Firstly, the lighting you find on eBay will be sufficient but you get what you pay for. If you you're looking for something a little more reliable, etc. then I would advise shopping at a retailer such as Calumet (you might find this expensive though). Additionally, Jane is correct in saying that a soft-box will modify the light and there are other forms of light modifying additions to your flash that can be bought, each have their own merits.
Secondly, how the lights/strobes/flashes will function is very much dependant on the type of lighting kit you buy. Again, Jane is correct in saying that continuous lighting can be purchased, however it does run hot and it's not a lighting set up that is typically used in photography (more for the stage and videography), continuous lighting has a different quality to it as it produces a warmer hue than typical photographic lighting. If you buy speed-flashes/flash guns then the flash will only fire when the shutter is depressed and if you buy studio lights then there is a function called model lighting which illuminates whatever you're shooting and the flash will fire fully when the you trigger the shutter.
Thirdly, if you are adamant on purchasing a lighting set up then I would suggest studio lights or purchasing a few speed lights, something light a starter kit would probably do you proud (http://www.fotosense...studio-kit.html). You might find difficulties with flare or blown out areas on your images if you are photographing metal but this can be avoided using certain techniques. Ultimately I would suggest using natural light as it may work better for you when photographing metal due to the quality of light and it differing from studio lighting. Considering you're from Australia I doubt that you'll have the same concerns with the weather like I have here in the UK so I would suggest finding a nice local location where the light looks good and use that to your advantage.
Hope this helps but if you need more advice just give me a shout.
Edited by beeonsay, 31 January 2015 - 01:49 PM.