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Getting Started (Again)


Leere
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Hello everyone! I've got a few questions. I've been making models since high school, but had to give it up since I went off to college and didn't have the time or money to continue. But, I'm finally about to graduate! My problem is I have no idea where to start anymore. I'm not going to be moving back home, so I won't have my dad's whole set up anymore.

 

My question is, what would you consider to be the essentials?

 

I'm not looking for any new models, because I've got plenty back home I can start up again. Just the basics. And links to online stores would be great.

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Whoo, boy. Where to start. First off, you need a place to work. Best to have somewhere where you can leave "stuff" out and not have to unpack/pack up everything each time you have a modeling session. Also, try to stay away from places with long/shag carpet as it will "eat" dropped parts and be harder to maneuver on. Once you've got that, then the easiest way to go is get an in-expensive table at a thrift shop. An old kitchen table with a formica top would be good as it's a nice hard surface and easy to clean. If you go with wood, buy a piece of glass or masonite to cover at least part of it for a hard work surface. My area is a cheap flat-pack student's desk that I cover with a glass sheet. The glass costs more than the desk did. Then a comfy office type desk chair with rollers on the bottom to sit on. Locate it all near electrical outlets. A goose neck and/or adjustable light, like the kind you can raise/lower swing around, is great for lighting. You can do all this for under $50-$75 bucks if you do some shopping around at flea-markets/discount houses/internet sites. Now on to what tools/supplies to get started.........

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Stuart,

I'd recommend that you seek out a local modeling club....hopefully you may find one that you can join. With few exceptions I've found that local clubs have, among their membership, folks who are well skilled in various forms of modeling and are willing to share what they've learned with others. While the virtual world can provide a wealth of information through forums, video, and chat, there simply is no substitute for sitting at a table and watching an expert demonstrate a particular skill, with the viewers having the ability to interact with that expert by asking questions or even by getting some hands-on time emulating a technique. ( For example, I watched one of our local armor experts demo the construction of individually linked metal tracks. I had no idea as to how it was done but 3 minutes into his demo I saw that it wasn't beyond my skill range or ability. Hey! I can do that!)

 

Along with a local club, I'd recommend that you find a local hobby shop. (A knowledgable and friendly staff is key #1, followed by a store that is well stocked or that can do special orders). No online store, regardless of the size of the warehouse or the price of the product, can provide what a walk-in shop can provide. Again, its important that there be actual human beings in the store that are knowledgable and friendly, otherwise its rather a waste of your time)

 

Once you got these two important factors you can then begin to build your Man-Cave as Ron B has suggested in a previous post.

 

By the way, I've had to reduce my toolbox to a size convenient for transport and travel. I work with Wounded Warriors twice a month and carry the essentials in a plastic "shoe box".

glue, sandpaper, files (Flex i Files, girlie fingernail files, the thin little guys produces by Stevens Int.), A couple of Xacto knives with a small container of vaired blades, a pin vise, clothes pins (clamps) and a set of Quick Grip clamps, a tube of Tamiya putty....a few other odds and ends, but short of painting, I can pretty much work with a Warrior to build up a model and prep it for painting with what I carry in that small plastic container.

 

The best way to stock that container is to sit at your workbench and begin to store any tool you use during construction in that plastic box. After a few weeks you'll find that some tools make the cut and other are sent to reside in some drawer somewhere.

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Essentials???? If you mean tools and supplies, Find your local LHSs!!!! Even if they aren't Specific Hobby shops, Michaels and Hobby Lobbies are great beasic supply sources. If you build something other than trains, swing by a train shop (if that is what is near you). That way you know what he DOES carry. If you are near a military base, Pawn shops are EXCELLENT sources for used medical supplies (foreceps & Self closing tweezers). If you have to mail order, I would recommend Squadron and Sprue Brothers (Great Models).

 

:Smile_sceptic:

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Depending on how specific you want to get, here's a list of some basic assembly "essentials" that I'm sure others can add to:

- An Exacto (or similar brand) knife.

- A supply of various blades for said knife including at least the #11.

- A pair of good tweezers or two with fine points.

- A "sprue cutter". These look like wire cutters, but cost a lot more. About $10-$15 will get you a good pair.

- A set of files in various cross-sections, like triangle, round, square, etc.

- A couple of sanding sticks in various grits. You can get these a lot cheaper in the cosmetics departments of discount stores in the nail care area.

- A pair of nail clippers. These have many uses.

- Clamps. You can never have too many. Go to dollar stores, or, if you have them, Harbor Freight stores. They have all sorts of inexpensive tools. Not the best quality, but great for starters.

- Rubber bands in various sizes.

 

For painting, you need..........

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Wow, I forgot how much I need to do this again. I guess I've taken what I did have available for granted.

 

Thank you guys for the comments though, now I have a much better idea where to start.

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Stuart,

Don't let it overwelm you! There are things you HAVE to have (as Ron mentioned)!!! It's just that simple! Don't go out and buy the most expensive stuff you find. Be a skin flint. Nothing wrong with saving a few bucks when you are starting out. EBAY (if you can wait) can be a treasure trove of new and used tools and accessories.

 

:Smile_sceptic:

Edited by Mark Aldrich
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  • 3 weeks later...

One thing I have to add is just make sure you have a comfortable setup (chair, desk/table, and lighting). If you are not comfortable, you won't model.

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  • 5 weeks later...

If you have been a model builde rin the past you already have a good idea about your basic tools.

  • Xacto knife with no. 11 blades is the most common
  • A no. 2 paint brush is a good basic brush. Buy one made for your paint type choice. If it's a good one it will maintain a point and can do really fine detail work. At some point you will want a larger and smaller brush(es) but it's a good start
  • Paints are a personal preference but I use acrylics due to the home atmosphere friendliness and easier clean-up
  • Tamiya green top (thinnest) liquid cement is excellent and creates a great bond while a tube type cement gives a high ddegree of strength for bonding (example) wings to fuselage on a large scale airplane. Liquid cement is a lot friendlier to use though, imho.
  • A sprue cutter is nice and makes the job easier, but it is expensive compared to using the Xacto which we all started out with
  • A nice to have but not necessary is a self-healing cutting surface for parts/sprue separation and any phot-etch work. Like I said, nice to have but.....

If I were just starting out, but had previous experience, I would take one of my (your) stash kits and just start. It's the quickest way to figure out what you will really need. Thn when you decide you need or want something else choose the best source for you and make the acquisition.

 

There is one key thing to remember. If you need to buy a tool or accessory get the best you can. Good tools will never let you down and save money in the long run. If you have a local hobby shop by all means patronize them first. You will also find good stuff in your local art supply store. That being said, many of us do not have these resources in a "local" area, especially considering fuel prices.

 

These forums are a good resource for infomation and recommendations and the fact that you are here indicates you are already making good choices for information. People giving you suggestions are good and well meaning, but their and my recommendations may or may not work for you. You need to decide. What works for me may or may not work for you. It's not really the tool you don't have but what you can do with the ones you have. Tools may make the job easier, but skills developed with experience will make it right.

 

By the way, if you can attend a local chapters show by all means do so. They almost always have vendors and hard to find goodies. If you can makes the Nat's you will find the best feature is the worlds largest mobile hobby store.

Edited by TheWalrus
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Generally I don't buy a tool until I get into a situation where I need something that I don't already have. You can accomplish a lot with just a few of the basic tools. However, the two I always use are:

1. good lighting (I have a small Ott-Lite)

2. Opti-Visor or other magnifier.

 

Other than those, I have nothing to add.

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