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Scratchbuild Seminar 2-The Basic Tools


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#1 GTmike400

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Posted 19 March 2006 - 02:04 PM

This is the second installment of the "Scratch Build Seminars" which will cover the basic tools. More extensive used of the tools and fabrication will come later.

When you are scratch building, you have to change the channel on your mind. Forget everything. Theres a saying "Think outside of the box", its a good saying, but is also limiting in the ideoligy of scratchbuilding. If theres a box for you to think in, then somebody has told you something and you've been limited. Even if you are thinking outside of the box, you still look back at those restrictions. So the correct saying is "Think as if there is no box". These seminar's are not a rule book for scratch building, only a guide. Scratch building is only limited by your imagination, and THAT is your key tool.

Not all tools are inatangable like your imagination, many tools are actually built, or bought. Each tool will have an application and if there isnt a tool that meets your application, build it. Dont be limited buy what tools are available to purchase, walk through the craft store and see what you find. You'd be amazed at what other crafts use that can be applied to modeling.

The obvious tool is the X-acto knife. New blades are always better than dull blades, but dont go throw away those used blades they are useful. New blades are really good for cutting out thin material such as: .020 or thinner styrene, paper, decals, tape, bare metal foil. Dull blades are good for cutting thicker plastic. The broken tip allows the blade to score the plastic and remove material. Whereas the sharp blade seperates, spreads, and cuts apart material. Using the back of the blade also achieves this effect. The horribly dull butterknife blades can be used for spreading putty.

The most important tool used is a metal ruler. A good accurate ruler is very important for making sure dimensions are correct. Measure three times, cut once, and sand a little. The reason aluminum or stainless steel is preferred is that it is used as a cutting straight edge as well. Dont try to make straight cuts without a straight edge, they will come out bad. The straighter the cut, the more precise it is. Use a straight edge.

Files are an asset to any scratchbuilder, and modeler. Find the least expensive set of files you can get. There are rumors that more expensive diamond files, but the difference goes unnoticed. Files will be broken, ruined, filled, and go dull. Get a lot of files too. The more shapes and sizes, the quicker and easier your work can be.

Liquid model cement should be used whenever gluing Styrene together. Liquid cement melts the plastic together. You get a better, strong, and more unisen joint. If you need a thick piece of Styrene you can laminate thinner sheets together to create this thick piece with the liquid cement. Each liquid cement has a different evaporation rate. Often times a slower evaporation/cure rate works the best. The slower evaporation allows the Styrene to melt more for a much better bond. Testors Liquid Cement has the slowest cure time, and is the strongest. Tenax and Ambroid Pro Weld have a very quick evaporation time and do not allow a lot of work time.

Paint brushes of varied sizes can help with different application sizes when applying liquid cement. Small paint brushes work for the nice tight details. The paint brushes need to be some sort of hair. Nylon or plastic bristle brushes will melt.

Syringes can be used with liquid cement for large applications. Fill the syringe with liquid cement, and apply it over a large area. This allows the cement to work and not evaporate as fast.

Tube cement, its messy. It cannot be spread thin easily, nor does it melt the plastic well. Often times it can melt the plastic too much. Liquid cement is highly reccomended over tube cement.

Superglue, also known as Cyanoacrylate is a very quick curing instant glue. There is liquid superglue, and gel superglue. They both come in tubes. The model "grade" superglue is know different than the superglue at the dollar store. Superglue gel mixed with a little sanding dust or baby powder works great for filling gaps. Superglue in its liquid form is also useful for attaching unlike materials, such as resin.

Putty is often times misleading. While it may be simple to mix and sand to shape it can cause lots of havoc. Stay away from one part putties for anything. They will cause lots of trouble down the road. Always use two part putties because they do not shrink and are much more durable.

That's all for now. Today was a long session, and there are many more tools available out there. Use your imagination. Hours could be spent naming tools and there uses, but these are the basics.

#2 Scale-Master

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 09:12 AM

The most important tool used is a metal ruler. A good accurate ruler is very important for making sure dimensions are correct.

And get a really BIG one too...

#3 GTmike400

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 10:50 AM

The most important tool used is a metal ruler. A good accurate ruler is very important for making sure dimensions are correct.

And get a really BIG one too...


To fool hundreds of people into thinking you actually build models.