(Been a couple of weeks since the last blog. Apologies - real life very rudely intruded. I do now consider myself an expert on rodent catch-and-release though...)
When I first started mucking about with toy soldiers and everything was metal, I used files. This was ok but normally became obvious when washing or drybrushing - you either create a textured surface on a smooth surface or flatten supposedly curved / detailed surfaces. Grr.
I moved on to using a craft knife with the advent of plastic. This was a step forward; the blade is far higher up the Mohs scale than the plastic, so it whittles down real easy. But then you angle the blade to high for a fraction of a second, next thing you know you've carved the model like a Christmas turkey. Grr.
Step forward the Citadel Clean-up kit! Picked mine up a while ago but hadn't really given it a proper go until my current project.
|In prison, it's a styling brush for when your cellmate is braiding your hair, and a shiv for when he tries to take it 'to the next level'.|
Wow. I'm aware that the internet contains a significant anti-GW bias and part of me was wondering whether or not this would fall into the category of buyer's remorse. It definitely doesn't. The flash brush is nice and it's always handy to have something to scrub models down with to get rid of particulates before undercoating, but the scraping tool is possibly the single best hobby tool purchase I've ever made.
Why? Well for one, it isn't a blade - so even a significant lapse in concentration isn't going to result in losing extremities. It's a much harder metal and is quite at home on plastic and resin - even Privateer Press' weird quasi-plastic. Good on metal too, but not as fast as (surprise) metal is tougher to scrape!
It's also quite a large scraping surface; ranging from completely flat to both convex and concave curves, you can deal with most things with it. It produces completely smooth results on curved surfaces too, as well as handling more detailed parts of the model. It's not a one-stop solution though; you may still need the fine point of a craft knife to reach places it can't.
In terms of usage it's fairly straight forward, although slight differences may take a little getting used to.
You want to hold it so that the upper face of the scraper is perpendicular to the surface, as opposed to the normal acute angle for knives. You should also work toward the mould line, not over it. The tool will happily find its' own level and grind down the raised edge in no time. I would have loved to provide some photo examples with this but at this stage my photography skills and setup wouldn't produce photos that could display any difference.
(The brush is also dead handy here as, instead of producing swarf, the scraper just produces dust.)
Overall, the best thing I can say is that the preparation time for my minis using this tool set has dropped significantly. Like, by half. With better end results. I could have lived without it, sure - but now, when I pick up my station to grab a few minutes' hobby when I can, I feel less instantly bored and more...
Until next time!