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Top Tips IV: Top Tools (no, not you!)

5 Minute Read
Jun 13 2011

If I have a running topic on Bell of Lost Souls, then ‘Top Tips’ series narrowly puts ‘The Daemonic Primer’ series in the box…

…as if Grey Knights haven’t already done that.

(Darn it all.)

Hello Tuesday, your favorite reason for a restraining order has arrived!  My spiffy name tag reads ‘Brent‘; written underneath is ‘Strictly Average‘ – and no, the joke never gets old.

(I have no idea what the tool is in the opening picture.  Scary, no?  It’s pink, and unassuming… that makes it dangerous.)

Tools of the Trade

As we go through the list, keep in mind some of these may be very familiar to you; to that, avoid the impulse to scoff and say, “Well, that’s obvious,” because it probably isn’t.  As I’ve talked to hobbyists out there I’ve come to realize some of these ideas just haven’t percolated all the way through every level of Ye Ol’ Blogosphere.  So be patient!

Hopefully at least one or two will be new by you.  Let’s find out.

The Paint Stick

 Okay, I’ve talked about this one before, but it deserves a second mention.  If you’re not using a painting stick with double-sided tape to batch-spray your miniatures, you’re wasting a ton of time.  (One commenter mentioned his mate uses a four-sided stick!  That’s cool and all, but I’ll just use two sticks!)

The Dremel Tool

The best is the cordless, but the battery on mine is dead so I’ve pulled out the old standby.  Okay, it’s normally used for pinning, which GW has promised to make obsolete with its new Finecast series, but get real.  Besides, try out the other attachments to score tanks or clean mold lines.  Using a hand drill is fine for the odd job, but if you’re doing a large chore like drilling out the holes in Boltguns, the Dremel is a timesaver.

The Air Compressor and Air Brush

What can I say?  I’m already excited about what this baby is capable of!  The model you see above is pretty much the starter set, but the compressor should last you long past the point you’ve upgraded brushes.

Insulating Foam Board

You can purchase this at any hardware store, and it’s the standard material for building terrain.  It’s easy to cut and mold, but word of warning, don’t spray it directly with spray paint.  Coat it with watered down Elmer’s or something.  If you’ve ever thought of trying your hand at building terrain, stop making excuses!  With a few essentials (which I’ll probably dedicate an article to) you’ll be at it in no time.

This is a particle board on hardboard product…

 …used for setting potted plants on.  For our purposes, it makes a great base for terrain, since a perfect circle is fairly difficult to cut out!  I use it for making forest terrain, since generally you don’t want trees taking up too much space, board wise, but there’s no reason you can’t use if for other types of terrain.

Krylon Sprays

Cheaper than GW.  More options.  ‘Nuff said.

Okay, not enough, but again I’ll have to dedicate an article to this one… there are lots of time-saving tips for this product!  I’ll share one… layer these sprays for different designs.  If you’re painting terrain, undercoat with black, then dust a bit with grey and brown from different angles.  It’s great for walls and such, where you can add interest with minimal effort.

Large File

 If you’re spotting the theme, time-saving products, you get the gold star.  Yes, you have lots of nice, pretty files, but they’re all small, designed to take out mold lines without destroying whole areas.  This product is used to shave down a whole area evenly.  Think ‘feet’ here…  Still trying to figure it out?  Take a Space Marine’s legs, hold firmly, rub with gentle pressure back and forth…

…what?  You’ve got a dirty mind, son, a dirty mind.  Look, you want your model to stand flat on a base before you glue him down?  This is your (other) tool.

Tackle Box Turned Organizer

This is the only convenience that rates two pictures: it’s sold as a tackle box at a sports store (Academy) but it’s the perfect organizer for all the odds and ends you’ll collect over the years.  It’s got two sections; you can see the top in the picture above…

…and here’s the bottom.  Owning this has save me no end of time – I don’t have to search to find the tool I was looking for.  (Okay, that didn’t sound right either…)

Whatever Floats Your Boat

I don’t spend money needlessly, because every purchase made towards a file or paintbrush or spray paint to work with a miniature is money that ain’t being spent on more plastic crack – and I need my plastic crack!

Still, all this other stuff is a necessary evil to maximize the time spent painting models and minimize the time spent cleaning models… because I absolutely detest cleaning minis.

Seriously detest it, to the point it’s done in front of the TV so I can pretend it isn’t happening!

Okay folks, that’s it for today.  Got any (hobby related) tools or time savers?  Drop them in the comments, please – I’m saving all the best comments from the ‘Top Tips’ series for the next installment.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Hugs and gropings?

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