Disclaimer: All of the tips and techniques here use with caution. Try on old models or scrap models/plastic till you get the hang of it. Don't try on that two year long project that you have invested 100's of hours of time until you have tried them out and got the hang of it. Also I can not be held responsible for any injury, lost or damage to you or your models, tools, and projects. Period use at your own risk!
Word of caution when cannibalizing : A television/Computer monitor has a power source, that if not handled right can electrocute you. DO NOT TRY to cannibalize those or open in anyway, do not cut or touch the wires leading into the power source from the back of the tube of an old style monitor, or the power source box in the computer, i figured that out the hard way and almost got electrocuted, you can get the other parts off the motherboard, just don't touch the power supply or take apart the power supply!!! If in doubt for your safety and the safety of others do not touch power sources of any kind or the wires leading into them.

Ok, enough of the legal speak and on to the tips and tech enjoy!

Recycled Electronics:

When it comes time to get rid of any electronic device, (Dvd/Cd players, stereos, etc,.) save it, take it apart, and you will find endless uses for scratch building. Wires for wiring and some are even braided, diodes for fuel filters, and the list goes on and on..........

Even small parts of metal can be used from these boards.......

With these spools of wire, you will never need to purchase detail wire again, unless of course you add spark plug wires, where you will need the insulation on the wire to look like the wire itself, other wise these spools have miles of wire on them. Even braided copper wire on the 3 spools to the left of the photo.

The gears you see in this tub were taken out of a drill that had gone bad, look around at the garbage and see what can be used for your builds, like I said the possiblities are endless.

Most all of the parts inside the snowspeeder airbrake area is from parts taken out of old defunk electronics.

Its not a clear photo but again it shows the diodes and capacitors that were used that once painted they make for a very convincing part.

Even here in this opening the shiny things are from a cd player.

Used little diodes to go around the insulator on this laser gun for the Amt snowspeeder. (brownish/tan items on the right hand side of model part.)

I'm sure you have seen and used these before. Lowrider window plaques add that extra flair for all of your lowrider models. If you haven't seen or used them you really should check into them. They are the coolest accessory to finish of that ride.

Here is one installed on my 1960 chevy impala. The scale thickness makes them very realistic.

Got a life time supply of these............

Pegasus has the best lowrider wheel and tire on the market for your lowrider projects, they are the brand that I use.

These are gaming pieces for war gaming. I have just discovered there usage in plastic model building. I will add a few more pics in the future on where I have used these.

Another area to look for detail parts for model builds is the hot wheels line. For instance this rigor motor HW has skulls for shifter knobs or turn signals and a bat that can be used for a hood ornament, a coffin shaped body that you can cut off and use for anything from a grill to just about anything that you can dream up!!!! The possibilities are endless when it comes to looking for detail parts for plastic models, just about anywhere and anything can be used.

All you have to do is drill out the bottom rivets and it comes apart. You can save the other parts of the hot wheel that you do not use for other builds as well in a spare parts box.

Check out this cool hot wheel I can see custom motorcycle tank or body from this one!!! 

What to do with your used Altoid tins? 

There Great for storing model parts and specifically sub assemblies for your current builds, there strong and resist crushing. 

Watch parts, Watch parts, Watch parts, I can not stress enough about the importance of using watch parts in and on your builds.  If you have a hobby lobby in your area you can get them there around the clay isle.

All the three parts or sub assemblies above have watch parts incorporated into the main part for my reapers ride build. The possibilities are endless when you use watch parts in your builds. From engine enhancements to interiors, to the bodies you name it they will fit!

Another resource with endless possibilities for model building, either military or car and truck modeling is a model train store, i browse my local train store for hours and you would be amazed at what you can find for your builds there like this pack of graffiti decals that usually go on train cars makes a good junker car or truck come to life when you add it to one of your builds. 

Found these to go on my reapers ride casket!!! 

Grandt Line is a detailers dream with all the intricate parts they supply to the model train guys, these come in real handy on some builds, and again like I have said before, very useful for Gizmology in all your builds. 

Have a car or truck that you are not happy with the way the paint job came out? or found a glue bomb at a flea market or show? Get rid of the paint, the best way i have found to rid the paint is to dip it in brake fluid, within an hour or less most paints are gone. Now some people prefer other methods, but for me just the brake fluid and a brush to get rid of any paint in nooks or crannies and its back to square one and another shot at painting the kit.  One word of caution however, first remember that this is a paint remover so where ever you use it keep all surfaces covered by either newspapers or other means of protection and also do not soak resin painted parts in brake fluid as it soaks into the resin and the resin will become a gooey mess! Also use rubber gloves and try not to get any brake fluid on you.

I found this in the parts bin at my local model club and have the perfect kit to finish it, never was happy with the convertible issue so i figured a little brake fluid and I'm back in business.

Just use a stiff bristle brush or tooth brush to help it along, then when its bare plastic give it a wash in the kitchen sink with some dish soap and your ready! 

Went to wendys' the other day and ordered the chili cheese fries, noticed when i was done the ribs on the bottom of the container, thought to my self this would make an awesome decal tray because of the ribs on the bottom of the container, they hold the decal off the bottom of the container so you can reach the decals with tweezers and not stab at the decal. If you have a wendys' in your area selling chili cheese fries grab a few to go!

 Won this kit at my Model clubs September model meeting and when I opened the box and saw how small the sprues were I got to thinking about fundamentals of model building and decided that from this day forward that upon opening the box washing the parts while they are still on the trees. I used to wash the sub assemblies after all the handling of construction but its easier with them on the trees.

A good bath of dish soap and water...
A good bath of just plain water...   then air dry.
Tired of looking for a mixing bowl and only mixing a half once of paint? Then do not throw out the milk jug caps and plastic soda pop caps. These are great for mixing just small enough amounts of paint, epoxy or whatever you want to mix in real small quantities.
Save old business cards, they have a ton of uses including mixing palettes for resin, dry-brushing, masks for airbrushing, the list is endless.
.99 cent ribbon from michaels, just add some white thread fringe on each end and you have an instant mexican blanket, can also use as a seat cover....
Remvoe the string from the center of the sequins and you have an instant scale cd for your car, truck, van, or suv......
Silly putty can be used as a mold for small , one piece castings. Squish the silly putty over the master and quickly remove it by pulling it straight up or away from the master. Then fill the cavity with the resin. Silly putty is a cousin of RTV rubber and will not stick to it. One word of advice thou is to use fresh silly putty, I have incountered a little bit of issues using some putty i had in my tool box that was over 15 years old, gave me some problems around the edges of the mold.
Post it notes are great when working with photo-etch parts. Especially for picking up the pieces using the softer adhesive on the top of the post it, its a lot less aggressive than regular masking tape. Also you can us post it notes for small paint masking as well.
If you strip chrome from small to tiny pieces use a tea strainer that looks like a golf ball, they open up to put the pieces in them then you close the ball with a latch and you can dip that in your favorite DE-chroming liquid! After the chrome is gone rinse under cold water for a while then open up the ball and you will have all your parts.........
You can even use it for just a general parts washer even if you are not dechroming, I always hate to lose small parts and this will save your parts......
This should be in every modelers toolbox, these came from Sally's Beauty Supply. They are about $1.00 each but double sided and I use them on every single build, does not mean you will not need sheets of sandpaper, I have stacks of that as well, but the thing of it is these are great for the first round of sanding on your builds.
You can use tape like 3m to use as a straight edge for pin striping with a pen or fine line sharpie, cut the tape to size and put the tape on your model where you want the pin strip and go to it!

Always getting those fake credit cards in the mail? Do not toss them you can use them for spreading body putty on your model and you can cut custom shapes with them and add sand paper for custom sanding and getting into hard to reach spots.....

this is something i have been using for a while and it helps with cutting masking tape for those multi patterned low rider paint jobs, take an old exact o handle and then take a cutting disk on your dremel and make a wider slot to put two exact o blades in the same handle. When you have both of the blades in the handle you then lay a piece of tape on a piece of glass and drag the two blades over the tape and that will leave you a piece of tape 1/8th of an inch wide that will bend when you apply it to the model.
This is a paint job using that tape method.
The other thing that you can use to mask off lines or separation of colors is pinstripe tape they sell at beauty supply stores for the nail industry. That is the shiny gold lines you see on the roof of this 64 Chevy. It comes in gold silver and seven other colors!!!
This is my refined technique for making button tufted upholstry.....
This is the craft foam that you can buy at hobby lobby or michaels.
These are the tools, straight edge, the black tool at the bottom, that I actually made, and a round headed tool with tan wood handle.
This tool makes the lines in the foam by running it over the foam along the straight edge...
Use the straight edge to mark the foam in this case for 1/24th scale models 3/16th works good. for larger scales just add to the distance in the lines.....
Use the straight edge to line up the lines and make the impressions.
Using the wood handled tool you line it up squarly on the intersection of the lines and press down hard and repeat till all the buttons are done.
For larger scale buttons I used a reamed out plastic end of a mechanical pencil.
I found a new tool to use instead of the one that I built. It goes much quicker....

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