Category Archives: Tools

About the modelling tools I have

Site Seeing – The scratchbuilding masterclass edition

I enjoy scratchbuilding. It’s a mental as much as engineering or artistic endeavour. I recently found the site highlighted today and just had to share this for those of you unsure how to begin or for those who’ve begun but need along their scratchbuilding journey.

While this site deals with cars, and car related projects, the series of tutorials provide a great set of skills totally applicable to all modellers.

It includes extensive styrene tutorials in both flat and curved surface projects and there’s another outstanding tutorial on a project in brass. And this guy knows his scratchbuilding business.

There are downloadable templates, lists of tools and supplies to complete the model; in all a very comprehensive site and full of ideas for those of us interested in bettering our scratchbuilding skills. I learned a lot from reading all the tutorials.



Site update: new tool section – punch and die tools

On one of the forums (fora?) that I inhabit the subject of punch and die sets came up. While answering the ops question about the punch and die sets I use, I thought it was time I write more about the tools I use and so with some spare time on my hands today I wrote a new section under the tools section for these highly useful, if not often talked about, tools. More below…

The tools

There’s four new pages, one master page, and one for each tool listed below:

  1. Beading tool – for making rivets and bolt ends,
  2. Hexagonal punch and die – for making bolt heads, and
  3. Waldron’s punch and die sets (plural) – for making washers, panel overlays, cutouts, and anything else you can think to use them for.


To reach each page you can use the menu at the top of the page (modelling articles > tools ‘n’ tips > Punch and Die tools > choose an option), or click from the links below:

A note on safety

When using any tool, but especially those that cut or punch make sure you are wearing eye protection at all times. Small parts can and will fly into your eyes if you are not careful. I’m not responsible for any damage to you or others from using the information presented here.

Site seeing – February 13 – The Clamp it edition

Despite what you might be thinking (for those of us old enough to remember this television show) this is not about the family made rich through an accident during hunting for dinner. This post is about creative solutions shared on one of my favourite sites when building to a hard right angle. So despite wanting to tell you a story about a man named Jed it’s time to launch into today’s site seeing adventure.

Site 1: Model Railroad Hobbyist – Clamps for assembling structures

I have thought for some time about buying a right-clamp for assisting building my structures. Especially so since I do a lot of scratchbuilding. When I saw this pop up on my email feed from MRH I just had to share some of the ideas here.

My favourite one (since I have most of these available now) is this creative use of Lego:

Image courtesy of MRH Forums

Head on over to the post and see some of the other great ideas presented there. I have to say though that this one really ticked all the boxes for me.

What I’m up to – the no trains but there is a tool in it tale

The part without trains in it

When my son turned 10 he was desperate to get into the game Warhammer 40,000. Duly noted Dad trundled down to Melbourne and quietly bought him the starter set Dark Vengeance. For a not inconsiderable sum you get some really great models (49 of them actually) all the basic rules and stuff needed to start playing.

I’d begun to get him into modelling at this stage and he’d made a couple of half-decent models. I asked him if he’d like help to get the models built and ready for paint. To his credit he said “I’ll be alright Dad” and promptly trundled off to the modelling table and began to put them together. Then things seemed to stall. I let it ride for a couple of months and then one day got the models out and asked him if he’d like some help to put them together to get this under way so he could start wargaming. Thus the problems came to light. Turns out that he followed the instructions to the letter putting the models together – using the glue supplied in the kit. And here is where the problems came to rest; the glue was woeful. It was not boy wonder’s fault. He’d followed the detail in the instructions to the letter. But the glue seemed to not want to hold and it had crystallised on the plastic. Gripping enough to not want to let go and not enough to hold the pieces together.

Warhammer_ModelsSo over the summer (since November 2015) I’ve been working away of an evening after meals to get these cleaned up and ready for paint for boy wonder. It has taken a little over two months of constant slog to undo the damage done to the models by the damned glue (think of super-glue that’s been hit with accelerator and gone off really quickly). The work to rebuild them included ‘gently’ prizing them apart, cleaning up the ‘glue’ residue, filing, shimming and doing what was needed to set arms and torso, smooth the glue damage and prep them for paint. Overall I am impressed at the quality of the models. And the acrylic black undercoat went on a treat from a car store rattle can.

The part with the tool in it

While trying to figure out the best way to paint these models I took a long hard look at my soldering station third hand. With 49 of these models to paint I needed something that would allow me to spray lots of them as often as possible without them blowing all over the place.

The_DectopusWhat I came up with was the Dektopus (left). It’s like an octopus, but with two extra hands – thus the dek bit. I am a big fan of making the tools you need when you can. And this one came out just like I wanted it to. I bought two metres of cable. Cut enough of the sheathing off to allow for a solid connection when I soldered the cable and the Alligator clips. Cut two pieces of 2×1 for the holders and two shorter ones for the stands. I screwed the long pieces back to back, drilled 10 holes in them at equal spacings, just smaller than the diameter of the cable. I unscrewed the two pieces and then placed the cable in the grooves, applied white glue, clamped it together, and then screwed it back together. Glued and screwed the ends on and left it overnight.

So that has kept me busy the last few months of evenings. Now back to trains.

Site seeing: 02 October – the pigs ear from a silk purse edition

EDIT: Not sure what happened to all the text in this post, the problem was on my end obviously! Here’s take two of this post.

Site 1: Athearn BlueBox Gondola Build

I posted back on August 30th about the new models I bought at the Caulfield Exhibition – found in the bargains bin. I found going through the three models that one of them had, after being stored poorly, suffered some pretty nasty damage. There was a wicked bend throughout one side of the casting, and the other side had been sheared fromthe base along most of its length.

But for $10.00AU I am not complaining and aimed to instead see what could be made from the remains of the kit, or if it could be saved (somewhat) and made serviceable.

If you head on over to the build’s main page tomorrow (AEST time) you’ll be able to see part 1 of the build process.

Site seeing – July 30

It’s tool time.

Over on the model railroad hobbyist forum, at the outer end of the western spiral arm, is a discussion going on about the ”Challenges of working in a small space’. Sprinkled in and among that discussion are some of the best ideas I’ve seen for organisation yet.

I won’t say that the solutions are available in your country however, they do give great food for thought and we can all work to come up with something similar. Some of the best ones I’ve seen are so simple I wish I’d thought of them.

Site 1: Model Railroad Hobbyist Forum

In this thread I’ve seen some great tool sets and here are a couple from this thread:

If you get the chance head over to the link and take a read through. I’m looking at building that second stand. Without an inside modelling location at the moment (I normally model in the garage during late spring, summer and early autumn) I have to be mobile in my modelling approach.


Image 1: Andrew’s yellow carry bucket of tools