I’m a tool freak. If someone mentions a tool in passing, I have to buy it — even if I don’t currently have a purpose for it.
But if I have to be honest about it, there are only two tools that are absolutely, positively required for me to do 1/144 scale.
Tool: Magnifying Visor
Uses: Sometimes (okay, often) working in 1/144 seems like trying to detail a spec of dust. Without magnification this is a seemingly impossible task.
I use a “magnifying visor” and I admit that when I started wearing one, it gave me a headache. The focal point is small and switching back and forth between “up close” and “reaching for something” (such as a paint brush) was wearisome.
But after a few days, I was 100% comfortable with the visor and now I don’t do ANY small work (even larger scales) without it (and no more headaches).
Just be aware that one day you will flip up the lens, forget you are wearing it, and answer the front door with this contraption on your head. And you’ll wonder why the mail delivery person is giving you an odd look as she backs away from you.
Cost: $17 – $35 (dependent on brand)
Source: I picked mine up at a local hobby store and there are a number of online vendors that sell them.
Uses: Picking up and holding teeny tiny stuff. I have both really cheap tweezers and expensive tweezers — and I use them all with frequency. If I’m holding a piece that is to be painted or glued, I use the cheap tweezers. In the first picture to the left, the cheap tweezers are on top — notice how blunt and clunky the tips look in comparison to the expensive tweezers.
But if I need to pick up and place a 1/2mm no-hole bead, it’s the expensive tweezers all the way. In the second picture, I’m chasing a 1/2mm no-hold bead around a plate, I tried VERY hard to pick it up, to no avail. But in the third picture, I easily pick up an even smaller no-hole bead on the first try — with the expensive tweezers.
Cost: the cheapies cost anywhere from under $1.00 to $5.00 or $6.00. The expensive ones start around $20.
Source: The inexpensive tweezers can be found in just about any pharmacy or grocery store. The finer tweezers (for delicate work) are harder to track down. I purchased mine from a jeweler’s supply store.