green cutting mat with modelling knife

Tools and Materials

Check out some of my recommended tools and materials for building miniatures that I have personally purchased and am using:

I bought the Elegoo Mars 3 3D Resin Printer as it was at the time a great beginner printer. Easy to use and reliable.

However Elegoo came out with the Mars 4 which is a better printer for about the same price so I’m linking that one here.

The USB port and power button are conveniently located on the front for easy access.

I started off using water washable resin and so far it’s been great not having to use flammable isopropyl alcohol for washing my resin prints. The smell is supposedly also better, although I still use a respirator and other safety equipment (see the Safety tab above for what I recommend).

Keep in mind however this does NOT mean you can rinse off prints under running water in your sink. The residue from washing is still toxic and must be properly disposed off. Letting the water evaporate and then cure and dispose of the solids as per municipal guidelines.

FEP sheets that serve as the bottom of your resin vat in a 3D resin printer are consumable items. You will need to replace your FEP occasionally if it’s starting to get worn out.

This set of 5 will last you a while, especially if you take good care of your FEP. For the same Mars 4 printer linked to above

After printing and cleaning your 3D resin printed miniatures you will need to cure them.

You can do this in sunlight but you’re then dependent on the weather and curing only during the daylight hours.

This UV curing lamp works well and has a bracket for convenient mounting.

Check out my video here of how I built a simple curing box using this lamp.

A flexible build plate for your 3D resin printer is almost a must! It makes removing prints so much easier with less chance of damage.

The magnetic sheet is glued to your printer’s build plate with a strong 3M adhesive and then the spring steel build plate attaches magnetically, easy to remove and then flex to get your prints off without much struggle.

For the same Mars 4 printer linked to above.

If you do lighting for your models or DCC on your model railroad, you’ll need a good soldering iron.

This one has a handy stand with a holder, tip cleaner, various tips, a spool of solder, a desoldering tool and an easy to use temperature control knob so you can dial in the perfect temperature.

Before you paint, you’ll need to mask. These Tamiya masking tapes are the best! With very cleanly cut edges so you don’t get a fuzzy paint line and multiple widths, this set will handle most of your masking jobs.

While you can spend lots of money on high quality paintbrushes and painstakingly keep them clean after every use, these paintbrushes are cheap enough that you can replace them if they get worn out or you forget to clean them!

A great assortment for any type of detail painting.

An airbrush and compressor is a larger investment, but the quality of your miniature and model painting will be so much improved! It can also save you time and you can custom-mix colours that you normally can’t get in spray cans.

This combo is great, with two airbrushes (although I tend to only use the side-cup one) and a relatively quiet compressor.

If you have an airbrush, you need these! This makes detaching your airbrush for cleaning and storing much easier.

Plus if you use multiple airbrushes you can switch them out easily without having to turn off your air compressor.

Vallejo paints are highly pigmented so a little goes a long way. You can thin them for spraying through an airbrush or just apply some detail paint with a paintbrush.

This set covers many of the earth tones you will need for scenery and weathering of structures and vehicles to make them blend into their surroundings.

A good facemask that protects your lungs is super important, especially if you have a 3D resin printer, work with enamels or lacquers or use smelly glues.

It may sometimes be a pain to wear, but your health is more important. Make sure to also buy the appropriate cartridges depending on what you need protection from.

Getting the proper cartridges for your facemask is critical to having the facemask actually protect you from harmful vapours from 3D printing resin, paints and glues.

This cartridge protects you from many of the hobby related fumes. Be sure however to check what you need protection from and then buy the appropriate cartridges.

And be sure to replace the cartridges regularly!

If you’re handling 3D printing resin, you need to protect your hands. All resins (including water washable and plant based ones) can irritate the skin and you can become sensitive to resin over time.

These gloves are not disposable so can be cleaned and used for many years if taken care of. They are easier to slip on and off as they are lined.

They are also useful if your painting with solvent-based paints.

Frequently changing out your hobby blades for fresh new ones is key for cleaner cuts and safety.

This bulk pack will last you a while and each blade is just pennies so you won’t hesitate to change out your blade.

Often you will need to drill very tiny holes with precision. A pin vise with a good assortment of drill bits is the best way to do this and have full control.

This set has a very ergonomic pin rise with a set of drill bits to get you started. The pin vise will also hold larger drill bits than what is supplied.

A good sharp, fine-toothed razor saw will help you get through the thicker styrene and scale lumber that a hobby knife can’t manage.

This set comes with a mitre box too for more accurate square and angled cuts.