Tips Archive 015
Working in 1/144 scale

From In Some Small Way, at

Over the years I have developed ways of working that save work and prevent unfortunate problems. You may wish to try some of them.

  1. When gluing two flat pieces of wood together (laminating, so to speak) never smear glue over the entire area.  This causes the glue on the outside to dry first and when the inside glue dries it will make the edges pull away and buckle. Put your glue on the edges only for a much better result. It will hold just fine.
  2. When gluing, if you want your piece to have a quick grab but long lasting stick use white acrylic craft glue on one edge and a bit of super glue on the other (Cyano Acrylic). You will have time to position correctly but it will dry much faster. Super glue alone does not last as well. (Forget the ads of the man hanging upside down on the ceiling).
  3. When putting together tiny 1/144th pieces do not try to do it holding it in thin air. Place one piece on the table before you and pull the other piece toward it after applying the glue. Use a little plastic box to keep things at a right angle. 
  4. A pair of long, stainless steel, fine pointed tweezers with a slide lock clamp will be wonderful to grip your tiny pieces for painting. Just scrape the paint off the tweezers afterward. They last forever. Great for positioning tiny pieces of furniture into tight corners in your micro houses.
  5. Try a Minwax stain pen for perfect staining of tiny pieces. It dries immediately so you can continue with your work. It does not warp your wood and one pen will last you for several dozen 1/144th projects, or a dozen or so 1/24th projects. Great for making wood plank floors too. Just use a water base fine line black marker pen to draw your lines and ageing spots on the bare wood. Then use the spirit based stain pen to go over the lines. They will not smear or blur. But be sure you are using a water based pen. Using a permanent ink one WILL cause smearing. Try this on a scrap if you are in doubt. You can use a spirit varnish if you like afterward, but not a water based one. 
  6. With tiny projects I have found that to place wallpaper the best thing to use is a glue stick. I use Staples brand but UHU works fine too. I put the glue on the wood, then press on the paper and smooth out any air pockets. Be generous with the glue as any missed spots will not stick the paper down. It sticks well and does not make the paper run. ) This is important as many papers are water based inks and will smear if they get wet.
  7. I work on a large sheet of glass (an old, thick piece that was a dresser top). I do everything on it from mixing small amounts of paint, to putting globs of glue on it for easy access, to cutting things with my craft knife. When it is dirty I scrape it down with a single edge razor blade.  I have used the same glass for seven years and it is still in good shape. And you don't damage your table top.
  8. Rather than use a regular craft knife I get mine from the hardware store. Stanley makes them and they come with breakaway blades so when it becomes dull you just break off the end and presto! you have a new blade. You can buy refill blades too--very cheap. Get the narrowest size.
  9. With quarter scale and micro scales, I always wallpaper before I assemble the walls. Your corners will not be as neat but you will probably end up with a better finish than if you try to get your hands in after assembly. If you use this method be sure to keep any walls free of paper at the edges where walls meet or a second floor must go. Glue must stick to the wood for a strong house, not to the wallpaper.