What Tools Are Needed For Model Building?

Model building is the art of creating a scale model of a real object or structure. It is not only used for recreation but also for educational and training purposes, such as in-flight simulators or architectural models. The term “model building” applies to all types of models, ranging from ship models to dioramas, airplanes, and cars.

In order to make your own models, you need certain tools that will help you create a miniature replica of what you want. Here are some of them:

1. Glue


Model glue is a staple tool for most model builders. It’s used to hold pieces together, which is important because it helps keep your model from falling apart when you’re moving it around. Glue also makes a model look more realistic and professional by adding texture and depth. In addition, you can use it to add durability if you want your model to last longer than others—or if you just want to save yourself some time.

A good glue will have great adhesion between materials (i.e., plastic and metal) so that it doesn’t slide off at the first sign of trouble. The best glues will have different properties depending on the material they’re being applied to. 

2. Hot Glue Gun

Hot Glue Gun

Hot glue guns allow you to apply hot glue quickly and easily to any surface, making them ideal for use in any sort of model-building situation. Hot glue sticks also come in different sizes and temperatures so that they can be used with different materials.

3. Paint


Model acrylic paint is the most important tool for any model builder. Model paint is used to give color to the model, and it’s available in many colors, brands, and sizes.

The most common types of model paints are acrylics and enamels, but there are also other less popular types like lacquer or oil-based paints. They can be used on different materials like plastic, resin, metal, etc.

4. Sandpaper


Sandpaper is used to smooth out the surface of a model. You can also use a file for this purpose, but sandpaper is easier to work with and will produce a smoother finish than files. Sandpaper comes in various grades, ranging from rough to fine. The higher the grade, the smoother it will be on your model’s surface.

5. Hobby Knife

Hobby Knife

A hobby knife is a small, sharp blade used to cut and trim small parts in model-building. They come in different sizes and shapes, but their purpose remains the same: to cut through materials. A hobby knife can also be called an X-Acto Slice or a craft knife.

The most common types of hobby knives are made from stainless steel as this material makes them durable and long-lasting. Some models can even be resharpened when needed with the use of a sharpening stone or file.

However, there are also wooden handled versions available on the market today that provide more comfort when holding the tool while working on delicate projects such as assembling models with tiny pieces of plastic or woodwork needed for assembly (such as airplanes).

6. Wire Cutters

Wire Cutters

Wire cutters are used to cut wires into smaller pieces that can be used for electrical wiring in your model’s engine or other components. They come in different sizes and styles, so choose one that works well for you.

7. Pin Vise

Pin Vise

This tool holds small drill bits or tacks that are used to hold parts together while gluing. The pin vise can also be used as a clamp to hold parts in place during painting or weathering.

8. Sprue Cutters

Sprue Cutters

A sprue cutter is used to remove parts from a mold’s sprue, as well as to cut thin wire in small electronic work. The sprue cutter has a long handle, which you hold in one hand while you cut with the other. The blade at the end of this handle is sharpened so it can easily slice through plastic and metal molding easily.

9. Tweezers


Tweezers are a must-have for any model builder. They can be used in many ways, such as:

  • Placing small parts.
  • Holding parts while gluing.
  • Moving parts while painting.
  • Placing parts onto a surface before applying glue or paint to that surface.

10. Scissors 


Scissors are one of the most essential tools in any model builder’s arsenal. They must be sharp, precise, and strong. They should also be comfortable to hold and easy to clean; anything else is a waste of time and money.

A good quality pair of scissors will last you a lifetime – if not longer.

11. A Set of Brushes 

A Set of Brushes

A set of brushes is a must-have for any model builder. The set should include:

  • A large brush to cover large areas, such as the body of the car or airplane.
  • A medium brush for fine details. This could be used for painting windows and headlights on your model car or for weathering on your plane’s wings.
  • A small brush can be used on tiny pieces such as wheels and tires on a car model or propellers and other hardware on an airplane model.
  • A detail brush which can be used to paint smaller details like door handles and windshield wipers. Natural bristles are recommended as they hold their shape better than synthetic ones when cleaning them after use (which you will be doing often!)

Note: Make sure to keep all your brushes clean and dry to prevent mold from forming inside each bristle’s center hole over time—this will make them last longer.

12. Masking Tape

Masking Tape

Masking tape is an essential tool for model builders. It can be used to hold parts together while they’re drying or to make patterns and templates. It can also be used as a mold-making material by covering it with clay that is then baked. Tape is one of the most versatile tools in any model maker’s toolbox.

13. Cutting Mat

Cutting Mat

A cutting mat is a must-have for model building. The cutting mat can be used to cut, drill and paint your model. It is an excellent investment and a good tool to have in your model builder’s toolbox. A good quality cutting mat will last a long time and serve you well during all phases of construction, painting, and weathering. 

You can use it not only on models but also as a cutting surface for paper projects such as scrapbooking or mosaics (as long as you don’t use any glues that would stick).

14. Clamps


Clamps provide a way to hold your model together while it’s being worked on. They come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s sure to be one that will suit whatever type of project you’re working on.


The tools you need to be a great model builder depend on what you want to build. If you’re building models for fun, then any old tools will do. But if you are trying to make it as a professional model builder, the right tools will help you get there faster and easier than those who aren’t using them. 

If you are a beginner in model train kit building, you can read the Beginner’s Complete Guide to Model Trains, which will tell you everything you need to know about model trains and specific kits that are suitable for those that are new to the hobby.