Basic materials and tools for the pastime of miniatures.
This time, I’d like to show you some of the most fundamental materials and tools for your pastime in miniatures.
Although I am aware that there are many more options and tools available than those listed here, I want to keep things as straightforward as possible for newbies.
You don’t require everything! Begin by assembling a simple toolkit, then gradually expand your workshop.
If you let it or choose it, this pastime may get rather pricey, but to actually get started, all you really need are a few basic tools and supplies.
The basic tools for newbies, which you should have when starting a hobby, are listed at the end of this article.
All you want to do at first is put your miniature together, paint it, and possibly model the base. Nothing special.
The following tools offer you a decent “price to performance.”
1. The desk lamp
The use of light in painting is a distinct topic. It suffices to suggest that you shouldn’t work in the dark as I’m assuming you’re just starting out on your voyage.
When working with glue, it’s important to see everything clearly to avoid damaging the wrong surface.
Only in good lighting are certain surface features or textures visible.
You will eventually drop incredibly tiny parts on the floor and desk, I can assure you of that, so find them quickly before your cat wakes up!
It would be a good idea to acquire two desk lamps, one from each side, to get rid of the shadows and improve your vision.
Many painters also try to find bright lighting with color and temperature close to those of the sun.
Why? because varying lighting affects how colors appear.
This shouldn’t frighten you if you simply get started; just put your bright spot to work.
We need a glue or glues to assemble miniatures or attach objects to the base.
Get some “Super glue.” But superglue is fundamentally the same everywhere.
You can apply this glue nearly everywhere and it dries extremely quickly. I wouldn’t suggest it for paper or foam/styrofoam, either.
For paper, this kind of glue is too diluted and will seep into it; for foam, it is caustic and will melt the foam.
But it will function properly for everything else (plastic, resin, and metal)! 90% of tasks are completed by mule labor.
You should be aware that this glue dries shiny and can leave behind white precipitate.
It means that, if at all possible, glue before painting since otherwise, you could need to make some adjustments.
Because of the aforementioned characteristics of this superglue, I do not suggest using it on translucent materials like windows, glass, airplane cockpits, etc.
You should hunt for specialized hobby glue for that.
The cost and quantity of adhesive required with superglue are two of its main benefits. Yeah, I almost guarantee that you’ll tape your fingers together.
When you glue miniature pieces, use a small amount of this adhesive. Also think about applying using a toothpick in some places.
3. Hobby knives
You just need one, but you really need this tool.
You will frequently sharpen minis’ edges, cut materials for bases, or use your knife for sculpting and trimming when engaging in this activity.
Second from the top and having a straight edge is my fave. He consists of a handle and a knife blade.
You may always switch out knives for ones with different shapes or just to get fresher, sharper ones.
I have to have the one on the left. It is necessary for cutting out the sprues and a variety of other materials, such wires, wood, cork, etc.
The center one is useful for holding and bending materials, and the tip is sharp so you may cut wires and other objects with it.
The one to the right is ideal for circling wires.
My recommendation is to purchase them from a hardware store because they should be less expensive than those from a hobby shop.
Although it may seem absurd, they are very useful. To remove some dust and thin membranes of resin from the model, use a toothbrush or hand brush.
Also, you may use it to texturize, create a spatter paint effect, and clean surfaces. Try it; they’re inexpensive!
6. Cut-out mat
This is not essential, but if you intend to do it on your home desk or table, I can almost guarantee that you will severely damage it after a few months.
I have a small baby mat that was a free gift with one of my hobby orders. I will eventually buy larger.
Now, while I do think that you people have quick fingers, sometimes it is not enough. To hold some of the miniatures’ extremely tiny parts, you will need a smaller tool.
This tool works well for basic modeling tasks like pressing, holding, bending, etc. as well as for attaching materials to the bases.
Before looking in the hobby shop, start your search in the hardware store.
8. Sandpaper and files
I advise getting at least one of these or the ideal trio (three from the bottom): a flat one, a completely round one, and a half-circle.
This is required to clean the cut-off sprue joints and mold lines.
They can also be used for trimming and “sculpting.” At a hardware store, you may buy them for a very low price.
Sandpaper should be used to finish any surface that needs to be flawlessly smooth.
You need paper with a grain of 500–1000 or, if you’re too perfect, even 2k.
You can determine the size of the sand grain using the scale. The sand grain gets smaller the larger the scale (smoother paper).
Files are primarily used for larger cuts or modeling/sculpting (Sprue from beneath the feets). An exacto knife can be used to gently rub away small cuts on the micro.
9. Wine stoppers
Likely, you are asking, “What the hell?” Well, when you paint or sculpt miniatures, you may use these as handles.
They can also be broken into pieces and used as rocks or other ground elements on the base.
You can use “UHU patafix” or “Blue tack” to attach the tiny to them. When you wish to pin the model, they are also ideal.
You can stab the mini to the ground thanks to their rocky construction.
“Blu tack” or “UHU patafix”
These products were first intended to “glue” objects to walls.
I’m referring to images, notes, cables, and so forth. In this situation, you could avoid damaging your wall by not using nails.
The main benefit of this product is that, if you pull it far enough, you can glue it off of the surface without harming the actual surface.
You can typically use it again. It acts like a sticky piece of bubble gum.
Epoxy is frequently used to move your miniatures, to masking (when using an airbrush to paint).
And to temporarily glue the miniature or a portion of the miniature to the surface.
I advise getting two 1 seize brushes at first if you intend to paint your miniatures.
One is for good painting and all “clean procedures,” and the other is for “brush-damaging techniques,” such dry brushing and all other modeling and sculpting techniques.
They can also be used to precisely apply PVA glue or putty. Always clean your brushes after using them and avoid letting the paint dry on them.
After a while, the paint gets in between the neck hairs, making it difficult to get a solid, stable point.
Such brushes first serve as modeling tools and “dry brush” instruments.
For the first time, I suggest purchasing a tool from a hobby shop.
Most likely, it belongs to one of two categories of stores that sell “good enough” brushes for affordable prices.
11. A little hand drill
Mine was purchased from a hobby shop. I suggest using “manual” tools instead than electric ones.
While it takes longer to make holes by hand, it also allows you greater control.
This is quite significant because miniatures are delicate and small. I use this tool for modeling and sculpting as well as “pinning models.”
As you can see from the image, I also have a set of drills from 0,5mm and higher. Of course, everything is out of sequence, but the point still stands.
Without wire, you won’t be able to pin your tiny. They can be used for modeling, creating patterns, creating sculptural armatures, and much more.
Basic but quality content. I have wire in a variety of thicknesses, but for delicate miniatures I prefer 0,5-0,6 mm wire.
TIP: Steel paper clips are rigid, robust, and work well for this task when used as a pin for larger miniatures.
13. Tools for modeling and sculpting
You won’t need them at first, but as time goes on you might want to plan ahead more for tasks like assembly.
You might choose to sculpt something by hand or use putty to fill in the gaps between the miniature’s pieces.
There are so many different tools available for sculpting, and nearly every sculptor has a favorite.
I’ll attempt to make things simple by telling you that you need a putty application, sanding, and shaping tool something capable of doing 70–80% of the work.
Examine the one on top. On the left, it has a cylindrical tip or form. It is crucial because sharp edges will leave a large amount of surface damage.
When you add material or sculpt organic structures, you can occasionally accidently accomplish what you’re trying to do.
“Clay shapers” are yet another excellent tool that practically all sculptors employ. Those in the picture above with the white tips.
They are employed for sculpting in soft putties and clays such as Fimo, Super Sculpey, etc. and for smoothing putty.
Performing the same action with a soft instrument can also have positive consequences and is easier to regulate. They come packaged in sets.
You could want to fill the holes on your minis, like we mentioned before. There are numerous products available that might work.
Some are more specialized than others, such as Mr. HOBBY on the left and greenstuff on the right. Some are simply committed to completing this duty.
The right one is a traditional two part epoxy for sculpting.
But the left one, like many others in this category, is partly liquid so it fills holes readily and application should be simpler.
A brief explanation: Greenstuff is not a brand name; it is merely the name of the putty. Define green. because green results from the mixing of two colors.
Why blend two colors? Working with something soft and being able to mould it is the notion behind sculpture.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll need something sturdy, so…
Humans create products that are soft for a brief period of modeling before reacting/drying and hardening at regular room temperature after that.
Epoxy makes up one part, and hardener makes up the other. When you combine them, the countdown begins.
You will have roughly 40 minutes to do the carving. After that, the mas will get progressively harder.
15. Small saw
The only addition to your workshop is this. This item might be helpful if you intend to deal with plaster, wood, or tougher materials, especially if the pieces are larger.
I’m done now. I don’t want to overwhelm you with facts, goods exclusive to one company, or “how to use” instructions.
I wanted to demonstrate some really basic, affordable, and practical tools and materials.
I’ll try to add more articles on specific topics in the future, such as assembly, putties, colours, the fundamentals of painting miniatures, etc.
I am aware that resources are scarce, but I’ll say it again: “You don’t need all of this stuff!” Begin modestly by purchasing a survival kit at your local hardware store.
- Glue stick
- Hobby blade
- Craft brushes (if you are going to paint)
- A flat file
- Using clippers to cut
Accept them, do something fun, and refrain from pursuing them for products.
You’ll be able to accomplish a lot of fascinating things without complicated tools or products.
I sincerely hope that some of you will find it helpful or that you have people who will benefit from it.
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