I will be devoting a number of posts to an essential Z scale manufacturer from Germany: Archistories. Why? Because they are thoughtfully designed, fun to assemble and look like real buildings. And detail rich Z scale locos and cars are fully complemented by the equally detail rich buildings, gantry crane, and windmills produced by Archistories. Buy one kit and you will be hooked as I was several years ago. Now they are easy to buy from Z Scale Monster Train.
I have purchased all of the Archistories building kits, and I have built each of them sometimes in multiples. Getting started is easy, and the tools required are more than likely already in your toolbox.
Here is my list of tools:
1. freezer paper: I cover my workspace with this material available at any grocery store, the shiny side up surface is impervious to glue and allows the materials to be moved around easily
2. nail file: available also in the cosmetics aisle of any grocery store (mildly abrasive for smoothing rough edges on the card board super structure)
3. tweezers of various sizes: I use straight and angled tweezers you will understand why as you proceed with more intricate kits, plus choose tweezers that are comfortable: some have a stiff spring that I don’t think are well suited to holding fine parts. And a pair with rubber coated prongs will help keep parts from being damaged although good finesse will negate the need for these which can be hard to find on a good day
4. Xacto knife or other cutting tool: I use razor blades that are conventionally used in paint scrapers, carpet knife and mat knife for thicker material, and sometimes a small pair of scissors available again in the cosmetics section of your local grocery store
5. heavy cutting mat: self healing cutting mat is highly recommended and is available at sewing, craft and art stores
6. glue for buildings: the manufacturer recommends wood glue, but I prefer PVA glue which is available at art supply stores (I bought mine from Dick Blick), it is a glue that is described as an archival neutral ph glue, but I like it because it sets up fast and dries fast. I have used glues like this for many years, and I would only recommend it after personal experimentation: it may not be to everyone’s taste or comfort zone.
7. glue for glazing: two options for gluing glazing to windows: 1. rough up the surface of the acetate that you will be applying white glue to, this technique gives more surface area for the glue to adhere to on a microscopic level otherwise the acetate will eventually fall off 2. UHU Kraft (I bought mine on Amazon) which is a flexible and super sticky glue that sets-up fast (working with this glue gets easier over time). I prefer the latter because the bond seems more permanent.
8. glue applicators: sewing pins and toothpicks for most detail work (apply little dots of glue when applying sills or other small details, a small brush for small panels and moving glue around openings, medium flat brush for roofing material, and syringe with very small diameter for filling gaps (I only used this once for each of the station kits where the platforms meet up with the building). *Note: a little glue goes a long way and keeping glue away from edges is the best resolve, although these glues are water soluble you will end of with staining on the paper if you try to remove spillage. And keep hands clean from glue and grease
9. magnifying goggles: extremely important (always wear: preparing parts to assembly!!!!!)
10. light: a good even bright overhead light (natural light does not work for this task: a shadow could throw off leveling a small sill)