Tools & Supplies
Discussions on the latest and greatest tools, glues, and gadgets.
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Please recommend a simple beginner's kit
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United States
Member Since: February 04, 2011
entire network: 6 Posts
KitMaker Network: 4 Posts
Posted: Tuesday, February 08, 2011 - 06:54 PM UTC


I am interested in starting on my first model soon. I have limited space right now because I am deployed, so I'd like to start with something very simple just to test the waters and see if this hobby is something I would like to pursue further.

Is there a good beginner's tool kit that you can recommend? I won't worry about painting or weathering it until I get home. I'm going to have to mail everything back to the US in a few months anyway.

I saw this on Amazon:


I figure you guys know of better options than this, however. I plan to start with either an M42 Duster or an M50 Ontos. Thanks for any info.
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Arkansas, United States
Member Since: June 29, 2009
entire network: 11,610 Posts
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Posted: Tuesday, February 08, 2011 - 11:09 PM UTC
Welcome to the addictive modelling hobby. I wish you the best of luck. I started out with the same supply kit some 20 years ago. It took me 17 years to find out that Testor's glue is just a sticky gooey mess. Took me only 12 months the get new brushes. It's fine as a beginner's kit so long as you realize that it is far from top shelf. I would recomend using toothpicks for applying the glue. Oh, and never let Testor's glue touch the paint job. It eats right through even the toughest paints.
Unfortunately, the only company that produces starter kits is Testor's.
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North Carolina, United States
Member Since: June 06, 2006
entire network: 4,691 Posts
KitMaker Network: 668 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 - 12:37 AM UTC
I would reccommend an older Tamiya armor kit,Sherman,T-34,Tiger.They are straight foward,good fitting kits,and not too expenive.You might even want to try one of their 1/48 armor kits.
Member Since: December 18, 2001
entire network: 12,596 Posts
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Posted: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 - 03:22 AM UTC
I wouldn't consider the Ontos a beginner kit. It also will not travel well; the recoilless rifles will end up in pieces. The Duster may be a better choice, but anything with smaller main guns on it will be prone to breakage in transit.

An M113, the ones by Tamiya or Academy, are relatively sturdy kits. They were originally designed to be motorized and have less breakable details. Pop the cupola off and set it inside the hull and you're good to go for shipment. M113 kits are fairly inexpensive when purchased on eBay or through sale or trade forums.

The detail set you list will have a good amount of what you need to get started.
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New Jersey, United States
Member Since: November 02, 2009
entire network: 609 Posts
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Posted: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 - 03:36 AM UTC
If you're interested in 1/35 scale, I'd say start with Tamiya's Hetzer. It's well engineered and builds up quickly because it has a straightforward suspension and no turret.
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Louisiana, United States
Member Since: March 06, 2010
entire network: 3,128 Posts
KitMaker Network: 169 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 - 04:38 AM UTC
That Tamiya Hetzer Bill mentioned is pretty nice. You could, I think, do equally well with something like the Tamiya German armored car SdKfz 222 kit- it is compact, 4 wheels are pretty easy to pull together right, and does offer the fun of a small turret and some other features.

I built one of these on deploy over in SE-Asia in '75! And it traveled OK from there to FRG (next deploy) and then home ... still have it on the shelf!

And do stay away from the Ontos... it's really cool (I rode around a little in one over in SE-A), but the kits are, well, somewhat troublesome to get right and all those barrels just sing out for to get busted in shipping!

Jump in and have some fun!

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Georgia, United States
Member Since: January 31, 2010
entire network: 2,191 Posts
KitMaker Network: 357 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 - 06:03 AM UTC
As for those tools/tool set.... here's my take.

The brushes are pretty awful. The gluing tips are useless (see below), the knife is a single blade affair. The drop mat is nice. And the sandpaper is nice.

Assuming you're getting stuff from Amazon... here's what I'd do...

knife: http://www.amazon.com/HOBBY-KNIFE-W-REPLACEMENT-BLADES/dp/B000BRS950/ref=sr_1_2?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1297274044&sr=1-2 This is just a better knife, and with different blades, isn't a bad thing to have around the house for general work. Replaceable blades gives you some flexibility

glue: http://www.amazon.com/Liquid-Cement-For-Plastics-1-15oz/dp/B0006N6ODS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1297274139&sr=1-1 this stuff travels well, and comes with a pretty decent applicator so you don't get the stuff everywhere.

sand paper: http://www.amazon.com/Sandpaper-Carded-5-Grits-Pkg/dp/B0006NDZH6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1297274192&sr=1-1 same stuff as in the 'kit', but without the other useless stuff

drop cloth: http://www.amazon.com/Hobby-Drop-Cloth-24-36/dp/B0006N6OII/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1297274176&sr=1-1 again, same as kit, without the other stuff.

Since painting and whatnot will have to wait till later, just wait to get brushes, paints, etc. If you like building it, then buy nicer stuff. If building the model makes you go nuts and you hate it, no harm no foul.

For the kits, sound sound advice above, although it's got some WWII bias, which you'll see a lot of in the hobby. More modern stuff is a smaller portion of the 'market'. Sabot's M113 recommendation is a good one. Even moreso since it's a got a nice 1 color simple color scheme. You could even just use a can of spray paint. Just do a couple of very light coats, and you can probably source something olive drab'ISH around base.

Just 'in general', the Academy and Tamiya kits go together very easily, and are good beginner kits. Keep in mind the suggestion about small pieces. Good luck.

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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Member Since: October 22, 2008
entire network: 1,280 Posts
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Posted: Wednesday, February 09, 2011 - 06:30 AM UTC
Don't start with the M42, the kit is a PITA and really shows it's age

M113 kits are nice. Academies kits are IMHO a tad better than Tamiya ones. If you want some detail the M106 mortar carrier (Tamiya) is a nice kit and all the fiddly parts are inside the hull

Revells "KaJaPa" and "Jaguar" are also nice, straight forward builds without much complexity.

Italerie has a nice Leopard 1A5 kit out that builds fine but is "borderline" for sending back due to the standof armor

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Jerusalem, Israel
Member Since: February 06, 2009
entire network: 1,507 Posts
KitMaker Network: 195 Posts
Posted: Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 04:01 AM UTC
italeri's m4a3. very easy to build, nice fit and good overall result (I started with that )
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United States
Member Since: February 04, 2011
entire network: 6 Posts
KitMaker Network: 4 Posts
Posted: Wednesday, July 06, 2011 - 10:50 AM UTC
I know this is several months old, but I finally finished my first kit, a Tamiya M41 Walker Bulldog. It's currently unpainted, and I'm going to pick up some paint in the next few days for some of the details. I really enjoyed putting this together, and look forward to bigger, better builds.
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Paris, France
Member Since: August 30, 2005
entire network: 2,315 Posts
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Posted: Wednesday, July 06, 2011 - 11:05 AM UTC
I will say the Stryker MEV. Very easy kit.
I will take you a week at 1hour per night.
If you like modern armor
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Jerusalem, Israel
Member Since: February 06, 2009
entire network: 1,507 Posts
KitMaker Network: 195 Posts
Posted: Thursday, July 07, 2011 - 12:23 AM UTC
italeri's m4a3 is pretty straight forward. easy to assemble, cheap, and gives a nice result. other kits you may like is the tamiya m48.