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Scratchbuilders!: Armor/AFV
This is a group for armor scratchbuilding questions, topics and projects.
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ArmouredSprue
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2002 - 08:01 PM UTC
Jan;
Since you're willing to answer the questions, here goes a silly one!
What are the tools you need to get started with scratchbuilding? I mean, besides the regular ones used on general modelling. What are the "You must have"tools and how do you use them?
Cheers!
GeneralFailure
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Posted: Monday, February 25, 2002 - 10:52 PM UTC


Paulo,

I'd have to think this over - and I will take some time for that.
Off the cuff, I can already point out one main difference. Since you have no pre-modeled kit to start from, you need good reference material. Pictures, but alos plans. You also have to know the dimensions of the "real" vehicle. Then, you have to start measuring to map the correct dimensions to the scale you wish to work in.
This means you need a good ruler and a caliper. For scratchbuilding, a good caliper is worth its own weight in gold.
I'll go through the other tools at a later moment. Gotta run now.

Jan



GunTruck
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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 12:45 AM UTC
I'd like to toss in a couple of thoughts - other than technical references in information.

The most important tool I use in scratchbuilding and conversion work is a metal 1:35 scale ruler. I don't futz around with calculators for converting scale measurements much. I get the actual dimesions and cut to that in 1:35 scale. My favorite is one produced by Armor Research Company, and is 33 scale feet long, with increments marked off in inches. This is plenty long enough - for say a longwheel base 5-ton cargo truck chassis. I also have one of the clear plastic Scale Cards, which I carry around in my wallet. When the wife drags me around shopping, I see things I might be able to use in scratch projects, and the Card comes in handy for 1:35 scale measurements, and relationships with scale figures.

Second for me is the large X-Acto Cutting Mat. The grid pattern is finer than most. This allows me to layout simple jigs for aligning wheels, frame channels, etc. With that, grid paper allows me to draw out the critical wheelbase measurements, so that I can tape it to a cutting mat and build the model up - on the paper - to check dimensions.

A compass is good, and I have one, but I use a circle template more often, with circle cutters.

Those are the most critical items I have in a tool kit for scratching and conversion work - in addition to basic modeling tools. Everyone will have favorites based on what they're comfortable with and have used before.

Gunnie
ArmouredSprue
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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 01:05 AM UTC
Many thx;
Jan, take your time, the important here is to have a good view of the process.
Gunnie, the ruler is a must indeed, unffortunately for me, I don't have one in 1/35 measure, so the calculator is also a must.
thx again!
GunTruck
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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 01:07 AM UTC
Paulo - send me a private e-mail and we'll see what we can do...

Gunnie
NeilUnreal
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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 04:53 AM UTC
A Bridgport "knee" mill. Build the first model at 1:1 scale and each subsequent model at 1/2 the scale of the previous one. By the time you get to the 6th kit, you'll be working at 54mm.

Just kidding -- obviously!

Seriously, like several others in this thread, I would be lost without a good set of calipers. One important thing in caliper accuracy is to make sure you get a set with hard faces. Plastic faces can deform and lose accuracy. Carbide faces aren't necessary when using model-grade materials like plastic and brass.

Half my tools are in metric and half in English so I'm used to doing calculator conversions. If you work in a single scale (e.g. 1/35) a scale ruler would be handier than using a calculator.

Another thing I really like is my battery-powered Dremel MiniMite. For working with plastic, its lower speed and torque make it easier to use than a full-sized Dremel. It's a lot quieter too.

-Neil
GeneralFailure
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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 06:55 AM UTC
I did not try any conversion tools, I never saw them in any model shop either. But I'm quite happy with the calculator.

Of course, a drill is essential. I bought my first Demel 20 years ago, until it broke. Last year, I bought myself a new Proxxon drill in the new year's sales. For buying all equipment and material, I go "shopping" during the sales period. That's when I buy polystyrene strips and rods for a hole year.

A good ruler is important, too. I use the "machinist ruler" type : flat metal. THat makes it easy to cut plastic with a modeler's knife.
I have a sharp knife installed on a compass to cut perfect plastic circles.
I couldn't find a decent punch and die set in any local hobby shop, so I ended buying two from the internet: one makes round holes, the other hexagonal (to make nuts bolts).
I found them at Historex : http://www.historex-agents.demon.co.uk/punch.html

Before I start any project, I spend many hours studying pictures, measuring things. Then I work exactly like Gunnie : make a detailed drawing at the exact size. Then start building all individual pieces, one by one... I try to make the biggest parts first. That makes it easier to add smaller parts as the work continues. Preferably, I go for easy parts to start with : straight edges rather than curved, etc... Every piece is thoroughly measured before it is added to the model. Of some pieces, several are needed. I copy those in resin from the one original.
Earlier tonight, I checked on the calipers at the local DIY shop. They come as from € 1.5 (1€ equals about 1US$) for a plastic model to around 12 € for a decent inox steel one. I even discovered a 55 € digital caliper that shows the exact size on a small LCD screen !
I use the inox model. It's ten years old and still as accurate as when it was new.


ArmouredSprue
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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 07:19 AM UTC
It gave an idea how to get started, many thanks for the attention guys.
Cheers!
NeilUnreal
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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 - 08:31 AM UTC
janvdc wrote: Proxxon

Whoa! I'm jealous. A lot of Proxxon tools are really nice; I wish they were widely available in the U.S.

-Neil
GeneralFailure
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Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 - 03:03 AM UTC
Neil,
The nice thing about the Proxxon is the flexible attachment that allows you to model without having to handle the more bulky drill body itself. I feel a bit like a dentist when I start drilling something... ! But I saw that Dremel markets a similar device.

Electric drills have one huge disadvantage (and those incredible small circle saw inserts), though : they can cut your fingers like cheese if you're not extra careful !!!

Jan