More often than not, there is a preconceived notion that our shop is filled with exotic and expensive tools. This is simply not the case. While we recommend not to skimp when it comes to buying tools, as a good tool is a lifetime investment, we don't believe in foolishly spending money.

SANDING: An emery board is a great modeling tool especially with resin cast items. We used our share of them until we found what is generally referred to as a black 4-way file. Several vendors to the hobby business sell these. However we have found that a trip to a Beauty Supply store (check your local yellow pages) will yield an amazing variety of sizes and grits. These will not clog as easily or quickly as the emery board, are water proof, can be cleaned and water used as a lubricant.

TOOTHPICKS: The lowly splinter of wood found all across America, and in better truck stops, is one of the most useful items on our bench. From applying putty and glue, to holding parts for painting, to mixing the paint these little wonders are indispensable.

FILLER MATERIAL: Air bubbles are a fact of life with resin castings. We do our best to minimize their occurrence but they do happen. If the bubble is on the back of a casting, which is often the case, simply fill the hole with common baking soda, level it off, and apply fast set CA. This will fill the void quickly. If a bubble occurs on the outside of a casting many times it may be filled successfully with fresh putty. Should you receive a casting with a bubble that you feel you can not correct please send it back, with a note, and we will replace it. Another filler material we use is a home brew consisting of scrap plastic dissolved in liquid cement or MEK. Don't forget to use a small glass jar to store your concoction. One last trick is to use a putty thinned with liquid cement. We have a bottle of TESTORS liquid cement reserved for this use as after the cement is contaminated with putty it becomes useless for building models but, continues to work great for thinning putty.

TEMPORARY ADHESIVES: The old artists standby, rubber cement, is very useful around the shop for everything to holding parts in place to securing details in a diorama. Scotch tape, the kind made by 3M, is also used quite a bit in our shops. We have the basic "magic" frosted tape (green dispenser), removable tape (blue dispenser), and double sided tape (yellow dispenser) on the bench. All have different uses and once you start experimenting with them you will wonder how you ever got along without them. The removable tape is excellent for backing small, fragile etched parts when trimming.
SURFACE PLATE: We recommend the use of some sort of surface plate to assist in building our, or any, models. In our shops we use several pieces of glass about 5" X 7" as surface plates. We also have an 8" X 10" plate with pieces of coarse and medium grade wet-or-dry sandpaper secured to it with rubber cement. This is very useful in getting a square edge on parts when used with water as a lubricant and moving the part in a figure 8 motion. This prevents one side from becoming thinner or producing a rounded edge.

TOOL STORAGE: Blocks of styrofoam, paper towel tubes, and old film cans. These items have one thing in common, they hold tools ready for use on the bench.

CUTTING DEVICES: A dull blade is your worst enemy. Change the blade when it starts to drag when cutting. Buying them in bulk cuts expenses. We also recycle the old blades. There is a block of styrofoam on the bench that holds the old blades to be ready to apply putty, CA, or hold a part for painting. Rather than applying putty or CA directly to the model we will put a small amount on the surface plate, pick some up with an old blade then apply it to the part or joint. An excellent cutting device that is often overlooked is the single edge razor blade. With the wider cutting edge, and different angle than the #11 blade, this is quite useful in getting a square edge on a part or general scraping chores. Again, buying in bulk saves money.