Recommended tools


Do NOT be put off by this list – tools can be acquired over a long period – they just make things easier.
A lot of them are just DIY stuff – most serious modellers will probably have a lot of this stuff anyway.

Some say only buy the best. Sadly price is not always a guarantee of quality.                   
A lot of the more common items below can be bought cheaply on ebay - whilst not always the best quality, they are often good enough.                    
My most used set of 6 screwdrivers (short ones fitting into a fat handle) were bought for £1 in Woolworths 30 years ago - still in daily use.                   

Tools for G1 etched railway model construction

Primarily solderedPrimarily glued
Soldering
Gas torches
large – DIY store typeessentialoptional
mediumpreferableoptional
small needle torchrarely usedoptional
Soldering iron50Wessentialessential – there are still some things you need to solder
a temperature display is nice, just so you can see when it is hot enough
Resistance soldereressentialoptional
Pencil sharpener for sharpening resistance electrodes
box cutter knife (throw away blade type) for trimming back the copper sheath on the resistance electrodes before sharpening them
lighter for gas torches
gas for torches
Drilling out etches
Pin visesuseful
Small drill setessential
Tapping size drillsessential
countersinkessential
Broachesessentialeasier to use than small drills, harder to lose or break
hand drillessential
A pin vise is a good alternative for holes in etches that need to be cleared out. Broaches are better still for this.
power drill – various types can be usedoptional
Taper reameressentialuseful for opening up holes in etches – use BEFORE cutting the part out of the fret
Cutting parts out of fret
small chiselessentialsee Xuron cutter
small hammeressential
assorted files (needle and larger)essential
box cutter knife (throw away blade type)essentialsee Xuron cutter
Xuron 170-II Micro-shear flush cutteressentialExcellent – replaces all except files for cutting parts out of fret (and even the file use is minimised)
That was what I originally thought, but the blades rapidly wore out – far too soft.
Now I mostly use a pair of scissors I bought on eBay at a cheaper price than the Xuron cutters, but had to grind the blades shorter to give enough leverage to cut the etch. I ended up with 3/4″ blades & 4″ handles. You may be able to find something better than does not require modifications – try searching for “medical scissors” on eBay (or Google shopping) – look for something with short blades and long handles – long blades are unsuitable as they require too much leverage
Rolling sheet metal
Extended jaws viseessential
small portable viseessential
various sizes of rod or large drillsessential
Bending strips and wire
round nosed pliersvery useful
needle nosed pliersessential
standard pliersvery useful
mole gripsvery useful
wire cuttersessential
Cutting wire
Brass or Nickel silverSide cuttersessential
Piano wireSide cuttersessentialTough and disposable (HSS if you can get it)
Piano wire will wreck (dent) most cutters
Carborundum or diamond disc in a rotary tool
Tapping holes in etches
8BA tapessential
10BA tapessential
tap wrench (or tapping stand, or pin vises)essential
Gripping etches
Vises – various – see aboveessential
Pliers – various – see aboveessential
Clamps – variousessentialstrong clothes pegs are useful – plastic (not for soldering) or wood
masking tapevery useful for temporarily holding things together – or use “hot tape” near soldering
metal strips for clamping whilst gas solderingessential
heat proof fingers would be good, failing that try an old thin leather glove or long finger nails.
Inserting & tightening nuts & bolts
Spannersboxuseful
nut spinnersessential6, 8, 10BA
flatessential
small adjustableuseful
Screwdriversjewellers – variousessential
larger onesessential
pearl gripsvery useful for getting screws into awkward positions
Cleaning etches
Fibre glass penessentialgreat for cleaning up surfaces
ditto – wirevery useful
ultrasonic cleanervery usefulneeds to be big to get a loco side in
citric acid crystalsvery usefulgreat for removing oxides after gas soldering or brazing
Scrapers – small chisel, jewelers screwdrivers – see above
Pushing the newly exposed end of freshly snapped box cutter knife blade is very effective
400 grit wet & dry paperessentialGives etch primer something to grip
Rivet punching
Rivet punch or pillar drillessentialA proper rivet punch works best
assorted punches and matching anvilsessential
Miscellaneous and consumables
digital calipersessential
small squareessential
Loctite – variousessentialYou will need a threadlocker grade for most screws/nuts and possibly a retainer grade for greater holding power
solder – variousessential
flux – variousessential
masking tapevery useful
spare carbon electrodes for resistance soldereressential
Loctite AA 326 adhesive & 649 activatorFor gluing joints – activator not normally needed
Loctite 7081 or 7063 cleanerFor removing excess Loctite AA 326 – BUT keep away from paint – makes a great paint stripper
Painting (and clean up after soldering/before gluing)
Clean metal surface with water/washing-up liquid (weak) – best done in ultrasound cleaner
Repeat above with water only – or clean with weak citric acid (TRY THIS) – Ikea do a suitable plastic box for aciid etch tank – “Samla” 29 x 28 x 14cms
NOTE:- citric acid appears to tarnish nickel silver – best avoided
Final wipe over (or soak) with IPA (Iso Propyl Alcohol) or Acetone to remove any residues
Fill all seams with plastic filler – just about to try Vallejo Plastic putty (alternatives?) – only 17ml
Prime with acid etch primer – apply with aerosol or airbrush –
NOTE:- acid etch primer needs something to grip (designed for steel) so abrade the surface first (400 grit paper) or sandblast. Abrading with sandpaper is best done BEFORE cutting any parts out of the etch.
Paint black **- apply with aerosol or airbrush
** except where main background colour is different – e.g. Boiler cladding, inside & outside frames etc, in which case use the appropriate colour
Apply gloss varnish so transfers will stick
Apply transfers
Spray satin varnish to protect transfers (or whatever varnish you want)
Note – make sure that all paints are compatible before applying
Applying transfers
MicroSolNot really needed on flat surfaces
MicroSet (or cheap white vinegar)
See separate instructions for applying transfers (Applying transfers – MicroSol and MicroSet usage)
Recommended reading
Larger Scale Model Railway Etched Kit BuildingPeter Smith
The Finishing TouchRobert Shephard
Air Brushing and spray painting manualIan Peacock
How (not) to paint a locomotiveChristopher Vine
Screw threads and twist drillsIan Bradley
Carr’s Soldering Handbook
Soldering and BrazingTubal Cain