Given that I am hobbying away I thought that I would give a shout out to two great Hobby tools that May my life immeasurably easier.
1. Tamiya Hobby Drill
I've used a pin vise for a number of years - pinning metal and resin parts and fixing models to bases. In that time I have snapped a mountain of 1mm drill bits, drilled through the sides of fine joints and pierced the top of my finger dozens of times.
Earlier this year I saw the Tamiya Hobby Drill on the net. I'm not sure where but it piqued my interest. I ordered it from Amazon and it was delivered pretty quick. What surprised me was that it was a kitset like most Tamiya models and it needed to be assembled. This was straightforward and in 15 minutes I was up and hobbying.
The Drill is magic. It requires little physical effort and drills a controlled hole. I've used it a lot with basing this year and it drills through plastic, wood, metal and stone.
Last week I pinned 200 plastic goblins to a textured wood base. Normally this would take multiple evenings but I got it done in a single session - and without any callouses or blisters - we models must look after our assets!!
2. Ultrasonic Jewellery Cleaner
The second item I've had for 2-3 years. It is an ultrasonic jewellery cleaner I bought off local eBay-equivalent Trade Me. The small unit is mains powered and sits on my desk.
These little units are made in China and are very cheap - around NZ 60, USD 40, GBP 35.
I fill mine up with Simple Green, a bit of iso-propyl alcohol and water.
It is great to strip figures. Put them in the cleaner overnight to soak and then run it through a few cycles. Generally you can remove the paint then with toothbrush under running water. Deep seated paint may take a couple of goes but I've had nothing it can't remove in a couple of days.
The other great use is as a brush cleaner. Once a month I pick up all my brushes and drop them in. I then run a few cycles and when you remove them any paint that has been caught in bristles or got up ferrules has been removed. Especially good for drybrushes and any heavy duty base coating brushes but I run my Series 7 W&N through it as well.
Once you've taken them out give them a wash with brush soap, repoint and they are as good as new.
Both tools are relatively cheap but any expense is truly mitigated with the time and money you save. Can't recommend them more highly.