There are a number of tools that I just can’t live without and there are some tools and materials that I use on almost every build. Other more specialist items get plenty of use but here are my recommendations.
The Amazon links are all items I have either bought or bought something similar for myself. Clicking on any links to Amazon will give me a small affiliate income which I use to produce more videos at absolutely no extra cost to yourself. Every little helps! Elegoo have also offered me an affiliate programme and again – clicking will cost you nothing!
Basic Tool Kit
X-acto knife (or similar) – the most basic tool that you will use all the time. There are a number of options but consider trying
You can improve your cutting by using a sharp blade – either sharpening the blade regularly or replacing frequently.
Knife sharpener https://amzn.to/2Dqa0zH
Spare X-acto blades https://amzn.to/2DqfuKG
For bigger jobs, you will need a box cutter. https://amzn.to/3pw73UC
You will need something to cut on to not only protect your work surface but also to not blunt your knife.
Cutting Mat https://amzn.to/3pCPm5B
For straight lines, a metal edged ruler is best
Metal Ruler https://amzn.to/2DqgDBY
Basic Tweezers – I have a variety but more on that in More Tools:
Bent nose (my favourite) https://amzn.to/2ZwHVlZ
Small pliers (I use clippers and the serrated tip ones the most) https://amzn.to/3beiU16
Disposable glasses are great mixing cups and I have them in every size from shot glasses to pint size!
Shot Glasses https://amzn.to/3TcPeps
Sauce Pots – useful as they have lids so you can keep what you have mixed – for all else use cling film. https://amzn.to/3eI4Mmf
Small Cups https://amzn.to/3T92NGl
Pint Cups https://amzn.to/3eFHXzE
Brushes are vital for painting. I use anything from decorators brushes to expensive artists’ brushes depending on what I am painting.
Good brushes – I use Daler Rowney as they are available locally: https://amzn.to/3s99X1q or https://amzn.to/3VzERxw
Cheap brush set – loads of variety for all sorts of jobs https://amzn.to/3MIws7e
Disposable foam brushes are great for glue etc https://amzn.to/3pFqdYb
Health & Safety
You cannot underestimate how damaging some of the fumes and dust are to your health! I have a lot of headaches when I am at home full time despite my best efforts so do take care of yourself!
Ceramic tip (for hot stuff) https://amzn.to/3vQDLRB
Fine point (for extra precision) https://amzn.to/3BbzbP2
Self clamping (if you need an extra pair of hands – I use mostly for painting or spraying glue) https://amzn.to/2XLs8Pi
Acrylic metal-edged ruler https://amzn.to/2OMGMw0
Scale Ruler – I’ve only seen these at US specialist hobby shops but very useful.
Sprue Cutters – I showed Xuron but any brand of side nippers or flush cutters will do. https://amzn.to/3gnltDU
Dspiae Nippers – I cannot say how much I love these nippers for plastic kits or 3D prints https://amzn.to/3VGA4dU
Tea Strainer/small sieve https://amzn.to/3VI2x2U
My favourite sieves are from Precision Ice & Snow https://www.precisioniceandsnow.com/store/p58/Precision_Ice_and_Snow_Sieve..html
Palette Knives https://amzn.to/3Tl39d8
Hot Glue Gun https://amzn.to/3TEFdBu
I personally use a hot melt glue but it you are planning to model with children then consider the low melt glues as the hot ones will burn you and give you blisters!
White Glue – I use this so much and not just as a glue. I add it to a lot of scenery mixes to prevent cracking. For gluing, I prefer a thicker glue but I use a thinner one for scenery mixes or diluting to spray or drip on.
Thin scenic or white glue https://amzn.to/2QO9G40
Tacky Glue (thicker white glue) https://amzn.to/2y5QWBJ
Matte Mod Podge https://amzn.to/3hALfQO
Isopropyl Alcohol (99%) https://amzn.to/3sgH6sg
Super glue is great for all the things that white glue will not stick. It is best for non-porous surfaces like metal or resin.
Thin Super Glue https://amzn.to/3EjDee1
Thick Super Glue https://amzn.to/3Glcewy
Thin plastic cement is best for any styrene-based plastics. It works by melting the plastic to form a strong bond. https://amzn.to/3vOMOCt
For anything needing a really strong bond, I use 5 minute epoxy. https://amzn.to/2Zkhdwu
For everything else (almost) I use hot glue.
Glue Gun https://amzn.to/30XGbCx
Glue Sticks https://amzn.to/3EytQDF
Consider using low temperature glue with children.
Quick tip – to release it, drip on isopropyl alcohol.
Sheet and Strip Material
Brick Sheet https://amzn.to/3CV6hWc
Styrene Strip – Evergreen, Plastruct and Slater’s are great brands for styrene https://amzn.to/3Sq74E8
Craft Foam – denser than most XPS builders’ foams https://amzn.to/2yj0rN7
Dead leaves, twigs, bark, silver birch catkin spacers…
Kitchen Blender for rough cut
Coffee Grinder for finer
I often use picture frames to make neat bases for my dioramas.
Foam comes in so many forms. I get most of mine from building works in the area.
XPS foam – this is carvable with hot tools and is commonly found as a building material
Craft foam – a much denser XPS foam https://amzn.to/3pKsIZr
PIR foam – another type of building foam but fire resistant so you have to use a knife to cut it.
Sculptamold is great for building up contours https://amzn.to/3nzBgzx
My favourite product is tile grout. It comes in a wide range of colours but I recommend adding around a third silver sand to help glue sink in and to open up the texture. My favourite is currently Taupe by Larsen.
Otherwise, use sieved garden soil or any other natural materials you can find. Alternatively, look through your local garden centre supplies for fine grits or soils.
I love 3D printing so these are the companies and brands I personally know and have had great results with:
Mars Series – I had an original Mars before upgrading to the Mars 3. Both have been reliable printers that have worked well with little input on my side.
I also love the wash and cure station. I prewash in a bucket like this: https://amzn.to/3MCMkId
Then I clean and cure in an Elegoo Mercury Wash and Cure station: https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1758388&u=3414324&m=104244&urllink=&afftrack=