Tuesday 30 July 2013

Sprue Cutters Union. Top three tools

OK this is my second blog post for the sprue cutters union. The task was to talk about the top three most significant things that have impacted my modeling. That's an easy one, I thought to myself, until I sat down to write this. Damn I thought to myself, I've thought of at least half a dozen things in the space of one minute; so how do I decide what my top three things are? Well I've come to the conclusion that I will never be able to decide on a technique as I have picked up too many hints and tips over the years. As far as advice or guidance, again I could talk about the hobby for hours, don't believe me? Just ask my Wife! So I am left with resources and tools. Hmmm I thought to myself, the best resource is the Internet, blogs, forums, twitter, etc so I may as well talk about tools then. So here it is, my top three tools:

Paint Brush stand and Stirrer

As far as I am concerned my little stirrer and brush stand are some of the most valuable tools that I own, The stirrer was a present from my wife about ten years ago. We were visiting a small local model show, when my wife who had been browsing a sale stand rushed up to me and said that she had bought me a tool. I could see the excitement in her expression and immediately became excited as well. that is until she produced this little piece of metal !! Oh that's great love, what is it? I said apprehensively. It's a stirrer for your little paint pots, I got it for you because you are always complaining about the paint separating, don't you like it? she asked through a hurt expression. Of course I do darling its wonderful I said while trying to show as much excitement as possible.
Well I have owned this little tool for over ten years now and can honestly say that I have used it every time I pick up a paint brush. It is a fantastically simplistic little tool that I would be lost without. The paint brush stand is another cheap little gizzit that was bought for me, this time by my late grandmother who spotted this for sale in a local supermarket as a special offer. My grandmother knew that I did something with paintbrushes and thought that I may find it useful. Again I was sceptical at first, but many years on, this little bit of equipment can be seen in permanent residence on my model table. If you look at the progress photos on my blog page, you will probably see this little stand somewhere in the background.


I cannot stress enough how important storage space is for this hobby and I felt that it deserves a special mention from me in terms of a valuable resource. One of the biggest "tools" in my storage arsenal is the plastic storage tub, which in my case was purchased in large quantities from Ikea. These are supplied in a three pack, cost a few pounds and can fit most un-assembled kits and fit a 120mm figure beautifully. The image that I have included is my stock of 120mm figures that I have not yet started or have taken a break from. because of their hard and durable construction, I can safely store my models until I get the chance to complete/start them. I also have another two large shelves full of these tubs for my 1/35 scale projects.

Model Oven

This is my crowning glory in my collection of tools. I think that this speaks volumes to my attitude towards the hobby. While there are fantastic products out there, the prices demanded for some of the tools and materials is bordering on criminal in some instances. For that reason, I always look around to see if I can make a specific tool for a considerable amount less than what I would have to pay for it. To date I have not seen one of these ovens for sale, so I was forced to make one anyway. My oven started life as a plywood transport box that was being thrown out in my place of work. I took the box apart and reconstructed it to a smaller size to suit my needs. Once constructed, I painted it in black (I had an old tin of gloss handy). To carry on with my re-tasking ethos (I don't like to say recycle), I sourced an old computer case and proceeded to take out the power socket from the back of the case, the power lead, the rubber feet, and the silver fan cover from the case.
The rubber feet were fitted to the bottom of the oven, the side of the oven was drilled and the female power socket was fitted. I then drilled a hole in the top of the oven to provide a heat release hole to prevent the temperature reaching too high a level and the silver fan cover was fitted over the hole.  The next stage for me was to pop down to my local supermarket to buy some good quality aluminium baking foil and then onto my local hardware store to buy a surface mount light fitting, some spray adhesive and four very small angle brackets. The internal parts of the oven were sprayed with adhesive and the foil was fitted to ensure that the entire inside was covered. The light fitting was fixed to the bottom of the box and wired to the female connector that I had fitted earlier. A small 10 watt Pygmy light bulb was fitted. The final stages of the build was to fit the small brackets to hold a shelf which is essentially a pre-drilled piece of metal grill that was again rescued from a skip. Voila a model oven was born. I use this with almost every model that I have. Its fantastic to speed up the curing process of paints, adhesives, etc. Its also really good as a drying cabinet with the light off as well. Trust me on this, if you do make one you will wonder how you did without one.  


  1. Great post Craig! Can't go wrong with tons of storage!

  2. Good stuff mate. I have never considered a painting oven before, and am impressed by your effort. I tend to paint several gaming minis at once, so don't really struggle for drying time on individual models, but I feel like I've learned something reading your post.