regard to our
Berlin vehicle project, we have received a number of emails
about the 'professional tools' we use. "If I had professional tools like you my
miniature models would look much better." and "Unlike you, I haven't got any
professional tools - Stanley knife, scissors, drill etc. have to do the job", to
quote just two of our readers.
We have been doing miniature modelling since 1980, but have we really ever had 'professional tools'? We used the DREMEL and its accessories (they were Christmas presents!) for the first time for making a model of the Berlin-based overhead wiring maintenance vehicle. And it was only then that the little toolmakers vice appeared on our workbench to secure especially small parts during cutting and drilling jobs. But do you really need these things? And when would you call tools 'professional' at all?
Well, while we believe that you can make decent models with very basic tools,
especially professional modellers would hardly want to do their job without
those little machines and devices as they make miniature modelling so much
easier and can save you a lot of time. (And in terms of business, time is
money...) If, for example, you want to remove a big chunk of excess plastic you
can undoubtedly do that manually with a file - or you can use a machine tool
like e.g. the DREMEL which can be equipped with cutting discs, attachments for
milling etc. These
will save you a considerable amount of time as well as physical effort.
remember that protective eyewear (safety goggles) is an absolute must to prevent
your eyes from being hit by high-speed plastic particles...
Unfortunately, it can easily happen that you remove more material than you actually intended to when working with one of those power tools. Therefore, you might want to use the good old file for the final touches instead.
In some cases, for example when lathing is required (see our photo on the left), we cannot see a realistic alternative to the use of special tools - even if you are 'just' a passionate hobbyist rather than a professional modellmaker trying to make a financial profit from your work.
To summarise all that: While we would not call our tools 'professional', we
cannot deny that some of them are very useful devices, and normally they help saving
miniature modellers a lot
of time and physical effort. From our own experience we can confirm that similar
results are achievable with traditional (manual) tools like Stanley knife, file,
jigsaw etc., but this can take considerably longer.
There is, of course, one thing we can't wait for: To be able to design and create accessories and bespoke miniature parts in our own modelling room, using a computer and a 3D printer. These creative devices need just a little more improvement and perfecting regarding user friendliness and quality of their print results (while acquisition and operating costs need to continue falling...). Surely that is just a matter of time.