A Beginner’s Guide to Model Building: Part 4 of 4

Model Building tools for Advanced Builders

At this stage, you are probably already pretty familiar with the basic tools available for model building. So, let’s jump right into which advanced tools can be used to help you do an even better job at building professional models!

1. Alligator Clips for Model Building

Alligator clips that come with a stand can be used to hold your model parts while they dry. The clips are available in different amounts, which vary from set to set, depending on how many clips you will need for your specific project. 

These clips can be used for spray painting or hand brush painting and are a great help for painting in a paint booth or outside.

2. Magnifying Stations with Lights/Optivisor

Magnifying Stations with Lights

Optivisor is a tool that helps you see what you’re doing while working on your project. It’s like having a magnifying glass, but it has a headband and eyepieces, so you don’t have to hold it up to your face. It provides hands-free magnification, so you don’t have to keep readjusting your position or turning your head every time you need more magnification.

The Optivisor comes in several different sizes, so you can choose one that fits your needs. You can also get additional lenses for viewing in different lighting conditions — or even get a blue light for night work.


If not an optivisor, you can go for a magnifying station with lights. Magnifying glasses can be made to magnify up to five times their original size so you can focus on the intricate details of your modeling kit. 

However, we prefer a 2.25x to 2.5x magnifying glass, which we find especially useful when combined with a dimmable light source.

3. Small Folding Tables

Small Folding Tables

A folding table is an essential tool for model builders. It allows you to work on your project while it’s still in progress. You can also use a folding table as a bench when working on larger projects.

Folding tables are available in many sizes and styles, but they all have one thing in common: they fold up when not in use. If you’d like to work with small model building kits, a small folding table is ideal for you.

4. Hobby Trays

Hobby Trays

These trays offer a great way to organize your hobby tools. You can use them to store your paints, glues, and other small supplies. They come in many different sizes and styles, so you can organize your supplies just like you want.

They are also easy to clean since they are made with non-porous surfaces that don’t absorb liquids or odors. This means no more stinky glue bottles. The trays come in clear and blue/black colors, so they will look great anywhere in your home or office.

5. Large Soft Brush

Large Soft Brush

Soft brushes come in handy for washing parts in soapy water to remove grease and mold residue. They’re also useful for brushing dust off parts after sanding and before painting. When used on completed models, they can help keep them dust-free on the shelf.

Although you can also get your hands on large artistic brushes, they will cost you an arm and a leg. If you want to save some costs, go for cheap alternatives, such as cosmetic brushes.  

6. Airbrush Kits for Painting Model Kits

Airbrush Kits for Painting Model Kits

Airbrushes are the most popular tool for fine detail work and professional results. They come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. Also, they can be used to spray a variety of materials like paint, glue, sealer, or even food coloring.

Airbrushes are an essential part of any model builder’s toolbox because they allow you to add small amounts of paint or dye to specific areas without having to apply it with a brush. This is especially important if you’re working on a large-scale model where applying large amounts of paint would cause the entire surface to be covered in a thick layer of material which can ruin the details on your model.

7. Air Compressor Systems for Airbrushing Models

Air Compressor Systems for Airbrushing Models

We need an air compressor that is capable of generating enough pressure to handle the small volume of air needed to operate the airbrushes. We recommend that you purchase a moderately priced air compressor over the cheapest one you can find because inexpensive compressors are often unreliable.

8. Paint Booths for Painting Model Kits

Paint Booths for Painting Model Kits

Paint booths have become very popular with model builders, especially those who are into model building from scratch. If you are going to be painting your own models, a paint booth is a must.

There are two basic types of paint booths, homemade and commercial. Both types can be purchased in kit form or as a complete unit ready for installation. In either case, the basic function of a paint booth is to keep dust and other contaminants out of the air while you are working on your models. 

The main difference between the two types lies in the quality of construction and materials used in making them. The commercial units are usually much more expensive than their homemade counterparts, but they also offer better construction and more features, such as exhaust fans and lights inside them.

9. Circle Cutter

Circle Cutter

A circle cutter is a tool used to precisely cut out circles of plastic. It resembles a pair of compasses with a replaceable blade at the end of one arm. The circle cutter is designed to make a perfect circle out of soft materials such as plastic cards. 

Although its use may seem limited when you have to cut out a circle of plastic, modelers who do a lot of scratch-building and converting find this tool indispensable.

10. Bench Vise

Bench Vise

A simple bench vise is a clamping mechanism with jaws that open and close by way of a threaded screw mechanism. The threaded screw has two sides: one side threads into the fixed jaw, while the other side threads into the movable jaw. The teeth on both sides hold the movable jaw in place when closed and allow you to adjust its position when open.

The jaws are adjustable, so you can clamp things at different angles in relation to each other. This makes the bench vise useful for model building. 

For example, you can lock and use it to clamp a metallic model in order to file or shape it. However, when working with plastic parts, it is important to be gentle so as not to damage the part.

11. Pliers


Pliers are a good tool for model building. They are used to bend and cut sheet metal, wire, and other materials. The most common type of pliers is the diagonal pliers. Some people use them for cutting, but they aren’t designed for that purpose. Pliers come in all shapes and sizes, but there are a few basic types:

Needle-nose Pliers

This type of plier has long, thin jaws that can reach into tight spaces and grab small objects like a needle or a piece of wire. These types of pliers can also be used as tweezers when needed.

Diagonal Pliers

Also called needle-nose pliers or side cutters, this tool has long, thin jaws that are bent at right angles so they can reach into tight spaces and grab small objects like a needle or a piece of wire. These types of pliers can also be used as tweezers when needed.

Long Nose Pliers

Long nose pliers have longer jaws than regular diagonal pliers, making them ideal for reaching into tight spaces such as behind furniture to turn off an electrical outlet switch or lamp cord that’s been pulled out too far from its socket location on the wall.

When choosing pliers, look for ones with comfortable grips and spring-loaded handles that open automatically when you squeeze them with your fingers. This makes them easier to use than pliers with traditional screw-on caps on their handles.

Rather than purchasing individual pliers, modelers can often save money by purchasing a complete set.

12. Probes


Stainless steel dental probes are used for applying filler, shaping, and sculpting. The fine point can be used for scribing panel lines. They are often sold as a set but can be bought individually.

13. Spatula


A spatula is a tool used in model building to spread glue on the surfaces of a piece, spread paint or other material, or remove excess paint and glue from the surface. It is typically made of metal or plastic and has a handle with a flexible edge that can be used to apply pressure.

14. Clamps


Clamps are an essential tool for any model builder. They allow you to hold pieces together tightly while you glue, paint and assemble your model.

Clamps come in all shapes and sizes, and no matter what you’re building, there’s a clamp out there that can help you get the job done.

The first type of clamp is called a bar clamp. Bar clamps have an open frame with two handles at either end that allows you to squeeze them together to secure items in place. These are great for holding boards together during assembly or gluing projects together.

Spring clamps are another common type for model builders. These don’t have handles like bar clamps do but instead use a spring mechanism to apply pressure between two jaws at either end of the clamp. These work well for holding small pieces together while gluing them or attaching them to larger structures.

Friction clamps are great for holding parts together while they dry after being glued together with epoxy or other adhesives. These small clamps have rubber pads on each side that grip onto surfaces tightly when squeezed shut by hand (no need for handles).

15. Circle Template

Circle Template

This plastic template provides a range of diameters and has openings for marking and cutting circles in lightweight plastic. It is useful for masking wheels when painting the hubs of a model or creating detail such as holes or grilles in scale models.

Modeling has been, is, and will continue to be an essential part of the design process in virtually every discipline imaginable. Whether a marketer wants to create physical mockups of their new widget or a surgeon needs to visualize an operation before putting it into practice, models are often the best way to facilitate abstract ideas.

If you have a kid who likes to make models or if you’re on the fence about getting into building models, we hope you find this detailed guide about model building that makes it easy for you to get started!