Plastic bottle caps can be used not only for providing surface details, but also as a method of connecting two parts of a models together so that it can be taken apart.
Sheets of this metal meshing are useful for creating gratings as well as wire fences.
I find cardboard better suited for making scenery than models that will be handled a great deal during a game. However, it can be useful for making simple prototypes when you want to try something out without wasting more valuable resources.
Cardboard tends to be absorbent and will warp if it gets wet. However, printed cardboard surfaces tend to already be sealed and will not warp if painted or glued with water based glue and paint.
The plastic rods used on cotton buds are excellent for surface detailing. Large numbers can be purchased far more cheaply than an equivalent length of plastic rod.
Another cheaper alternative to plastic rod.
Drinking straws are thin and cannot bear much weight. However, strengthening them is very easy.
Modern electronic components come in some interesting shapes. For example, many capacitors resemble barrels and fuel drums. These can be used to add surface details.
An empty container can provide a solid frame for a model. Using containers of interesting shapes can save you a lot of work.
Too flimsy for serious modelling. However like card paper is useful for prototypes.
Plastic and metal pipes come in many lengths and diameters. In some sizes they may serve as cheaper alternatives to plastic rods. They will provide solid cylindrical structures. The various junctions available for pipes offer some interesting shapes to give detail to larger models.
Polystyrene sheets are my primary modelling material. It is easily cut and glued with the same plastic glue as model kits. I use white plasticard since it is easier to see pencil marks on it.
Plasticard is available in a variety of sheet areas and thicknesses. I make use of various thicknesses for different purposes:
0.25mm/0.01/10 thou curved surface construction, surface detailing
0.5mm/0.02/20 thou fine construction, surface detailing
1.0mm/0.04/40 thou general construction
1.5mm/0.06/60 thou surface detailing
2.0mm/0.08/80 thou heavy duty construction, surface detailing
Plasticard is also available as preformed rods and other extruded shapes such as H and L sections. These save time over making them from scratch, but can be costly.
Flexible tubing is useful for surface detailing such as hosepipes. Narrower tubing tends to be smooth whereas wider tubes may be ribbed. Note that this ribbing is often in a spiral pattern and when cutting through the tube you cannot always just cut around one of the ribs.
The best place to find pieces for a model is in other models. Keep an eye out for cheap model kits with interesting parts. Ive used a solar panel from a £0.50 model car as an antenna array on an Imperial Guard chimera.
When soaked in watered down PVA glue, tissue paper can be used to create irregular surfaces.
Epoxy putty is very useful for filling small gaps in models. If you are a good enough sculptor then you can also fashion details from it.
Wire is suitable for a variety of uses. Many joints can be strengthened using a short wire pin, while it can also be used to create surface details such as antennas and banner poles. When dealing with insulated wire, remember that the insulation can also be useful.
Insulation hose construction
Multi core cables (twist the cores together)
Ribbon cable grills
Single core - banner poles, pinning support, surface details, wire fences
I dont often use wood as a primary construction material. Like cardboard, I am most likely to use it for scenery. Different types of woods are useful for different purposes.
Balsa Thicker sheets for model bases. Thinner lengths for modelling planks.
Cocktail sticks Fence posts. Sign posts.
Dowel - Telegraph poles. Trench crossing facine bundles on tanks.
Lollipop sticks Wooden fencing.Match sticks Fence posts. Timber frames.
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