any protruding sprue... But I guess it's a personal preference. :)

  6. Regarding Painting. is it better to get a Prime>White Base before spraying the actual colour?

  7. what are the sandpapers use when i don't intend to paint the model kit ?