Your six essential modelling tools

I’m posting this question a number of forums so my apologies in advance if you have seen it elsewhere. I want to get a broad overview of what our community thinks and whilst there is an overlap in membership in many forums, there are also many modellers who stick to one modelling forum.

If you had to reduce your modelling toolbox to just six ‘essential’ construction (not painting) tools, what would they be?

My pick would be:
-craft knife (my weapon of choice is a Swann Morton No.3 handle with a 10A blade)
-needle nose tweezers
-Metal ruler
-sprue nippers
-pin vice with a selection of drill bits
-sanding stick (I started using glass/crystal sanding files recently)

Your responses much appreciated.



Pretty much along the same lines really.

  1. Good craft knife and blades.
  2. Needle nose tweezers
  3. Flush sprue nipper
  4. Sanding sticks
  5. Pin vice with the bits
  6. I would swap out the ruler for my razor saw.



I am currently on a month-long trip and brought a kit along to build on sea days. My tool bag consists of:

  1. Sprue nipper
  2. Xacto knife
  3. Ceramic seam scraper
  4. Sanding sticks
  5. Pin vise and bits
  6. Angled needle nose tweezer


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  1. Xacto handle w/ #15 scalpel blade (surgical grade, UK or German made only)

  2. Xacto handle w/ #11 Testors blade

  3. Ye olde GodHand sprue nippers v6 from the land of Yamato

  4. Sanding sticks, aka nail files

  5. MiniCraft UK rotary tool, drill and dental bits

  6. Tweezers (surgical iris)

Have tossed the essentials into a model kit box for building when traveling except for #5, plus a set of (#7) Meng hand drill bits and (#8) OptiVisor on top of box :package:

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  1. Optivisor (without this ‘tool’ none of the others would matter)
  2. Xacto knife w/ #11 blades
  3. Sprue nippers
  4. Various small files and sanding sticks
  5. Tamiya extra thin glue (green cap), Tamiya cement (orange cap) & Loctite superglue
  6. Tweezers, both straight and angled

Correct answer. :hammer_and_wrench::grinning: IMHO.



My list is identical to yours Mike !

@ metalhead85: creading (Charles) gets the credit. I quoted him.


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Oh yes I’d have to include a handy tool that would be categorized under references……

I would refer to this when things weren’t going so well lol

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Can you believe I ordered one from a bar in Kansas a while back, and they brought it to me with no orange slice? She didn’t even know it was supposed to have one.

Please tell me you don’t already have your tree up. They’re already stocking Christmas items at Hobby Lobby.

Lol I usually toss the orange wedge once I get the beer, and no that pic was from last Xmas !

Sounds to me like your server needs remedial training lol
In all honesty here in NY I get it about 50% of the time.

The Loctite superglue in the bottle with the blue squeeze pieces are the best because you can put controlled amounts of glue on paper/foil to use for a period of time or put a small bit on the model (if you really insist).

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My 6 essential tools right now are:

  1. X-Acto handle with #11 blades
  2. Tamiya Super thin and Loctite gel control super glue
  3. Side cutters/sprue nippers
  4. needle nose and reverse-action tweezers
  5. Sandpaper
  6. A paperclip unraveled and duct taped to a broken brush handle (used mainly for applying superglue)
  1. Optivisor because the others won’t matter without it
  2. Sprue nipper
  3. Emory boards/400 grit sandpaper
  4. Tweezers
  5. Pin vise and drills
  6. Razor saw

Surprised no one has mentioned a Dremel yet. Absolutely essential for me.


Good list. Tamiya masking tape if you’re doing planes…

Moving on from the essential tools. What would people recommend as a good starter airbrush and compressor? Also what brushes do you guys use. (Just getting started)

Welcome to Armorama.
When I first started I used a spare tire. I do not recommend the “canned air.” It works fine but is probably not environmentally friendly.
For your airbrush AND your compressor, I wouldn’t even recommend a starter set. I’d get the ones you anticipate needing when your skills improve. Why spend money twice?
You wouldn’t get a .22 revolver knowing you want to end up shooting .357 Magnum.