When it comes to modeling we all love to browse the stores for the newest and best products out there because there is always something to make us better, right?  Whether it is the best spruce cutter, paint, or silly stuff like paper towels, everything has its place on OUR modeling bench.  Below is an ever growing and changing list of some of my tried and true products that I have grown to love.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to build a model and I am always looking for better or different products. Have something you like?  Don’t be afraid to leave a comment.

UPDATED MARCH 2018

Preparation

  • Spruce Cutters Xuron 2175ET-Professional Sprue Cutter I have never tried any other, and I have heard Taimya’s are good, but I can’t imagine anything any better than Xuron’s
  • Tweezers – I have a collection of everything from my wife’s old tweezers to the high quality stuff from UMM-USA.  Also, I have a couple of locking tweezers which are great for holding parts to paint.
  • X-Acto – These blades are laying all over my bench; some for scraping plastic, some for cutting photo etch, other for decals.  You can never have enough of these blades and handles.  I particularly use #10 and #11 blades.  Also check out their Z-Series 11 blades, which are extra sharp and great for cutting decals.
  • Photo Etch Bending Tool – The Small Shop makes a “can’t live without” tool that is essential if you work with photo etch parts.  I like their Hold & Fold 4” model, even working in the 1/32 scale world I have never found it to be too small.

Sanding

  • Sanding Files – I CANNOT model without these beautiful gifts from the modeling gods; sanding sticks from UMM-USA.  UMM sells them in the following grits: 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500.
  • Polishing Cloth Mr Hobby makes great polishing clothes in 6000 and 8000 grit  for preparing surfaces for paint and smoothing primer coats before applying final color.
  • Polishing Compound – Tamiya’s polishing compound is great for making those canopies shine.  You will never want to use Future again after this stuff.  They make it in three different abrasive levels: coarse, fine, and finish.  The only problem is that I don’t think they make the compound anymore, but it is readily available on eBay.

Drilling

  • Drill Bits – Drill bits are an essential tool on my bench.  I am constantly drilling holes for things like wiring and gun barrel fairings.  Once again I go to UMM-USA for my drill bits.  My recommendation is to buy a kit that has a range of different sized bits so you can figure out which ones you will use most before buying replacement sizes.
  • Pin Vice – One of these is essential when starting pilot holes to start your drilling.  With such small drill bits and delicate pieces I highly recommend one.  I can’t remember where I got mine but it is nice because it has two different sized pins on each end.

Glue

  • Plastic Cement Tamiya’s Extra Thin Cement (87038) in my opinion is the best glue for plastic to plastic.  It’s “extra thin” and the built-in applicator makes it simple for a mess free application.
  • CA Glue I like the glue line from Mercury Adhesives, mainly their MT5 Thin Viscosity and M1100G Think Viscosity, this one is great for filling gaps.
  • CA Debonder – This stuff I can’t live without; Great Planes Pro CA Debonder.  You can slop CA glue all over the model and a couple swipes of a microbrush dipped in this debonder and the mess is gone.

Masking

  • Masking Tape – Tamiya’s masking tape is one of the best out there and is offered in four widths: 6mm, 10mm, 18mm, 40mm.
  • Masking Tape – PMA makes some really great tape for masking curved areas and tight spots.  PMA makes it in 1mm, 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, and 5mm sizes.  You can get it from Spruce Brothers.

Paint

  • Model Master Acrylics
  • Model Master Enamels
  • Alclad
  • Tamiya Acrylics
  • Tamiya Spray Cans (TS) – Specifically Black (TS14).  When decanted from the can and thinned with Tamiya Laquer Thinner (thinner with the yellow cap), this paint goes on super thin and makes for a fantastic base coat for Alclad.

Air Brushes

  • Iwata Custom Micron (CM-B) – I have the .18mm tip size but I plan on also getting the .23mm tip.
  • Badger Universal 360

Random

  • MicroBrushes Micro Brushes are a fantastic little tool for doing everything from cleaning and applying glue to holding small parts while painting.  They can be readily found on eBay or hobby sites such as Spruce Brothers.  I like the eBay variants, not only because they are cheaper but their “hairs” are much finer and denser.  I get mine from Morezmore on eBay.
  • Paint Jars – I love these jars from Tamiya because it allows you to mix your paint with your thinner so it is always ready for the airbrush.  I get mine from Amazon, search “Tamiya 81042”.
  • Packing Foam – Those pieces of packing foam from your wife’s online purchases are great for holding parts for painting.  I like to attach MicroBrushes to parts and stick them in the foam.  
  • Shop Towels – These “Paper Towels” are nice because they are a little more durable than regular paper towels.  I like to use them on top of my cutting board to give a softer resting spot for my parts.  They are also a nice background for pictures.  You can get them at Home Depot.

Camera

  • Camera  – The Canon 6D is a great, budget “friendly” full frame SLR.
  • Lens – The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro is a versatile macro lens that is great for those close up shots.
  • Flash Canon Speedlite 430EX II helps bring in that much needed light to fill those shadowed areas from overhead lights.

Preparation

  • Spruce Cutters Xuron 2175ET-Professional Sprue Cutter I have never tried any other, and I have heard Taimya’s are good, but I can’t imagine anything any better than Xuron’s
  • Tweezers – I have a collection of everything from my wife’s old tweezers to the high quality stuff from UMM-USA.  Also, I have a couple of locking tweezers which are great for holding parts to paint.
  • X-Acto – These blades are laying all over my bench; some for scraping plastic, some for cutting photo etch, other for decals.  You can never have enough of these blades and handles.  I particularly use #10 and #11 blades.  Also check out their Z-Series #11 blades, which are extra sharp and great for cutting decals.
  • Photo Etch Bending Tool – The Small Shop makes a “can’t live without” tool that is essential if you work with photo etch parts.  I like their Hold & Fold 4” model, even working in the 1/32 scale world I have never found it to be too small.

Sanding

  • Sanding Files – I CANNOT model without these beautiful gifts from the modeling gods; sanding sticks from UMM-USA.  UMM sells them in the following grits: 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1500.
  • Polishing Cloth Mr Hobby makes great polishing clothes in 6000 and 8000 grit  for preparing surfaces for paint and smoothing primer coats before applying final color.
  • Polishing Compound – Tamiya’s polishing compound is great for making those canopies shine.  You will never want to use Future again after this stuff.  They make it in three different abrasive levels: coarse, fine, and finish.  The only problem is that I don’t think they make the compound anymore, but it is readily available on eBay.

Drilling

  • Drill Bits – Drill bits are an essential tool on my bench.  I am constantly drilling holes for things like wiring and gun barrel fairings.  Once again I go to UMM-USA for my drill bits.  My recommendation is to buy a kit that has a range of different sized bits so you can figure out which ones you will use most before buying replacement sizes.
  • Pin Vice – One of these is essential when starting pilot holes to start your drilling.  With such small drill bits and delicate pieces I highly recommend one.  I can’t remember where I got mine but it is nice because it has two different sized pins on each end.

Glue

  • Plastic Cement Tamiya’s Extra Thin Cement (87038) in my opinion is the best glue for plastic to plastic.  It’s “extra thin” and the built-in applicator makes it simple for a mess free application.
  • CA Glue I like the glue line from Mercury Adhesives, mainly their MT5 Thin Viscosity and M1100G Think Viscosity, this one is great for filling gaps.
  • CA Debonder – This stuff I can’t live without; Great Planes Pro CA Debonder.  You can slop CA glue all over the model and a couple swipes of a microbrush dipped in this debonder and the mess is gone.

Masking

  • Masking Tape – Tamiya’s masking tape is one of the best out there and is offered in four widths: 6mm, 10mm, 18mm, 40mm.
  • Masking Tape – PMA makes some really great tape for masking curved areas and tight spots.  PMA makes it in 1mm, 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, and 5mm sizes.  You can get it from Spruce Brothers.

Paint

  • Model Master Acrylics
  • Model Master Enamels
  • Alclad
  • Tamiya Acrylics
  • Tamiya Spray Cans (TS) – Specifically Black (TS14).  When decanted from the can and thinned with Tamiya Laquer Thinner (thinner with the yellow cap), this paint goes on super thin and makes for a fantastic base coat for Alclad.

Air Brushes

  • Iwata Custom Micron (CM-B) – I have the .18mm tip size but I plan on also getting the .23mm tip.
  • Badger Universal 360

Random

  • MicroBrushes Micro Brushes are a fantastic little tool for doing everything from cleaning and applying glue to holding small parts while painting.  They can be readily found on eBay or hobby sites such as Spruce Brothers.  I like the eBay variants, not only because they are cheaper but their “hairs” are much finer and denser.  I get mine from Morezmore on eBay.
  • Paint Jars – I love these jars from Tamiya because it allows you to mix your paint with your thinner so it is always ready for the airbrush.  I get mine from Amazon, search “Tamiya 81042”.
  • Packing Foam – Those pieces of packing foam from your wife’s online purchases are great for holding parts for painting.  I like to attach MicroBrushes to parts and stick them in the foam.  
  • Shop Towels – These “Paper Towels” are nice because they are a little more durable than regular paper towels.  I like to use them on top of my cutting board to give a softer resting spot for my parts.  They are also a nice background for pictures.  You can get them at Home Depot.

Camera

  • Camera  – The Canon 6D is a great, budget “friendly” full frame SLR.
  • Lens – The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro is a versatile macro lens that is great for those close up shots.
  • Flash Canon Speedlite 430EX II helps bring in that much needed light to fill those shadowed areas from overhead lights.

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