Friday, 9 December 2016

Fancy Tools?....come on, guys...

A recent post on a blog I look at was going on about sanding sticks.  Now, I have seen these mentioned so often on forums, especially those where plastic kits are the main subject matter.  People sanding back new shapes from gouts of fillers, usually entirely unsuitable fillers, too.
Now come on chaps, man up a bit, eh?  Use files!  For Heaven's sake that's what they're for. Removing stuff you don't want. And the main thing is that being hard and generally flat they are completely controllable.  THEN, if you've cocked up a bit and who doesn't, sand the scratches off with a bit of wet'n'dry held in your thumb and forefinger (very controllable) or if you must be a bit finicky, stick some to a bit of styrene, cut to a shape to suit you.  It costs nothing, rather than a Fiver a pack from Albion Alloys!  If you don't want to invest in files, get some of those file shaped things with diamond dust all over them from Lidl's for a few quid a pack. They're very good on plastic as there's no pattern of toothing for the plastic to steer where you don't want it, which can happen to files, even fine ones if you're not concentrating like you should be.

And if you need to fill anything, get some Milliput in there if it's a biggish gaff.  Otherwise use a filler in a tube which is similar to cellulose putty. Perfect for all scratches.  I nicked some from Volkswagen's when I worked there in 1997 and I still use it. And please, don't use that ghastly white stuff. Yellow-Green Milli is all you'll ever need. It polishes to a glass-like finish for vac-form patterns so why do you want to pay more for the stuff that never goes off properly and chalks in your fingers?

And for plastic kits, guys, that is all you'll ever need. No fancy, pricey, trendy, forum led tosh, just good honest stuff you can either get for pennies or make yourself. The only other thing you need is a bit of acquired skill, experience (always helps) and common sense.  Not even patience. I have none whatsoever, which is why I don't torture myself with kits.


  1. My home made rubbing sticks are just wet & dry glued to various strips of wood. Very usefull for getting rid of excess solder (although the real trick is not to use too much in the first instance), de-burring the edges of brass strip, cleaning up file marks when I haven't been too carefull etc. I have bought nail files in the past but to be frank as good quality needle file is, as you say, much better. And probably cheaper in the long run as well.

  2. Well said, Paul. I have topped up my stock of high quality Swiss files (and I'm talking Genuine Stubbs and Swiss Vallorbe) by buying a handful for 50p at Sunday Markets. Nobody knows what they are these days. Their loss.

  3. I LIKE sanding sticks. Never been a huge fan of tiny swiss files as they are too narrow. If I'm filing, I want the biggest tool possible most of the time. My 6 inch long, 3/4 inch wide coarse file sees more use than any of them. Then I finish to a polish with the abrasive sticks.

    Don't get on with "knifing stopper" either, I find it shrinks and smells. Give me some Deluxe Materials filler any day although it is a bit more expensive.

    As for Milliput, it hates me and frequently doesn't seem to want to dry. That's probably because of the greif some Royal Protection officers gave an unboxed packet when they found it in the top of my toolbox a couple of hours before Princess Anne was due to visit a show years ago. Filler never forgets...

  4. Phil, that sounds like railway modellers' excuses to me. I agree that Swiss files are a bit narrow. I have a large drawer full of much bigger files, but I rarely mention their use as I know what a mess most people would make with them. On soft materials I DO use the big boys as they don't clog so easily, but I just can't be arse sticking wet'n'dry to bits of plastic sheet. I have a tube of epoxy (I think) filler which does not shrink (I would NEVER tolerate that) and doesn't smell. have to bake it and spit on your fingers a lot. No more excuses, man