Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Talkin Tools

I'd like to take a moment to introduce to you a new series that I'll be doing on a semi regular basis. It's called 'Talkin Tools' and even though initially you may have thought it was going to be a discussion based around 'that guy' at your local gaming club it's actually going to be talking about the various tools used in my profession as a miniature artist.

For the first cab off the rank I'll be giving a general 'tool box' overview. This is a list of items that I believe are the 'basics' for any hobbyist or amateur modeler. These are tools that I use every day-

Stanley Knife - When I say stanley knife most people will probably know this as an exacto blade or hobby knife etc etc...what I'm referring to is a hand held cutter with replaceable blades. I prefer not to use knifes with snap off blade edges as sometimes they will just 'snap off' when you're trying to do something important. As well they tend to be more flimsy and harder to work with. If you're going to get a good Stanley knife go to your local hardware store and get a decent one with some spare blades. I've been using mine for 3 years now and still haven't worked my way through the blades that came with the original knife...well worth a $12-13 investment in my opinion.

Super Glue - This is such a staple that I almost completely forgot about it to be honest. I assumed that most people would already have this in their kit but I'll make mention of a couple of points. Make sure you always have plenty on hand. There is nothing worse than getting 90% through a project and running out of super glue. As far as brand goes I'm not that fussy. Some people insist on certain brands but I always seem to get away with going to a discount store (crazy clarks, sam's warehouse, fair dinkum bargains) and picking up 3-4 packets of super glue at a time for $2-3 a pop. Very simple, very straight forward.

Clippers - I used to do everything with a stanley knife with mixed results. That includes getting parts off sprues. Looking back I don't know what I was thinking or how many models I actually damaged in the process. But let me just say in case you are tempted to be cheap like I was. GET SOME CLIPPERS. A simple $5 pair of wire clippers from a hardware store will save you a world of grief in the long run. While both clippers and knifes cut they serve two very different purposes.

Paint brushes - Starting out in the game I bought cheap brushes. And they did me fine. If all you are looking to achieve is something to put on the table top then I would recommend going down to a local spotlight store and picking up some cheap $3-4 brushes. Pick up a few because you'll need a few as they tend to hook, split and generally get crappy real quick. These are perfectly fine for the basic paintjob. Make sure you're either getting synthetic or red sable bristles. These will keep you in good stead for miniatures and make sure you steer well away from hog bristles. I thought the point was self evident but I thought I'd just make a point of it since some people need to have it spelled out.

If however you are looking for a better quality, long lasting brush then I would point you in the direction of brands such as Windsor Newton and Raphael. I know there are other good quality brush companies out there but I found my winning horses and I'm sticking with them. Take care of these brushes by cleaning them regularly during the painting process and storing them in a place where the bristles won't be bent. As well make sure you get their brushes made for 'miniatures'. The reason is these brushes have a shorter and springier bristle which helps with fine detail painting. But I'll no doubt go into more dept about paint brushes on a later Talkin Tools segment.

Paint - Buy good quality acrylic. For miniatures you're looking at brands like Games Workshop(Citadel), P3 Paints, Vallejo. There are a couple other good paint suppliers out there for miniatures...but like I said before I've found my winning horses. These brands are known for their quality and range of colour. Recommend them. Just make sure you have a good selection of colours in your tool box.

PVA or Wood Glue - Simply put get some. You need it to base your miniatures.

I think that just about wraps it up. I keep remembering things that I use all the time but I kept trying to think back to things I used when I first got started and these are pretty much it. Hope that helps you out :)

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