Good Model Prep - Needle Files
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Thread: Good Model Prep - Needle Files

  1. #1

    Default Good Model Prep - Needle Files

    Hi All

    I've noticed a lot of people Buying and playing games like Arcadia Quest, Zombicide, Rum & Bones etc. have often never painted a mini before, but due to the high quality of the awesome mini's in these games decide to give it a shot, which is great, but also they often don't really know what they are doing. Well I've been painting mini's for about 15 years and while I'm no Elizabeth Beckley I've picked up a few things over the years and today I'd like to talk about preparing your models, and the importance of quality Needle Files.

    So, before painting models often need a little bit of preparation, they often come with mold lines, small ridges of plastic left where the sections of the molds meet. Sadly rather than being covered by the painting process they become highlighted and very visible severely detracting from the final result, so they are definitely best removed.

    Now if bad enough they may first need some work using something like a scalpel, or specialist removal tool, but I rarely come across such bad mold lines these days. so onto the topic at hand, Needle files, the tool every mini painter should have. Needle files are small, fine files that have been made for centuries often used by Jewelers or Carpenters for very fine detail work, and perfect for hobbyists.

    Now most hobby stores sell needle files, and they are often really cheap too, but sadly you do get what you pay for here. In my experience needle files sold in hobby stores are often bent at the tip, rust really quickly, and worst of all the files surface often has small burrs on it that can absolutely ruin a plastic mini.

    So, what to do? Well as stated above, needle files have been used by Jewelers for centuries, and they demand the finest quality tools. Look for a Jewelers Supply store, your best bet is obviously to look online, and I guarantee they will sell quality needle files. But with a range of files upwards of 100 different shapes and cuts what do you get?

    Well to start, for plastic minis, avoid anything below a cut of 3 (Swiss cut), and in fact the best results will come from the finer cuts (4-6); while the 3 is great for some bulk removal, it doesn't leave the finest finish. As for shape, most shapes available come in useful at some point, but if I had to be restricted to 2 files I'd start with a half round (cut 3) and round (cut 4). The half round becomes a great bulk removal tool, offering both a flat and curved surface it is very versatile and does a great job on most surfaces. The round offers a finer grain for really smooth results and with it's almost needle fine point can often get into the few places the half round can't.

    Now with tools in hand the techniques for using the files are varied and you will quickly work out whats best and most comfortable for you, but the two most common techniques I use are a circular motion, moving the file in tight small circles as I move up the mold line, or else a flat, single direction movement that I most often apply to things that stick out of the model, say a spike on a piece of armor, or a ridge in their hair etc. But most importantly don't apply downward pressure, the file will do all the work needed and downward pressure will only cause damage or a rough finish.

    I hope that this has been helpful to at least a few of you, if you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest another topic you'd like me to write on feel free to post them below.

    Update: I personally buy Vallorbe Swiss made files
    Last edited by GreenDragon; 05-03-2015 at 06:23 PM.

  2. #2


    I was just thinking that I should be looking for better files - this is extremely helpful. Thanks!

  3. #3


    I'm very pleased. Not a problem!

  4. #4


    Are you able to reccomend any brands and/or online stores to buy from? I tried looking last night, but could only find cheap stuff with little info.

  5. #5


    The brand I've been buying are are Vallorbe Swiss made files, however living in New Zealand the only store I know of is pretty far away from the rest of the world. Here is a link anyway though.

  6. #6


    Knowing the brand is very helpful, thanks again!

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