Partwork distributors typically supply everything needed to build the model. However, I have put together a list of items that I found that improve the overall experience. These are just suggestions, so there is no need to do it exactly this way.
These models take a long time to build, so having a good work space to assemble them is important. I created a dedicated location with a small table and then laid down craft mat. These come in many different sizes and colors, and I recommend at least 24″x36″ for most builds. The following are mats that I use for my various builds and I’ve linked the images to the site where I bought each one:
The builds come with basic tools. However, I found that these are not that great. I started out with this kit from ORIA because it includes useful tools such as tweezers, razor knife, magnetizing block, pry tools, etc.:
Another screwdriver set I picked up is fantastic, but it does not contain any of the other tools. This is the iFixIt Manta set:
Then, I finally got my hands on a set of amazing Wera Kraftworx Phillip-head screwdrivers. These things are nearly indestructible:
Each model we build is assembled using hundreds of screws. The screws are usually marked with size/type designations like AP, BP, AM, CM, etc. Sometimes, they are not marked at all, which can get tricky. Either way, keeping them all organized is extremely helpful. And, since we typically receive extra screws in every issue, you will need someplace to store them all.
For each build, I buy a cheap 36-slot organizer from Amazon but any similar product would work fine. I either use the small designation labels included with the screw bags or write the screw designation on some clear tape. These go into each compartment to keep everything tidy.
I always recommend pre-threading all of the metal holes with the correct screw before attaching things into place. This simply involves driving the intended screw into each hole and removing it before actually fastening anything together. The screws are usually made of harder metal (iron or steel) than the die-cast (zinc) parts so they should create threads in the metal. This will make the actual connection straighter, tighter, and easier to use.
However, a complete game-changer for me when it came to installing metal screws was to get some 3-in-One Multi-Purpose Oil and add a tiny bit to the tip of each metal screw (or into the hole). Using this oil, the metal screws go in much easier and will rarely bind, break, or strip.
Custom Modifications (Mods)
If you plan on modifying your model, you may want to look into some of the many mods available to us before you start building. For any models that I have modded, I include a mod section on that build site. Check out my different builds for more information!
Finally, there are a lot of other partwork builders online where you can learn more about the kits, build tips and tricks, videos, ask questions, and join discussions. These are all over YouTube, Facebook, and various forums. Don’t be a stranger, we are friendly!