butgeel Tools for modellers

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When you are modelling you will need tools, to cut, shape and join the materials used. The amount and the type of tools required is closely related to the modelling job you want to do. I made a selection of jobs and the tools needed. The list is not pretending to be complete. Other methods of working may require different tools. When working with any tool, please observe the appropiate safety measures.

gele bullet Benchwork for your layout requires ordinary woodworking tools, a saw, a good square, a drill, screwdrivers and the like. When you use foam as a base for your layout you need foam shaping tools. Knives, a surform tool and/or a hot wire cutting tool are very useful when cutting and shaping foam. When you use power tools for woodworking, take extra care of your safety! These machines are usually very powerful and may produce chips that are flying around. Protect your eyes and if the machine is very noisy also your ears. You only have one set of each and there are no replacements available! When sawing or sanding plywood or MDF, please protect your lungs with the proper protective gear. All these tools are available at your local D-I-Y store.

gele bullet Tracklaying needs rather different tools. Laying track is a delicate job and it needs much smaller tools. Tools needed for laying track are pliers, a track cutter, a mini-power tool, like a Dremel and small files. Pins are very usuful for positioning track. A small hammer is needed for pushing in the track pins. When you are handlaying your track, you will certainly be an experienced modeller and I do not think I am telling you any news.

gele bullet Wiring the layout needs wire-cutters, a cable knive to remove isolation, a soldering iron - Watch out, this becomes very hot! - screwdrivers and in some cases a crimping tool. Other tools needed are pliers and sometimes tweezers. A drill may be needed to make holes in the benchwork to pass the wires through. A crimping tool is necessary when you use crimp terminals.

gele bullet Scenery is the more artistic part of the hobby. Tools needed are brushes, spatulas and other tools needed for shaping and colouring. An airbrush is an expensive tool, but very versatile for detailing jobs on rocks etc. Ordinary plant sprayers can be used for spray painting the basic scenery. Use well-diluted water-based paint so that the spray nozzle won't clog up with paint.

yrmark Rolling stock modifications and repairs are usually very delicate jobs. Tools needed are small and may have razor-sharp cutting edges. You will need tweezers, in a variety of shapes, small screwdrivers, pliers, cutters and again small files. Modelling knives are used for cutting and picking up small springs. Sometimes a special tool is needed. It may either be available at your modelling shop are made by yourself. A razor saw and mitre-box are needed for the brave ones who modify their models to build models that are not commercially available, or just for the fun of it. A glass-fibre pencil brush removes dirt from loco wheels easily.

yrmark Assembling styrene structures and other styrene models needs the following tools: fine sandpaper, small files, an X-Acto #2 or similar knive, a small brush to apply adhesive and a cutting mat, for both cutting and as a flat base to assemble your model. Paint brushes, paint and thinners are needed to finsh your model.

yrmark Assembling brass models is a specialist job. You need good soldering tools, perhaps even a resistance-soldering machine, pliers, tweezers, cutters, files, small brushes, fine sandpaper. Old toothbrushes and a glass-fibre pencil brush are also of use.

yrmark Assembling resin models needs more care than assembling styrene models. The adhesive needed is CAA (cyano-acrylate adhesive) which also sticks your fingers together! The tools needed are not different from the ones needed for styrene models.

Some of the tools you need for successful railway modelling

linkrink Tool links

Xuron makes a range of quality pliers, cutters, scissors, tweezers and sqeeze bottles. Recommended by personal experience!

dremel Dremel is well-known for its miniature power tools.

swann Swann-Morton from Sheffield, England is a world leader in cutting tools, their speciality are surgical knives and cutters. Swann-Morton have a seperate page for modelling and crafting tools.

martor Martor is the German competitor of the firm above, Martor is more aiming at the craft artist and less at the surgeon. Martor are from Solingen, Germany.

excellogo Excel Tools makes craft knives, cutters, blades etc

xactologo X-Axto is one of the best known makes of knives, cutters, blades, small saws etc.

zona Zona supplies small saws and lots of other hand tools suitable for modelling.

cooper Cooper Tools supply lots of tools for electric and electronic work as well as woodworking tools. Famous Cooper brands are Weller (soldering irons), Xcelite (pliers, tweezers, screwdrivers, etc.) and Nicholson (woodworking tools).

topman Topman is a japanese manufacturer of japanese saws (a unique design), and some other tools, like pocket-wrenches, tool boxes etc.

Klein Tools offer a wide range of tools for almost every job you can imagine.

Panduit offers electrical connectors, cable ties, cable conduits and much more...

Airbrushes and suitable paints are made by Aztek and badger Badger as well as airbrush accessories. There are many more makes of airbrushes. Badger also carries the tc range of airbrushes.

Harder & Steenbeck are a German specialist airbrush manufacurer; great products.

Gunze Sangyo makes very good paints and painting accesories under the mr Mr-Hobby name.

Expo has a large range of modelling and electronics tools.

Micro Mark from the USA has an even larger range of tools.

Micro Tools offers tools and parts for camera repairs, interesting for modellers too!

Greven offers a range of adhesives, all very suitable for your modelling needs, German language

Planning your layout could be done with a computer software tool. Personally, I have good experiences with XtrkCad.  It's now available for free!

Another planning tool is 3rdPlanIt, it even offers 3D terrain, structure and vehicle modelling and operation simulation! Very impressive!

kiss If you like to design your layouts with paper and pencil, K.I.S.S. has suitable scale rules and curve tools, and at an interesting price!

kolibri Kolibri is a manufacturer of quality paint brushes for almost every application.

CNC-Step offers compact CNC machines. Interesting for modellers who think of starting a small-series production, these are not for the average kit-builder, but offer great possibilities for advanced modellers.

3D Printing has become one of the most popular methods of makeing small batches or even one-off models. Raise3D has a 3D printer to suit your needs.

Text & scans by Mark Veneman

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