HINTS AND TIPS
"Awww heck! Not another one", I hear you say! Well, yes, it is another hints and tips page, but with a difference. The difference is that there are millions of modellers out there surfing the net and lots of them visit this site, so we thought we'd ask modellers to give up their hot tips to place on this page and share them with lots of other modellers. Remember, we all started in this great hobby sometime and we learned from fellow modellers who took the time to help us out and explain stuff. So this page is just an extension of that "club" philosophy.
If you've got a red hot hint or tip to share with other modellers, email it to us via the email link shown on this website. Please include your email address and name (or non de plume) for us to contact you if we need to. Anonymous tips, flames, other general rants and advertising will not be placed on the site. All tips will be placed on the site under the author's name, so nobody can complain about having their idea stolen!
To start the ball rolling here's a few hints and tips that we've come up with.
Many modellers use silk thread taken from an old silk screen (the type printers use) for rigging or antennae. It's strong, flexible and takes paint easily. Silk threads are best attached with super glue. If you want to avoid painting the stuff then silk fly tying thread is just right for you. You can obtain it from bait and tackle shops. It comes in a variety of colours, though modellers will mostly want the silver and black varieties, and a variety of diameters. It is ideally suited for rigging WWI aircraft. It can be glued in place with super glue and is exceptionally strong. Unlike other thread it is smooth.
Filling small blemishes or shallow seams: Often small blemishes or shallow seams are a hassle to fill (especially on aircraft models). Sure you can use something like Mr Surfacer but then you've got to do a lot of sanding to clean up. Using correction fluid, like Liquid Paper, is much easier. Apply it and let it dry, then simply wipe of the excess with a soft cloth moistened with methylated spirits. You are left with a clean finish and a neatly filled seam.
Often aircraft kits are tail sitters and there is not enough room to add weight to the front end to fix this. Plumber's Wool is the answer to this because it's a fine lead mesh that looks like steel wool. You can squash into any small space and to add weight to a model. It's usually available from plumbing suppliers or hardware stores.
Sometimes you need to replace the windscreen in a clear part or add a clear part where there is none provided in the kit. The answer here is to use those old clear plastic pencil cases or those left over CD jewel cases. Simply cut out what you want and glue it in place.
Storing Paint Chips, FS, BS, RAL and AS books and Fan Decks: Everybody has got a collection of these invaluable modelling aids. But did you know that light can affect these over time? To keep them as fresh as the day you got them, always store paint chips in manila envelopes, in a box of other light excluding container and in a drawer or cupboard. All your expensive standards, fan decks and books should be kept in boxes and in a cupboard or drawer to exclude light.
Keeping small parts and sub-assemblies together: Often when building a model there are lots of small parts or sub-assemblies lying around during construction. We all know about the pading factor when these bits shoot off into space. But sometimes they get lost even if we keep them in the kit box or there is not enough space to keep them in the kit box. The answer is to use small plastic trays like the ones that come with pre-cooked "buy and bake" foods. These trays can hold quite a few sub-assemblies or small parts without over flowing - and there are not easy to knock over. Gary Byk, Red Roo Models.
Knocking over bottles of settling solution: We've all done it and cursed at the mess and waste. The answer is to get a small piece of styrene packing foam and cut out a hole to fit the bottle into. Another idea is to place the bottles in a small glass jar.
Often turpentine or thinners fails to get rid of the last load of paint you just applied. The answer is to have three jars for cleaning brushes on your modelling bench. One with turpentine (or whatever you like to use), one with brush cleaner and one with water. Cleaning the brush is just as easy as one two three! The turps gets rid of the paint, the brush cleaner breaks down any residue and the water flushes the brush, which can then be dried with a soft cloth and returned to its storage place. Kevin Kerle, Melbourne, Australia
Buying a good quality brush:
There is a simple test artists use. Run brush lightly across the palm of your hand, then moisten your thumb and forefinger. Draw the brush between the thumb and forefinger, twirling slightly. If the bristles return to the original shape, buy the brush.
Selleys "No More Gaps" is an excellent filler for gaps in joints. It is water soluble and paintable. All you need is a damp rag to smooth the surface and wipe away the excess; or even a damp finger. This must be done before it dries as it does not sand well. It goes furry. Panel lines etc. are easily restored with a suitable scribe dipped in water.