A New Tool for Railway Modellers

a valuable tool for railway modellersWell I guess this image of my digital camera has already give you a major hint about what this new modelling tool really is and of course a camera has been an important tool for any modeller ever since the camera was invented.

We’ve used cameras to record locos and wagons, buildings and general scenery but I wonder how many modellers use their digital camera to get in close to look at important details on parts … or use their camera to record the steps they’ve taken when they’ve had to dismantle a model and it might be a little while before they get round to putting it all back together again.

For both those purposes just about any digital camera is ideal and you certainly don’t have to have anything nearly as fancy as my base model SLR digital. All you really need is a camera with the ability to be adjusted to take close-up photos and you’re good to go.

The symbol for the ‘close-up’ setting is common to most digital cameras

I found just how good a camera can be when it comes to looking at detail parts the other day when I wanted to ask a general question on an N scale board about part of the coupler arrangement on more recent Life Like locos.

I had the part that you see in this next photo and it could go back into the loco with the shim facing towards the bogies or towards the headstock of the loco. So I took a photo and posted it on the board and it wasn’t until I looked at the image as it appeared on the message board that I noticed that the brass shim was actually held in place by two quite small lugs (that you see highlighted by the arrows) on either side of the main part of the assembly.

So if you have a very small detail part or a very small replacement part that you have to fit to a loco or some rolling stock then take a photo of it, download it to your computer, and have a good look at it to make sure you’re not missing something simply because you can’t see it.

And if you have to pull something apart to replace a par, or modify the model, then photograph the steps you’re taking. That’s advice that I wish I had taken over two years ago.

Back then I pulled apart the coupler mechanism and mounting on another Life Like loco to switch it over to Micro Trains. I got interrupted part way through the job and it was only the other day that I went back to finish the job … and found that I had thrown out a very important part.

I remember seeing that part on my hobby desk about a year ago now and thought that it was just a piece of a sprue from that I didn’t need to keep. If only I had kept a visual record of the work I had been doing I might have had the sense to go through the photos of my work before being throwing that piece away.

Oh well … I guess that just goes to show that age is no impediment to stupidity … and maybe a digital camera can help you be a little less stupid.

By |February 23rd, 2013|Modellers Tools|0 Comments

More Scratchbuilding Tools in the Toolshop

Over the weekend I added some interesting new scratchbuilding tools to the toolshop and I think that each one of them would be a great addition to any model railroader’s toolbox.

Magnifying tweezers
Have you ever tried picking up some of the tiny detail pieces that we deal with? It can be frustrating … especially if your eyesight isn’t what it once was.

Tweezers with a light
If it’s hard for some of us to get a grip on fine detail parts then it gets even harder if the lighting is less than ideal. So here’s a pair of tweezers that come with their own light.

The light is powered by a small battery that sits in the end of the tweezers and it can be switched on or off courtesy of a switch that’s easy to reach and use. You also get spare batteries in pack.

By |May 9th, 2012|Modellers Tools|0 Comments

Useful Modeller’s Tool

I’m a sucker for tools and every time I hit a good hobby shop the tool display is one of the must-see spots in the shop.

Maybe that’s why I’ve begun to sell a few here on the website … when I need a tool fix I just go and look on the stock shelves. But I’m not the only one who sells modeller’s tools online and there are some very interesting tools out there if you know where to look.

And here is one very interesting modeller’s tool that I came across just last week … the Detail Buddy from Spirit Design.

If you’re working with N Scale locos or rolling stock … or even small HO Scale locos and rolling stock … the Detail Buddy is a modeller’s tool you’ll get a lot of use out of.

Check out the images below and you’ll see that the Detail Buddy can be set up to present whatever you’re working on at just about any angle.

The other good thing about this modeller’s tool is the price … it’s just $12.00. Follow this link to see more.




By |April 1st, 2012|Modellers Tools|0 Comments

Tools for Scratchbuilders

Years ago when I started assembling my scratchbuilding toolkit I was fortunate enough to live in a town where the local hobby shop was owned by a prolific scratchbuilder. So getting the right tools was never a problem.

Small files, small drill bits, taps and dies in the smallest sizes … it didn’t matter what the item I might have needed because it was either in the shop or could be ordered in.

I’m certainly not that well served by the hobby shop in the town where I now live … and frankly I don’t expect to be. Hobby tools … especially those that you would want to use if you were scratchbuilding in brass or nickle silver … or in N Scale … are specialist items and the demand for them is quite limited.

That’s why I’m always interested in finding an online store that can supply tools for scratchbuilders and one that I haven’t come across before is advertising in the current issue of the Australian Model Railway Magazine.

Hobby Tools Australia has quite an extensive catalogue of tools and it’s well-worth having a look at.

By |August 12th, 2011|Modellers Tools|0 Comments

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