Jack, there are a thousand ways.
Small stuff I like to stick or jam on toothpicks, which can be taped to
cardboard. Tape doubled on itself holds many small items to the same
cardboard -- and you can write on it which paint you want to use on it.
Whole bodies do well with bent hangers as well as a specialized tool Micro
Mark carries -- steel arms that press out thanks to a spring, with padded
ends. Both these then let you hang the model upside down (minimizing dreck
falling on it) while drying.
The ultimate trick: large kitchen (rubber) gloves to protect holding hand,
wristwatch, sleeve of shirt.
Chopsticks, coat hangers, toilet paper/paper towel rolls, loops of tape,
white glue bottles, "lazy susans" (the small plastic type not the ones
installed in the kitchen cabinet), large tongs normally used for baking,
tubular shaped parts chucked into a Dremel tool, etc. etc.
In short, anything can be, and usually is, used.
I've taken to collecting formed peices of soft foam packing blocks and
sheet from the trash at work - particularly ones shaped a bit like
cradles, like a laptop computer or such might be boxed in.
I simply rest the model (usually an aircraft) on one of the foam cradles
or mats on my bench and start airbrushing; one side at a time - bottom
and then the top. The foam also provides a fairly non-slip surface, and
I can turn the model as I paint by handling the foam and not the model.
It's also disposable once it gets too loaded with overspray.
If you have a ton of that stuff, and don't know what to do with it, fit the
pieces together on a white wall and call it a painting. I knew a British art
director who did that in his office, and it looked wonderful. Price was
Since I build jets almost all the time, I'vce started using a carboard
box about 10" square and about 2 " thick I stole from work ;-).
What I do is take some 3" deck screws and screw them directly into the
box, so the heads of the screws end up in the wheel wells. This
technique also has the advantage if showing if there is not enough
weight in the nose.
I've also done the opposite with teh screws, tape the heads to the box
and put the tips in the gear bays.
When I paint, I hole the plane in my hand to do the underside, then I
carefully place it on teh screw heads, and paint the top.
*remove NOSPAM to reply*
When diplomacy fails, send in the B-52's