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"What is the strangest item you find indespensible?" Topic

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Action Log

11 Nov 2015 12:23 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board
  • Crossposted to Tools of the Hobby board

1,155 hits since 11 Jun 2015
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 8:42 a.m. PST

One item I find very useful is Electrician's tape. The stretchy vinyl type.
Lately, almost all of my 28mm figures go on steel washers. They are cheap, for one thing. For another the punched out center gives a nice bond and "key" to hold the figure.
I glue the foot figures to the washer with 5-minute epoxy glue.
But what about the glue oozing out the bottom, and sticking to whatever work surface you have? You then have a lonpy bottom to the base as well.

Easy solution. Take your washers, and stick them to the tape, rough side up, stretching it slightly. Smoosh the bottom of the figure in the glue, and plop it on the washer. When the glue sets, simply peel the tape off the washer. Flat bottom!

What odd things do you find necessary and or useful?
Everybody uses toothpicks but some may find electrician's tape odd.

nazrat11 Jun 2015 9:07 a.m. PST

I have a pair of hemostats a friend gave me back in my college days for… um, illicit use, shall we say. I still have them right beside my work area and use them to take bits of hair and detritus off of figures and to hold small pieces on models while glue dries.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 9:09 a.m. PST

I think the statute of limitations has expired…

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 9:11 a.m. PST

I have found beer cartons useful, the kind that cans come in.
When you open them up flat, they make excellent masking material for when I spray prime or Dullcote figures.

They are also great tu use on top of a table for messy assembly or painting. Very useful to wipe off paint while dry brushing.

Tear off a flap, and it's great to mix epoxy on.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 9:11 a.m. PST

I have a cast of the left side of my mouth that the dentist made to create the cap to cover my root canal. I have no idea what it is made of, but it is a perfect vise for all kinds of work (aided by a couple of rubber bands) as the miracle material doesn't stick to anything … glue, paint, tape, etc. My original intent in asking for it from the toothmaster was to bury it in a hill as a set of giant teeth. No way I would give it up now!

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 9:12 a.m. PST

I think we have a winner.

whitphoto Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 9:17 a.m. PST

Can't beat that one…

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 9:18 a.m. PST

1. Old Dannon yogurt lids make for great disposable pallettes. I don't know if they still even make them.

2. Plastic shopping bags. I prime/seal a dozen miniatures at a time on thin strips of plexiglass. I wear the plastic bag to hold it to prevent getting spray on my fingers and arm. I've used the same one for years and years. It's about double the size of a Wal-Mart bag but even that'd do in a pinch.

Timmo uk11 Jun 2015 9:55 a.m. PST

I have a stainless steel tooI that I think came from a chemistry lab. A small flat spatula at one end and a 'powder ladle' at the other. Endless uses. I've had it about 20 or so years.

Zargon Inactive Member11 Jun 2015 10:04 a.m. PST

My acerbic humour :) cause when things go wrong I don't bust a valve like I used to when I was younger :) actually my most cherished tool is a cast off dental tool in pure stainless steel, I've used this tool for sculpting poking holes scraping and really all the hard gouging needed, its as good as the day I got it.
Cheers happy making and painting

Skrapwelder Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 10:13 a.m. PST

Yea, I think etotheipi takes the prize. I have a plaster casting of my head but it serves even less good purpose than the original.

ordinarybass Inactive Member11 Jun 2015 10:21 a.m. PST

I can't really compete with a dental cast but mine is:

A piece of sandpaper on a clipboard.

The ultimate tool for making anything flat and even or quickly sanding off edges from anything. Also amazing for smoothing the nubs off of large plastic terrain kits. It's indispensable for minis and terrain.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 10:42 a.m. PST

I have a 100 pound baby anvil. It's a bit overkill, but for wargaming, I use it for cold-forging brass wire spear tips!

And we haven't had any trouble with coyotes around these parts either ^,^

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 10:43 a.m. PST

As a poll, won't all of the strangest items get a single vote?

Does anything with more than 1 vote lose?

Or do we vote on other people's strangitées?

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 11:06 a.m. PST

Ethoptheipi get my vote!

Nothing I have done in painting/gaming beats that

Mako11 Inactive Member11 Jun 2015 11:15 a.m. PST

Not sure it qualifies as strange, but I glue strips of sandpaper, cut to size, to those free paint mixing sticks you get sometimes, and then use those for sanding models.

Works well, when you need a nice, flat, but portable sanding surface.

I use plain old white glue for attaching the sandpaper to the wood, and let it sit overnight to securely bond, before use.

The Beast Rampant11 Jun 2015 11:20 a.m. PST

have a 100 pound baby anvil. It's a bit overkill, but for wargaming, I use it for cold-forging brass wire spear tips!

I have always wanted one of those for such purposes!

I have a full set of dissection tools left over from college. All of it went into my hobby kit after, and serves me still. The dissection probes must be made of mithril; I have abused them terribly, and they are still sharp. I use one to stretch open holes in fists to accommodate wire weapons thicker than the original cast-on weapons. Also, to unclog Zap-a-Gap & Vallejo bottles.

I mount most minis on Target "fizzy water" (what I call them, I forget what they are supposed to be called) 20oz bottle lids. The tops are perfectly flat, and have a finely stippled surface, making it easy to pop glued-on minis off when I'm done with them. Coke/Pepsi product lids are slightly domed, and have print that makes them much harder to remove afterward. Alas, I think they are going to the "short lids" everybody else has switched to, to cut down on plastic.

I could never top the tooth thing.

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 11:25 a.m. PST

Poland Springs water bottle cartons. The 32 or 36 bottle ones. I have dozens of these filled with various projects that "I'm getting around to".

Perfect for figures waiting to be based.

GarrisonMiniatures Inactive Member11 Jun 2015 12:29 p.m. PST

I use polythene storage boxes for just about everthing. A4 size, being polythene paint doesn't stick, so figures in the tray for spraying. They get used to hold things I'm gluing together like ship's masts – sellotape the wooden spars down, lay the mast over the top, glue, any glue overspills on the box doesn't stick, remove sellotape, voila, mast. A4 boxes hold most of my figures, both painted and unpainted. Plus practically everything else that fits…

And the business card size that will fit in the boxes… holds water for cleaning brushes, used as paint palette, stores unpainted figures… they even, when my mother visits, get used by her to keep her false teeth in overnight…

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member11 Jun 2015 12:52 p.m. PST

my collection of "French" postcards.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 1:07 p.m. PST

I use make up brushes to dust my figures. They are very soft bristles and my wife always has a surplus of them available.
The big fat Kabuki brush is the best.
I use cookie sheets covered with aluminum foil to hold painted items that are drying, or as a surface for resin casting. Spilled resin does not flow past the edge of the cookie sheet.
My wife says when she gets a crown and root canal I can have her mouth casting. I can hardly wait.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Weasel11 Jun 2015 1:46 p.m. PST

Clicky mechanical pencils. They just feel reassuring to me and I prefer to take notes on paper.

Yesthatphil Inactive Member11 Jun 2015 1:51 p.m. PST

Nail clippers – very good for 'nipping' brass rod, small parts on figures, plastic from sprues etc. Indespensible.


John Treadaway Inactive Member11 Jun 2015 2:53 p.m. PST

A Leatherman Charge Multi-tool.

I've used the inbuilt tiny scissors to cut decals and even etched brass; the file (and even the saw) to attack models bases (and even other areas like moulding lugs on resin); the cutters for wire and so forth; the pliers to hold stuff too small for my fat fingers that I'm trying to glue or putting bends in brass rod and the knife blade to… well to cut stuff. Obviously…

And – as I have it with me pretty much always – I don't have to stop what I'm doing and go and find the right tool (about 50% of the time).

Superb piece of kit.

John T

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2015 4:31 p.m. PST

Nothing as strange as a dental cast, but
Spring clothes pins to hold figures when painting
Bottled water tops for holding and mixing paint
Section of train rail to use as anvil like MiniMo, weighs a lot less
Hypodermic needles from some treatment I had to pin point place glue

wrgmr111 Jun 2015 4:41 p.m. PST

Yes, Ethoptheipi for the win.

I use old plastic take out Sushi trays for figures I'm painting and on deck for painting. They keep dust off and have a clear plastic top for easy view.

Karellian Knight12 Jun 2015 5:09 a.m. PST

I always use Pringles lids for mixing paint in.

But I agree the Ethoptheipi for the win.

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP12 Jun 2015 5:27 a.m. PST

I use a bulb syringe (the kind you use on infants) to add water to my palette.

Kelly Armstrong Inactive Member12 Jun 2015 6:54 a.m. PST

A little tool I fashioned is for holding steel bases It is a wooden clothespin with a magnet glued between the pinchers and a little below flush with the end. It holds steel bases firmly and since the magnet is not actually touching the steel base, it is easy to remove the glued/flocked base without leaving finger impressions and allows me to paint figures already fixed to a based.

Aidan Campbell Inactive Member12 Jun 2015 7:02 a.m. PST

I don't know how these compare to a dental cast as a tool but I do a lot of traditional craft work including bone carving and have carved myself a burnisher from a section of polished camels shin bone which I use when sculpting miniatures…

Perhaps not as odd but in a similar line I collect the waste powdered antler dust from carving to re-use as a polishing compound. I've a pot of locksmiths dry lubricant I use for weathering model vehicles, and recently purchased a bag of mica dust from a cosmetics manufacturer to use for other effects/finishes on a miniatures project.

Martin Rapier12 Jun 2015 8:22 a.m. PST

Again, can't beat a dental cast, but I use all sorts of junk.

An old flan dish full of sand baked in the oven for basing.

My piece of 'spraying cardboard' which lives in the garage and I would be lost without.

A metal tray which is my mobile work table.

The tweezers from my Swiss Army knife.

An old pair of hairdressers scissors.

I also have a bulb syringe for pipette levels of water adding precision.

Personal logo enfant perdus Supporting Member of TMP12 Jun 2015 9:32 a.m. PST

Isn't it impressive how precise it can be?

Honestly, the thing I'd be utterly lost without is my kitchen timer. I typically set it for 45 minutes, and it gives me warning beeps at 10 and 5 minutes before the alarm, so I can prepare a stopping point.

Getting up to stretch, walk around, and rest the eyes every 45 minutes has saved me a lot of pain over the years.

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