Collector’s toolbox

Published 08/09/21

To collect 1:43 model cars, you don’t need much in terms of “infrastructure”. You need, basically, money, space and passion. Nonetheless, if you start to get serious about the hobby you’ll need a few items in your toolbox that will make your life easier. Don’t worry though, it is nothing like modeling, where you need a heap of tools and materials. Far from it, just a few basic (and cheap!) items that are easily available. In fact, most you already have in your house.

PH1 is the big one, while PH0 is the small one. Mostly, you will need the PH1.

Some collectors leave their models in their display cases, protecting the car from dust and humidity. It’s a practical way to collect, however since model manufacturers use different display cases, that may get in the way. If you do remove the car from its display base though, you will need a screwdriver. In fact, you will need two: a Phillips screwdriver and a TA screw driver. Spark, Minichamps, Ixo, AUTOart, Hot Wheels, Bizarre, well, most brands use Phillips screws to secure the model to the display base. For my models where the manufacturer used a Phillips screw, in 95% of the cases they used a PH1 size. While that may be true, I would also add a PH0 driver (one size smaller) to my toolbox, just in case. Phillips screwdrivers you can find everywhere. Even a basic Swiss Army Knife pocketknife (😁) will do the trick…

The TA driver to have at hand is the TA2.3. Both that plinth screw and Altaya model base are TA2.3.
I rounded the tip of the T6.

And now we get to the TA driver. TA screws have a triangular head, and since they’re difficult to unscrew, many toy manufacturers use them. To the despair of many collectors, so do a few 1:43 model makers. Fortunately, you will see TA screws almost exclusively in pw models. However, Altaya and lately Ixo also use them in some models. You can use a flat head or Torx driver for them, but depending on the size of the driver you can round the screw head or damage the driver’s tip. In fact, before I got a TA driver I did ruin a good Torx T6 driver 🤬. So far, I haven’t needed anything but a TA2.3 driver. Though I think I’ve seen smaller screws (TA2.0) on the model’s underside, just for the display plinths a TA2.3 should be all you need.

There are a quite a few methacrylate glues, however Super Bonder is the most popular. For a makeup brush, any one will do.

If you have a 2.3TA driver and a PH1 (and maybe a PH0) you’re set. Nonetheless, I would also suggest a few more items for your 1:43 toolbox. First is a soft makeup brush. Any size will do, and they’re perfect to clean dust from a model, specially if you want to photograph your car. Super Bonder™, unfortunately, is also handy to have. Sooner or later you will snap an antenna or a wing mirror, and a micro drop of super glue will fix things. Just be EXTREMELY careful when using it, and never close to windshields or clear parts. Methacrylate glues evaporate while drying, and will leave a white haze specially on clear plastics. That being so, always use a very (very!) small drop.

When I say “fine tweezers” I’m referring to tweezers with thin tips.

And if you’re gluing something on a 1:43 model, you will certainly need tweezers. Since 1:43 parts are absurdly small, you’ll need fine tweezers. You can use a regular eyebrow tweezers, though I prefer to use a more delicate one. In reality though, most tweezers will work fine, since gluing broken parts is something you won’t need to do often. Or at least I hope you won’t 😲.

To soften-up a decal you need Micro Sol. The blue bottle, Micro Set, is for applying the decal.

Lastly, perhaps you should also have Micro Sol in your toolbox. Micro Sol is a solution that softens decals, so if you have a decal that is peeling, it can soften it up and set it back down. If you use a small and soft paintbrush it is easy to apply, however if the decal is too old your results will not be great. Just look at my BMW V12 LMR… 😣 Still, if just a corner of a decal is lifting, brushing the decal with Micro Sol can fix it. Micro Set (blue bottle) is more for applying a decal, and is weaker. Therefore, for a peeling decal Micro Sol (red bottle) is better.

OF COURSE I had to show that De Walt-sponsored Morgan…😋

And where do you find all of those? You may have slight trouble finding the TA driver, since TA screws are rare to see anywhere else other than in toys. I bought a set on, nonetheless I’m confident you can also find them on eBay. And for just a few bucks, without a doubt. Have in mind though that many people call it a “triangular screwdriver”, even though the proper name is TA driver. You also won’t find Micro Sol everywhere, but it’s readily available at model supply shops or even eBay, also for very cheap. As for the Phillips screwdriver, makeup brush, paintbrush, tweezers and superglue, you probably already have those at home.

I guess that’s it. Of course, if you’re going to mod a model, than you’ll probably need more tools and materials. However, for just collecting 1:43 cars (and for that rare repair job) this basic toolbox is more than enough.

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