Getting Started: Hobby Tools


So you went out and bought your first model kit and now you need to know what you need to put it together huh? Well, I hope to clear up your confusion with this guide to helping you pick up the right tools so that you can assemble your first models. Once you have those first models assembled, then I will cover some of the additional tools that will help you take your models to the next level.

Tools for your first models

There aren’t a lot of tools that I think you should have to get those first models together. In fact, I am going to recommend these two tools whether you have plastic, metal or resin models to assemble as they are the core of what you need and will get the job done! The first tool is is a hobby knife. Probably one of the more popular brands are the Exacto knife. You will want to ensure you have spare blades for this knife on hand as a sharp blade will save you time and effort (and potentially a horrible cut).

The second tool that you will need is glue. Not just ordinary glue either, but super glue. No, not the kind that flies around in the sky, but rather the kind that’s great for bonding different components of a model kit together. Super glue will work with anything to bond it together so that your model is more then just pieces in the kit. Even the most basic models often need to be glued to a base at the very least. I personally prefer super glue that is in a gel formula, which I feel gives me a little more control and a little less fingers stuck together. However, there are a lot of products out there and you can find super glue for a pretty inexpensive price.

So what do I add next?

The two most basic tools now in your collection and your first few models assembled now it’s time to look into some additional tools that will boost your capabilities.

Often overlooked, but a self healing cutting mat or board to protect the surface of your hobby area is a great addition. Most of the self healing mats out there also have a grid or measurement markings in inches which can be especially useful when you need a quick measurement on something.

A clipping tool for cutting pieces off of plastic frames, cleaning up resin and metal models, and general snipping needs is another excellent addition. These are especially useful for plastic figures that come in popular model kits.

Another great addition to your set of tools is the pin vise. This can be especially useful when assembling metal and resin figures that have joints that aren’t the most friendly to just a glue bond. When you can drill a small hole and use a bit of paper clip to reinforce the connection between two pieces you can really assemble a figure that is much more stable on the table. I find drilling a hole in most of my figures feet and then using a paper clip as a “pin” to hold it to the base helps ensure that my model stays attached for years of game play on the table top.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention green stuff and sculpting tools. As you assemble your models you are going to, at a minimum, have gaps where the two pieces come together that you are going to want to fill. Additionally, many hobbyists want to add additional details to their models to customize them from what other people may put on the table. This is really where green stuff modeling putty comes in. As a rule, it’s uses are pretty extensive and give you a bit tool to help your hobby. There are a number of other modeling putty products out there, such as brown stuff and apoxy sculpt, but this seems to be pretty universal and one that I use all of the time.

What’s next?

There are many products out there that go beyond what I have listed above. As you delve deeper into the world of the tabletop miniature hobby you will find many specialized products out there both for assembly of miniatures and painting that you find useful. Hopefully with this, you begin to have a foundation of the tools needed and can start to build your hobby toolbox.

Leave a comment