Visit any modeling forum or hobby shop (online or otherwise), and it’s pretty apparent that we spend a lot of time obsessing over gear, from cutters and tweezers to paints, masking materials, and even the cameras we use to record our builds.
This page is intended as an ongoing work in progress where I’ll be collecting posts that discuss the gear I use and the gear I’ve tried and cast aside.
UPDATED NOVEMBER 2016
There’s no right way to build a model, and no single right gear. All of this is my own personal experience and observation, and your mileage may vary. Got a product you like better? Let me know in the comments!
Preparation and Construction
- Sprue Cutters – Tamiya Sharp-Pointed Side Cutters are my go-to sprue cutters. I’ve tried others. Xuron makes some good stuff (their PE cutters are great). But I’ve never found anything that cuts as cleanly, or as flush, as Tamiya side cutters.
- X-Acto Knives – Buy a lot of #10 and #11 blades! And multiple handles. There never seems to be a spare handle around when you need one.
- Tweezers – Various normal and locking tweezers.
- Glues and Solvents – MEK for plastic-to-plastic, Gator’s Grip and Loctite Ultra Gel for damn near everything else.
- Old Airbrush Needles – Bend a needle? SAVE IT! Busted old needles are some of the best, most versatile tools on my bench.
Sanding and Filling
- 3M Acryl Red Glazing Putty – I hate that it’s red. But it feathers nicely, dries fast, and one tube will last you until the Apocalypse and beyond.
- Flex-i-File Sanding Sticks – I’ve tried other brands of sanding sticks and these are my favorites. I think. My last batch proved to be pretty prone to “shedding” grit all over things.
- Wet/Dry sandpaper –
- Tamiya Tape – Great for most basic masking needs.
- Eduard Masks – Great for saving time with canopies.
- 3M Artists Tape for Curves – Need to mask around a cowl or something? This is your ticket.
Stuff I Airbrush:
- Primer – Gunze-Sangyo Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black (See: Black Basing)
- Gunze Mr. Color
- Tamiya “Acrylic”
- Mr. Paint
- Metallics – Primarily Alclad II, though I’ve been known to use Gunze Super Metallics and I was recently quite impressed by Mr. Paint Super Fine Silver.
- Clear Gloss – Tamiya X-19 Clear + Gunze Mr. Leveling Thinner, followed by a misted coat of straight leveling thinner.
- Clear Semi-Gloss- Gunze Semi-Gloss Clear
- Clear Matte – Vallejo Matt Varnish
Stuff I Brush-Brush
- Vallejo Model Color – Good coverage, paints well, stays where you put it.
- AMMO Acrylics
- Iwata CM-B Custom Micron
- Iwata HP-C Plus
- Iwata HP-CS Eclipse
- Iwata Revolution M
- Grex Genesis XGI
- Microscale Micro-Set
- Microscale Micro-Sol
Weathering and Detailing
- AMMO and AK Washes
- Oil Filtering
- AMMO Panel Line Washes
- Oils and AMMO/AK stuff for streaks and other effects
- Pigments when needed
27 Comments Add yours
I was wondering if you could tell me the difference between Mr Surfacer 1000 ans 1200? I can only find the 1200.
1000 is a little bit thicker than 1200. Basically think of the numbers the way you would sandpaper grits. 500 is thick, better for bigger, sloppier areas. 1000 is thinner and finer. And 1200 is ultra-fine.
What MM primer are you using? I know of their many spray primers, but which one comes in the bottle? Is it in the Acryl line or enamel? Is there an item number? Thanks!
Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply, Aaron! It’s just plain MM enamel primer in the standard round bottle. The code is 2737.
What compressor do you use? Any brands or models you strongly suggest OR any to stay away from?
I use a SilentAire Scorpion II. Twin-piston. I wouldn’t buy it again (it’s already burned out one pressure switch and it’s not even a year old). I’ve heard raves about the Grex compressors…
What colors of oils do you have in your stash and use for weathering? Thanks, Ben
Sure. I’ve got lamp black, payne’s gray, yellow ochre, raw umber, burnt sienna, transparent white, some kind of blue, a green, and a lighter yellow. The last three are usually held in reserve unless they’re in line with the color scheme. But all the others usually see use.
Hi there! I really have been enjoying your website! I was wondering, when you photograph your projects as you are going you set the models on what looks to be a an acrylic positionable stand. Is that something you made or is it commercially available?
Firstly – love your website & presence on the web.
I am about to invest in paints but have the dilema of limited budget but want to maximise my colours. I was wondering if you could share what are your mainstay colours – or let me rephrase – if you had say $300-$400 what paints (and sepcificaly colours) would you invest in?
For three or four hundred dollars, you could pretty much have a full suite of any color line. If that’s your budget for paints, then you’re in great shape to get started. Like doogs, I also use a wide range of paint brands, as each tend to have plusses and minuses. As far as colors, that’s a hard one to answer. Someone who is looking at a future in armor modeling is going to he shopping for different reasons colors as the guy who’s doing planes. And even then, if you’re in the ballpark of only planes, what era will you be most interested in? Folks who build ww2 stuff have a different paint locker than folks who build modern day fighters. Best bet is to pick three or four Models that you plan on building in the upcoming future, and get stocked on those colors. That’s a good start. From there you can kind of add along as you go. Just make sure you take care of them, as they go bad if treated accordingly.
do you still have any SNJ that is still good?? loved it but it set up in the bottle on me..
and cannot find any?? looking for aluminum that is still good??
Hi. I noticed in your AH-1Z build that in the background you have what looks like a white 2″ PVC Tee with rubber bands or tape holding foam in place. Could you please tell us what it’s used for? Also, after you applied the decals and gave it a dull coat, did you overspray the kit with white?
Flex-i-file sanding sticks? Can you point me in the general direction for purchase. Link or part number? I’ve seen the frames and some of their other products but no “sticks”.
Just getting back into the hobby and studying all the new technics and materials. Love your black basing method and I will definitely be trying that.
Looking at investing in new paints (acrylics) and I’ve seen all the main mfr. and read the reviews, however I was really impressed by your review of Mr. Paint.
Is this line only available on line or our there any US
distributors? I would like to try this brand but waiting weeks for paint seems like a PITA!
I figured you live in Texas and I’m wondering if Kings Hobby Shop carries this line?
Thanks for any information
Hey Reuben – since I made the video, Red Star and Hobby World USA have both scored distro deals with Mr. Paint – still online, but at least online domestic vs. having to wait on transit from Slovakia!
Yea I found out about Hobby World USA just yesterday and I’ve been talking to Matt. He stated that right now they have a very limited supply of paints and what they do have is mostly Russian modern aircraft. Im mainly interested in WWII warbirds. Matt also stated that Rene at Mr. Paints said that he will be shipping out more paints to HW within the next day or so but Matt doesn’t have the confidence that the supply would be arriving any time soon givin’ the past history and the shipping methods or company they use for shipping. Looking at WH site their listing about 12-15 new paint inventory and most of it is RLM stuff. Anyway thanks for getting back to me Doog and keep up the inspirational work!
Thanks Matt for the info and your time.
I now have an extensive line of Mr. Paint that I get from Hobby-World USA, fantastic paint by the way, my question this time is this, I’m want to change from using Future for clear coating and canapy dipping to something different and I was thinking about using Alclad Aqua Kote. Have you used this product either the gloss, matte, semi-matt or any other clear kote from this line? and if so how does this work with Mr. Paint does it effect the paint in any advised way?
Keep up the great and inspirational work!
First of all congrats on the really cool site and facebook page.
In the Paint section above I read:
“Clear Gloss – Tamiya X-19 Clear + Gunze Mr. Leveling Thinner, followed by a misted coat of straight leveling thinner.”
I suppose that X-19 should read something else (maybe X-22) cause X-19 is Smoke and unless you intend to cover your model with some sort of dark filter, it wouldn’t do.
Can you please give us a little roundup (in your usual cool style 😉 on your favorite method for gloss coating a model in preparation for decaling?
Details such as mixing ratios, technique and any pit falls to look out for would be greatly appreciated. I normally used future and can see what treatment you reserved to it. I cannot say that I had difficulties with it, but I can never get that glass like finish which is so required for a good decal application, with it.
Thanks and please keep up the awesome job.
I get a chuckle out of your “SHUT UP COMPRESSOR!” line from your videos.
My modeling hours are my peaceful respite from the day and last damn thing I want to hear is a ratty assed compressor making industrial noise. That is why I gave up on airbrush compressors several decades ago and bought a nice regulator / gage set and fittings at a welding supply house and then screwed the whole mess to a nice C02 tank. Nice and QUIET and the added advantage of clear DRY gas so no shitty water trap to mess with, (a BIG plus down here in humid Florida). A 20 lb. cylinder will last me a full year at the rate I paint so that’s $20-$25 a year for blissful quiet clean moisture proof painting.
Hi, looking for the best option to clear coat over alclad II. I did a pretty decent (I like to believe) job with a f94 following most of your research on natural metal finishes, but it is pretty much ruined now after decals been applied (original ones from the kit, which are very bad), now, I spryed alclad clear coat (Alc 302) to try to protect the metal, but it changed the look a bit and it doesn’t protect a lot…, I heard a little about Gaia ex 01, is it a better option?. Main reason to build this f94 was to experiment some painting techniques to build a b58, I just feel a little lost with the clear coat situation, so any suggestion will be more than welcome!
Thanks for your time!
Doog I admire your work and try to you to you as a reference when building. Any chance you could update your recommendations on gear or are these still your go to items?
3M Acryl Glazing Putty also comes in white and green. But since it’s $25 bucks a tube and is basically a lifetime supply, I don’t expect you’ll be replacing the red anytime soon.
Hi, Doog! I’m a big fan and I use your techniques as my guides. I was wondering, do you have any suggestions on how to best fix, or at least, mitigate decal silvering even when using Micro Sol and Micro Set solutions? Any suggestion is appreciated. Thanks!
Decal silvering is almost always an adhesive issue – either a decal is missing that bottom layer adhesive or it has been washed away or whatever. Part of the decal then kinda floats.
To mitigate it, you want to use something with a light adhesive in it. Gunze Mr Mark Setter is good this. So is Tamiya Decal Adhesive.
These won’t help with the other decal problems like thick carrier film, but they’ll knock out silvering.