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Model Railway: Basic Tools

As your model takes shape you should also build up a collection of tools. It's best to keep your modelling tools away from your household tools as there is nothing worse than not being able to complete a task that you are half way through because you can't find the right tool, or worse still using the wrong tool and not making as good a job as you would have liked.


Below is a basic list of tools that you will need close at hand:


Note: This website can not be held accountable for the misuse of tools. This information is given as advice on what worked for this websites creator. You should always read the manufactures instructions on the use of their tools!

Modelling Tools

Craft knife - This is the tool I used the most. It's also the most dangerous! If you don't feel confident try and use scissors.


Small headed hammer - Sometimes to solve a problem you just need to hit it. You will need a hammer to put in nails (sometimes panel pins) and to make items fit.


Needle nose pliers - I found that it was easier to put in track pins with pliers. You simply grasp the pin and push it into the board. This method is especially good when using sponge ballast as it allows you to adjust the track to keep it level. It's easy to push the track down too far, squashing the sponge and making your ballast look unrealistic. This also causes the engines to run poorly, stall, or even de-rail. Pliers are also the best method for removing pins if you decide to change your layout.


Drill - This can be either a hand drill or a power drill. You will need this to build your base board. I used this tool a great deal in order to wire up point motors, and to put holes in the board to accommodate power leads, signals, and lighting.


Glue gun - Glue guns are great when you need something to stick immediately. I used one to great effect sticking point motors and battery packs to the bottom of my base board. Be warned, glue guns get very hot and so does the glue! It's very easy to burn yourself on the gun, or worse get the glue on your hands. I can tell you it hurts and it will burn you badly unless you put your hand under a cold tap quickly. Make sure you read the manufactures instructions carefully!


Soldering iron - This is another must have tool if you are planning to incorporate electronics into your layout. There are alternatives to soldering but in some instances there is no alternative. You can use solder to join wires, to connect wires to motors, signals, switches etc as well as to join pieces of metal. I am no expert in soldering! It's best to go down to your library or to search online for advice on how to use a soldering iron. Make sure you read the instructions carefully as just like the glue gun the soldering iron can burn.


Screwdrivers - Used for putting in screws and for prying/levering things into place. Small screwdrivers can be used to gain access to your models mechanics and to service them. They are indispensable for poking and prodding things into place.


Hack saw - This can be used for cutting small pieces of both metal and wood. I found it best to put the material into a vice to hold it so that your fingers are kept well away from the blade.


Vice - This should be fixed to your work bench (table). It helps with cutting, filing, bending, and holding. It can be used with the soldering iron so that both hands are free to hold both the solder and the iron. It should also stop you getting burnt.


Wire cutters - For cutting wire. You shouldn't use scissors or craft knives to cut wire! It will not cut as well, and will blunt your implements and it's Dangerous!!


Paint Brushes - Used for painting and for spreading glue and scatter.


Glue spreader - For spreading glue.


Scissors - For cutting, and believe me there is a lot to cut. Can be used instead of a craft knife but is not as good.


General Modelling Materials

PVA Glue/Glue gun sticks

Electrical wire


Track pins

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New Modellers Shop - A Model Railway Shop - Stocking model railway wagons, coaches, carriages, electric diesel and steam locomotives, power and control equiptment, point motors, train packs, scenery, signals switches, and much much more. Supplying model products along with reviews and advice. Railway Pictures - Railway photograph gallery covering all areas of railway traction, buildings, and trackwork. Extensive photo library, which is being added to weekly. Upload and share your own images to the site using its inbuilt upload features.

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R8312 - E-Link Computer Controlled Model Railway

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Hornby Model Railway Train Sets - Hornby Mixed Freight Train Set - R1126

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Hornby Model Railway Extension Track Pack A - R8221

Hornby Extension Track Pack A


Hornby Model Railway Extension Track Pack B - R8222

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Hornby Model Railway Extension Track Pack D - R8224

Hornby Extension Track Pack D


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Hornby Extension Track Pack F


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