It’s What to Write Wednesday again and for this W3 I decided to review one of my favorite tools … the Pin Vise with Micro-Files.

I found this utensil at a local train centric hobby shop.  It’s a combination of a pin vise and micro files.  A perfect device for miniature preparation.

The first time I had seen a pin vise at the same hobby store so long ago I couldn’t figure out what it was for.  It was amongst the pliers, cutters and other hobbyist tools.  Knowing full well that you don’t learn anything by staring at it, I asked the clerk.

The clerk turned out to be the Store Owner and he explained the tool’s purpose.  Holding tiny pieces of wire or other oddments as well as being used to hold tiny drill bits.  Really?  Tiny drill bits!  Excellent.

Naturally, I stop in from time to time and look about for odd tools, terrain materials, or even just to look at the trains which are another hobby I can’t afford.  A behold, a hollow pin vise that stores micro-files inside.  BOOYAH!

Pin Vise and Micro-Files
(square, triangle, round, half-round, and 2 flat)
Pictured here with a teeny paper-clip size drill bit.
The half-round disappeared on my workbench.

I am a huge fan of tools and gadgets and I subscribe to the Alton Brown school of Uni-Taskers.  There should be as few as possible, like a Fire Extinguisher.  Pin Vises are excellent examples of a Multi-tasker.

I’ve used them for:

  • Drill
  • File
  • Part Holder
  • Punch
  • Awl
  • Pick
  • Wire Weight*
  • Straightener
  • Wire Bender

* Wire Weight – when working with wires, like modeling minis or wrapping wire around a project, etc. use the pin vise as a weight to keep it in place or just hold it in position for a moment.  Alligator Clip Helping hands are good for this as well.

This particular one which matches this Commando Precision File Handle with 6 Mini Needle Files found on Amazon is a very versatile and well built tool.  The anodized exterior has held up well to scuffing and the rare tool drop.  The mechanism for the chuck is smooth and tightens and untightens easily.  The cap for the bit/file holder also tightens easily.

The only downside would be the size of the files.  I’ve already misplaced my half-round file.  But you can use any 4 inch set or smaller to replace them.  Like these:

The files work well with harder surfaces like metal but aren’t as useful on plastic which tends to burr when filing.  That said, the sharper edges of the triangle or half-round are quite capable of removing larger mold lines by sawing them.

A worthy buy for any miniature painter to clean, assemble and modify your project.

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