Part Holders for Painting
Now that I am painting models with an airbrush in addition to my normal brush-painted miniatures I am taking the opportunity to put into practice some of the tools and techniques that I have learned about over the years.
For example, I have long seen modelers with a forest of parts mounted on bamboo skewers for painting. I always thought that this was a good idea but I never actually put it into practice; until now.
These tools are actually very simple to make. I picked up small alligator clips at a local home improvement store and crimped them to the ends of bamboo skewers. I had to decide between small clip and large clips. The large clips looked much too large for my needs so I chose the small ones. Consequentially I had to reduce the size of my bamboo skewers in order to get a good grip. I carefully whittled the ends of the skewers with a hobby knife trying to keep a round cross-section as I did so. If I had split the skewer to halve its diameter the split would want to continue down the length of the skewer. By shaving the end it is less likely that this will happen. I also wrapped the ends in electrical tape for the same reason.
For a base I took some thick chunks of cardboard I had set aside from my last flat-pack furniture assembly. I am a recovering pack-rat so I try to avoid hording garbage “just in case” like I used to. Since I already had this project in mind while I was building the furniture I was able to keep the cardboard without risking a relapse. I layered the cardboard and used electrical tape to wrap it. I might have gone overboard but then every time I’ve done electrical work in my house I’ve bought a fresh roll of tape “in case.” Since I can’t take it with me when I’m dead I decided I might as well use it.
Finally I used a hammer and nail to punch holes in my cardboard brick. I didn’t want to go all the way through so I used more electrical tape to make a depth gauge on the nail. I was thinking of making regular holes packed tightly together but I realized that the parts on the skewers would need room so I ended up leaving large gaps. If I need more holes I could always add them later; no point spending an afternoon pounding holes in cardboard.
In the image you can see parts for an Airfix 1/48 Supermarine Spitfire PR.XIX. Some of the parts will need a little bit of putty work before painting but I wanted to see how well the little clips worked. If necessary I can always make larger clips.
Do you have a set of part holders like these? How do you handle parts that you can’t get a good grip on. Leave a comment below or look for me on Google+ or Twitter. Don’t forget to subscribe if you’re curious about how I get on with the Spitfire.