I have very recently joined the scalefour society... Despite the wealth of material and advice on the web in this forum and elsewhere there still seem to be a few things that nobody quite explains to the novice like me. The society's excellent publication 'moving to P4' mentions just about everything except a list of a basic toolkit that would be useful.
I won't ramble on any more but would greatly appreciate any advice from one of the experts as to a basic recommended toolkit to get me started. Thank you in anticipation.
It's a very good question that you ask, and one to which you will probably find almost as many answers as there are members of the Society. I've been railway modelling for years, and I'm still picking up the odd useful tool from time to time - Eileen's Emporium has done very well out of me recently! I wouldn't claim to be any sort of expert, so rather than give you the content of MY toolbox, I'll refer to one of the finescale pioneers.
In a previous edition of Scalefour News, Iain Rice described how he built a portable toolbox for demonstrations and travelling. He also listed the contents that he included in it as a "basic" toolkit. To me, it reads pretty comprehensively, and mirrors much of my own tool cabinet's contents. The full articles are in S4News 126 and 127, and of course as member you can download copies of them from the Society website. Anyway, he lists:
1 pair close-up modelling spectacles (Essential these days!)
1 pair stout squared-off snipe nose pliers.
1 pair fine snipe nose pliers.
1 pair round nose pliers.
1 pair small precision shear.
1 pair small Gilbow metal shears.
1 pair sharp scissors.
1 X-Acto razor saw blade only (handle is luxury, not really necessary)
1 engineer’s scriber.
1 small screwdriver with flat and cross-head blades.
1 medium and 1 small jeweller’s screwdrivers.
1 small Eclipse pin vice.
7 assorted Swiss files -
1 larger flat file - mine is a 4-inch #2 cut locksmith’s file.
1 pair fine stainless fine-point tweezers.
1 Swan-Morton scalpel handle with a fine straight blade.
1 Swan-Morton modelling knife with a curved #2 blade.
1 miniature Archimedean drill.
A flat cigarillo tin containing: Drills -
0.5mm x 3, 0.7mm x 2,
Two fine taper brooches (cheap sort with plastic handles). 8BA and 10BA taps. Several small pieces abrasive paper in 180, 240 and 320 grit.
A flat plastic Kadee wheel-set box containing spare knife and scalpel blades plus a spare soldering iron bit.
A 1-oz pin hammer
3 Daler ‘Dalon’ synthetic-hair paintbrushes, to wit -
a 00, a 1 and a 2.1 cheap squirrel-hair paintbrush (about #2) for plastic solvent.
B, HB and H pencils, an eraser and a pencil-sharpener.
Bundle of Berol ‘Karisma’ coloured pencils including:
KC1067 Cool Grey,
KC 1054 Warm Grey,
KC936 Slate Grey,
KC945 Sienna Brown,
KC1033 Mineral Orange and
These are my brickwork and weathering colours.
A black biro
A ruling pen
Pair of compasses
Small mixing palette for paint (or old foil cake-cases)
A 45º and a 60º plastic geometry-set set-square and a small French curve.
Wooden file handle
Olfa plastic-cutter with spare blades in handle.
Tube of modelling putty (mine’s some excellent Italian Molak ‘Stucco per polistirolo’ - try John Shelley at Fourtrack Models)
Tube of contact adhesive - Bostik, UHU or similar.
Tube of ordinary polystyrene cement.
Small (3g) applicator tube of Cyano.
Tubes of twin-pack epoxy resin adhesive
Film canister containing selection of small pins.
Film canister of small BA nuts and bolts with washers 6, 8, 10 + 12BA
Film canister of small self-tap, metric and woodscrews.
Film canister with 145º and 70º solders.
Film canister full of PVA white glue.
Hypodermic syringe full of neutral paste ‘Powerflow’ flux.
Tissues or kitchen towel
Clipped/fitted to main part of tray:
1-inch jaw miniature vice.
Small sanding block 3-ins square, with 180 grit one side and 320 the 12 inch steel rule
A 12-inch scale rule with 7mm, 4mm, 3.5mm and 3mm scales.
A 6-inch steel rule
A small (2-inch) engineer’s square
An Antex 18W instrument soldering iron with 3mm. flat bit. Stowed with tip in heatsink made from brass tube and half an old Cotswold milled-brass loco chassis.
Bottle of ‘Plastic Magic’ plastic solvent.
10 little pots of Humbrol acrylic hobby paint:
5033 Matt Black,
5034 Matt white,
5024 Matt Yellow,
5025 Matt Blue,
5027 Matt Sea Grey,
5029 Matt Earth,
5030 Matt Olive Green,
5046 Matt orange,
5060 Matt Red,
5070 Brick red.
Any remaining ‘workbench area’ space is taken up in transit by sheet plastic and metal, shallow box of plastic strip/rod, etc., shallow box of metal strip, wire, etc., and any extra tool needed for a particular project.
I know that this looks like a lot, but you can build it up gradually as you do different projects. Any more questions on the specifics, just ask!