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The tool itself is all metal except for the cutting mat and it’s footprint is a small 7”x7” (18cm x 18cm) so it shouldn’t take too much space on the already crowded workbench.
Photo and Build Features from our Military Modelling Magazine website members and contributors including lots of pages of articles from previous Military Modelling magazines. Editors Note: Christopher Brimley is a staff member at TrainLife and will be contributing weekly articles on scratch building. An absolute must-have tool for anyone starting out is the hobby knife, commonly called the X-acto knife or blade.There are many companies that produce hobby knives in multiple types and sizes. This tool above all others has become one of my favorites and it is such a simple device.This tool is really only a good investment if you work with a lot of strip materials, such as styrene and wood. These are an often overlooked materials for some beginning modelers and can cause a model from ever reaching its full potential.Sanding is an easy and cheap one to solve, at many stores you can get an assortment of different grit sand paper for around $3. There are many other niche tools that are very useful, but more limited in their performance. If there is a tool that you love to use and wasn’t included in my above article, please let us know by commenting below. Thanks the comment Bob, I remember when I first started in the hobby and slowly added the right tools, it always surprised me so much by having the right tool for the job made a difference and improved my modeling. Thank you this is a good post,wen i got into HO my frind told me to get all the tools you have ,the best thing i did.
The swing arm holding the blade is in the middle leaving you with about 3 inch of working area both sides. You can buy some replacement already of the right size from NWSL or simply buy a regular one from a store and cut it to fit. Follow him as he begins acquiring the tools and supplies necessary for his many projects.Starting off in model railroading can be a frightening, yet exciting challenge. It can be used to cut out decals, cut styrene, remove model parts from a sprue, cut strip wood, remove flashing, and much more.Also, to go along with your knife, make sure you get a cutting mat to protect any surfaces you may be cutting on.

The razor saw is used heavily by kitbashers, because you can saw through plastic wall sections and rolling stock with relative ease and with a fairly clean cut.
If one part of a building gets out of square in the beginning of construction, you will be fighting with it for the rest of the build.I generally have at least two rulers on my work space, one the essential scale ruler. Its primary use is for checking to see if you are staying square on a project.No matter what scale you are working in, you need to have a National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) track gauge.
In the sturdy box you’ll find the Chopper II, two mitre guides, three replacement screw for the blade holder and a small instruction sheet. Those blades are extremely sharp and great care should be taken when using the tool or replacing the blade.
The mitre guide is firmly held and shouldn’t move unless the user put excessive pressure on it. But before doing this remember that you can rotate it one quarter turn at a time and then flip it to the other side and repeat. Chances are you have a limited amount of money and you want all of that to go toward trains. With the use of the miter box, you can cut strip materials such as styrene, wood, brass tubes, and more.
This is amazing for cutting parts from a sprue and there is less risk of damaging the part.Two others that are recommended, but have more limited uses, are track cutters and a high precision scissor. The one I use has N scale, HO scale, and O scale measurements on it -- very useful for those that model in multiple scales.
Best of all, the easily interchangeable blade assemblies allow you to chop, slice, and dice in a variety of cut sizes with flawless consistency for beautiful presentation and economical portion control. If you are laying any track, don’t waste your time by using a saw -- the track cutters make it very simple.
The high precision scissor is very nice to have if you are working with etched brass details and parts.

For finish sanding get some 400-600 grit sand.You can also get sanding sticks, which are good for getting into fine areas but they can be expensive.
While it’s ok for normal operation I found you don’t have a lot of room when it come to replace the blade. The slide lock is a straight tweezer with a little sliding bar so you can lock it on to an item. Sometimes tools can be used in all arenas of model railroading and others have one specific use.Today, I am going to go over the absolute essentials for tools when starting out and other tools I feel are generally important to have as part of your workbench.
All of the different shapes of files come in very handy, you will also find one or two of them become your favorites. Also, please keep in mind most of the tools I recommend are geared toward model building, kitbashing, and scratch building. The cross-locking tweezers are always clamped shut and you need to squeeze the other end to spread them open.
I will be going over paints, glues, and related materials in a future article, so be sure to look for that soon. They are great for cleaning out flashing in tight areas, squaring up an end on cut strip styrene, and so much more.The pin vice is basically a small handle. It’s ideal for fast, easy chopping, slicing and dicing of onions, tomatoes, potatoes, celery, peppers, and other firm veggies.
I personally am not a fan of doing this because I feel like there is too much weight and I end up having less control of the file.

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