Tool roundup – Part two

Continuing on from last week. Here are some more tools that I’ve recently acquired or made.

Paint holders

I like to make tools to solve simple problems and a recent example was a paint holder. I’ve been constantly knocking over jars of paint on my works surface and so one day I decided to do something about it. I had these hole saw drill bits lying around so I used my press drill to cut holes in some pieces of wood and then stuck them on a base. After staining the wood I had two very nice paint holders.

Hole saws – the small one is 1 1/4″ and the larger is 1 5/8″ diameter.
After drilling holes I glued them to a base.
Nearly all my paints fit very nicely – all except the Vallejo paints which need a smaller hole. At some point I’ll purchase a smaller saw bit and make a special holder for those paints.

Grass and vegetation testers

A while ago I discussed how I made scenery scratch pads. They’ve been very useful for quick tests on the go while I’m buried deep in a project. However I realized that I also needed a more permanent record of a certain effect that I could refer to in say, six months time. There can be long periods in between types of projects such as landscaping and I forget quite a bit during that time. I wanted to figure out a way to not only test vegetation ideas but also have a permanent record of them with notes that I could refer to in the future.

The scratch pads have saved me from experimenting on the diorama but I’ll forget the process/order of the effect in six months time.

I decided to create ‘scenic testers’. I purchased a bunch of mason jar lids from Amazon for around $7 for around 12 lids. I filled them with ‘goop’ – the same soil layer that I used on the scratch pads and let them dry for a few days.

Mason jar lids. These are made of tin. Plastic ones are even cheaper.

Now I’m able to put together tests of grass and vegetation. These are permanent records of a method and by keeping notes on the back I can refer back to them in six months time – long after I would have forgotten the ingredients and steps to make each one.

Grass tests have notes underneath of the various ingredients that created the effect. The notes refer to the make of grass, the color and the length.
If in the future should I wish to discard the tester I can just pop out the dry soil and either turn it over or add in some new soil.
I have a bunch of testers ready and waiting.

Glass work surfaces

I found that for accurate work while scratchbuilding I needed perfectly flat surfaces. I had these two glass work surfaces made for me by my local glass makers. They have polished and beveled edges and are very sturdy (and heavy). I added little pads beneath them to help them grip the table. They sometimes need a good clean but I usually clean them just before starting a new project.

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