Here's where things get really interesting, because we get to break the mould a little bit and cast our gaze far and wide. The tools that we use in this hobby are varied, so rather than simply saying "visit an X store" we're instead going to be looking at them on an individual basis.
Generally speaking though, modelling tools are a fantastic way for companies to make money through the hobby tax we discussed before, particularly for those new to the hobby. So, let's start saving money on…
There are three kinds of glue you're going to come across when working with Warhammer models:
POLYSTYRENE CEMENT ('PLASTIC GLUE')
The first is polystyrene cement or 'plastic glue', for which I'm going to recommend you read my topic here: The best plastic glue for Warhammer models
Poly cement is the only kind of glue you should be using to stick plastic components to other plastic components. Read the guide above and you'll see which particular brand to use, and why anybody that tells you otherwise is a liar!
The second is super glue. Super glue (cyanoacrylate, to give it its proper name, also known as CA glue) gets sold under many different labels that incur a price-rise (including as 'nail glue' for fake nails), but for the most part it's all the same stuff.
Some people like a more gel consistency, though this often has problems with drying inside the tube or applicator tip. To prevent this many hobbyists like to buy very small tubes so that they can ensure they finish it during their project build before it has time to dry up. If they don't quite finish it then the tubes are small enough that only a tiny bit is wasted.
Others prefer a thinner consistency that they can brush on, as it's easier to control and you're less likely to get excess glue spilling everywhere when you press pieces together. The key here is to find a brand with a precise brush, rather than one that's all splayed out.
When it comes to super glue you're looking for a combination of size or applicator plus price. Brands don't really matter as the chemicals are all pretty much the same. Just find what you like (searching online can help here) and stick with it, if you'll pardon the pun!
BASING GLUE (PVA)
Basing glues (usually PVA, though not always) are our third hobby tax opportunity here.
There are actually many kinds of PVA glue for different tasks, some with varying strengths, but all you really need to look for is 'strong' or 'industrial strength' PVA - cheaper brands are often very watery and weak, and hobby brands are often very expensive! If you're able to save money in the long run by buying a larger quantity for a lower price/volume then you can also take this opportunity.
Some people prefer polyurethane glues for their basing, but if I'm being completely honest this isn't an area that I'm particularly familiar with. If you are and want to help out with the guide, feel free to let me know in a reply!
Our requirements for hobby blades (and the handles that hold them) are quite simple: we need them to be sharp, we need them to be precise, and because of the guide you’re reading we need them to be affordable. High quality but cheap, in short.
If you wish you can look at the various offerings from the likes of The Army Painter, X-Acto and plenty of other brands (notably, Citadel don’t currently seem to trust people with sharp objects!), or you can save yourself a little money.
There’s another type of person who needs a knife that is reliably sharp, precise and inexpensive: surgeons. It might sound crazy, but surgical handles and blades are readily available and surprisingly cheap. A Swann Morton #3 handle (my preferred choice) will cost you £3-4 on eBay or Amazon, and a pack of 100 #11 blades (again, these are my go-to) will cost you less than £15 - the more you buy at a time the cheaper each individual blade becomes, but even in smaller amounts you can stay around the 15p/blade mark.
Surgical tools are everything we need: very high quality and very low cost. They’re also flat-handled, so the odds of it rolling off the table and stabbing you in the foot are very low!
It’s worth noting however that they do not come with a blade protector - I either remove my blade or keep it in its own compartment in a box when I pack my things away. Swann Morton do also offer a retractable handle so that you can store the blade safely when it's not in use, however these are a little more expensive than the regular handle.
Whether you call them clippers, snippers or sprue cutters these are something that's actually worth saving up to spend money on.
To begin with, using a hobby-brand set of almost any variety is fine, so long as you keep your cuts a very short distance from the model part itself and clean up with a blade afterwards. Most brands (like Citadel and The Army Painter) will sell you a set that aren't awful, but aren't great, at a price that won't make your eyes water too much. By the time these clippers start to lose their edge, however, you want to look at upgrading to something of higher quality.
Tamiya's 74123 Sharp Pointed Side Cutter and the DSPIAE ST-A Single Blade Nipper both come very highly rated, but at a cost of £40-50. This might seem like an insanely expensive investment, but the incredible quality of cut provided and near-infinite lifespan (when used properly - don't use these to cut up thick sprues!) make it a worthwhile one.
For the most part hobby files are a rip-off. The Citadel file set comes with two cheap files and retails for £13. The Army Painter file set comes with 3 medium-quality files and costs approximately £6.75 (after EURO - GPB conversion, at the time of writing). A six-piece set of needle files from B&Q (UK hardware store) costs £7.33
All of these sets have the same problems, in that they are difficult to get into tight spaces and you are limited in how smooth or coarse a finish they will produce.
What would I recommend as a replacement? Probably nothing! When working with plastic (and on a small scale, resin) there are very few jobs that can't be done with a blade and maybe a little extra thin cement to smooth over any imperfections. If you're desperate to have a replacement tool, however, just buy high-grit (1200+) sandpaper - it's cheap, it lasts ages and you can easily fold it into tight details. Want to spend more money? Flex-i-files are sandpaper glued to foam and cost about £3 each. My advice is to stick to the knife and extra-thin cement!
Remarkably this is an area where hobby brands don't seem to charge the earth! The Army Painter's cutting mat (~£7.50, 220x300mm / 8.7x11.8") is about the same price you'll find generic self-healing mats for on Amazon, eBay or elsewhere.
My advice here is to buy by size, rather than brand. I prefer a slightly larger mat (A3, which is 297x420mm / 11.7x16.5") which was around the same price, while A4 mats (approximately the same size as offered by The Army Painter) can cost £5-10.
GREEN STUFF/MODELLING PUTTY *
Green Stuff (or Kneadatite, to give its proper name) is a two-part epoxy modelling putty used in conversions for sculpting, amongst other things, and for many is the go-to substance for hobby uses. Prices vary from supplier to supplier but are never particularly cheap, and many will try to hide the cost by giving you a price based on the distance of the unmixed strip, rather than total weight. If you really want to use it try to find a brand that packages the green and blue sections individually - when supplied as a connected strip the middle section where blue and yellow meet has to be cut away, as the putty will have started to react before you've even opened it.
An alternative to Kneadatite is Milliput, which is another two-part epoxy substance you can use for sculpting. The Standard yellow-grey and Superfine white varieties are both inexpensive (generally and compared to Kneadatite) and can be used for our needs. They dry harder than Kneadatite does (hard enough to sand it!), the superfine can be used for incredibly delicate detail work, and if you mix it with isopropyl alcohol (which you'll have to hand if you've read my guide on stripping miniatures
) then you can create a 'paste' that's fantastic for filling small gaps left during construction.
Again this is an area where Citadel in particular actually don't overcharge you! Their standard handles are £7, which is in line with or less than most of their competitors.
My personal favourite for a painting handle that fits models of all base sizes (or cork, for those who like to paint off-base) is Garfy's Get A Grip
Another viable (and cheaper) alternative is to stick bluetack (or double-sided tape etc) to old paint pots, wine corks or anything else you can comfortably hold.
Okay, here's where I anger half the readers - the Citadel Mouldline Remover is a waste of £11!
The Citadel mouldline remover is a scraping tool that's too chunky to fit into the small gaps you're likely to find on many models. Other tools that can do the job just as well or better include:
The sharp side of a blade.
The other side of a blade.
The other end
of a blade.
An offcut of sprue (probably)
Your teeth (probably not)
When it comes to stripping models you'll find suggestions for products that include kitchen degreasing agents and cleaning sprays, brake fluid, ultrasonic baths and various cleaners designed for hobbyists.
Some of these will work, some probably rather well. Some of these are expensive, and some are simply dangerous.
My advice would be to read my simple guide to stripping plastic & metal
. The chemicals it recommends are cheap, effective and reusable.