Tools & Supplies: Sandpaper

Sand paper is a daily companion during any kind of model work. Therefore you should always have several different grit numbers ready. One rule of thumb is: Everything from 100-grit to 1000-grit can be useful. 100 grits are used to remove a lot of material, 1000 grits are good for achieving an ultra-smooth finish. This is actually more like polishing than sanding. You will have to decide for yourself what grit numbers you really need the most. [More…]

Tools & Supplies: Styrene

Styrene is the typical material to build models because it is very easy to handle. It is a kind of plastic which is available in different thicknesses (0,3 to 5 mm), colors (even with effects like “mirror”) and shapes, for example sheets, pipes, profiles, structured sheets (i.e. ribbed) and many more. [More…]

Tools & Supplies: Disposable Latex Gloves

Work safety is one of the most important issues when handling chemicals. Your skin shouldn’t be exposed to resin for example. That’s why you should always wear gloves to keep your hands clean. They can also help you avoid dirtying your modeling clay or other materials you have to shape with your hands. Latex gloves are suited best because they are skin tight (you can always buy a smaller size to achieve that) and don’t interfere with your workflow. [More…]

Tools & Supplies: Double-Sided Adhesive Tape

One alternative to spray glue is double sided tape. It is very easy to work with because it’s so thin. It’s also remarkably strong which enables it to be used in a variety of scenarios. [More…]

Tools & Supplies: RTV Silicone Rubber

One of the most important materials in the hobby of prop building is RTV silicone rubber (RTV = room temperature vulcanizing). It is used to create molds which can then be filled with casting resin to make copies of your master model. [More…]

Tools & Supplies: Spot Putty

To fill very small air bubbles or deep scratches in resin castings I use spot putty available in automotive stores. That stuff is normally used to fill scratches in similar colored car finishes and is ready to use right out of the tube – no need to mix two components or anything. The material is curing very quickly and can be sanded to a very smooth surface. I chose the color red because it is easily visible on beige resin or grey primer. [More…]

Tools & Supplies: Cyanacrylate (CA) Glue

CA glue (super glue, crazy glue) is a very strong liquid adhesive that cures in a matter of seconds. You can bond almost any material with it as long as it doesn’t soak up the glue. It works perfectly for plastics. Be cautious: Always wear protective gloves to ensure that your skin doesn’t come in contact with this chemical! [More…]

Tools & Supplies: Jeweler’s Files

Since prop building means shaping some kind of material most of the time, it is nice to have files in different sizes handy. Sandpaper is not always the best tool to get you going in the right direction, because it is always flexible even if you don’t want it to be. The most common shapes for files are: flat, round, half round and triangular. [More…]

Tools & Supplies: Compressed-Air Spray

Dirt and dust are unavoidable when shaping materials. Especially fine dust can be tricky to remove, even more so when it is stuck in a chink of some kind. A compressed-air spray is what can help here. The cleaning flow of air can be directed using the canula and high pressure is applied to remove the dust. As an alternative you can use a small bellow for increased manual control. They are normally used to keep camera lenses clean. [More…]

Tools & Supplies: Electronic Scale

An electronic scale is very important to measure the components of RTV silicone rubber for example. You should buy one with a gradation of one gram or less to increase precision. Another important feature is the “tare” function to zero the device thus being able to easily add or remove material. [More…]