Best Investments for Model Train Enthusiasts

Whether you’re doing railway modeling for pastime or taking it on a serious level, you need to invest in modeling tools to make the task easier and faster. However, there are many options available, making it challenging to choose which ones are essential for your project and worth spending your money on. Remember, you don’t need to purchase everything you see in the store. To help you get the right tools, here’s a rundown of the best investments for your model train work.


Having different types of pliers is handy in railway modeling. Depending on the type of pliers, it can be used for cutting, holding parts in place as you glue or solder them, or twisting or inserting wires through holes. A good range of pliers will include needle-nose pliers, long-nose pliers, round-nose pliers, square jaws, and side cutters.


Drills are essential in constructing your baseboard. It helps you drill holes for the wires connecting to the motors, signals, leads, lighting, and other electronic parts. You can purchase a manual hand drill, but it may take time and effort. If you have extra money, invest in an electric drill instead as it is easier to use and results in more precise and neater holes.

Glue gun


If you want to stick parts immediately, then a glue gun is your best ally. You can use it to adjoin battery packs, motors, woods, or sceneries. Otherwise, utilize it to secure parts from moving as you plan your layout or drill them. Just devote extra caution as a glue gun can get very hot, burning you or specific materials. It is best to get a glue gun with adjustable temperature, high or low heat, which will allow you to use it for many more purposes on your project.


Getting a set of small screwdrivers is undoubtedly vital in your railway modeling tasks. Don’t let their thin size fool you, and these small tools can do many things. You can use them for levering materials into place, for putting or removing screws, and for prodding other parts so they may fit. More importantly, they help you access your models’ electronic components and service or repair them if needed.

Craft Knife

One of the most used tools by modelers, the craft knife is used for various tasks, such as cutting papers, plastics, and cards for the scenery works, and even for other materials, like foam, fabrics, and electrics. While scissors can do the job, craft knives provide better precision as it allows you to cut any needed material flat on the surface and achieve detailed or intricate shapes, without causing damage. With that said, spend on a good one, as you will surely use it a lot!



One of the best parts of railway modeling is the detailing and scenery works. What you need for these is a decent range of brushes to paint your model train, buildings, trees, rocks, and the backdrop. Sable hair brushes are the top choice as they hold their shape and point better. Nevertheless, you can still opt for synthetic brushes, as long as they are of good quality. The majority of the brushes today have been improved and can be great alternatives.

Pin Vise

If you need to drill holes that are too small for your hand drill or power drill to accomplish, pin vice is the tool that will get the job done. It is like a miniature hand drill, which can hold small drill bits, files, and reamers, but offers excellent control of the rotation, preventing damage to the material.


Rulers help achieve symmetry and correct measurement in railway modeling, be it in the tracks, buildings, locos, or scenery. Spend money on a good set of rulers, both metals and plastic ones and in different shapes and sizes, so you’ll have an appropriate ruler to use for each specific task. For instance, metal rulers will work on helping get straight cuts whilst avoid damage when cutting. Meanwhile, plastic ones are flexible and practical if you’re working on curved edges or surfaces.



Tweezers are handy in grooming, first aid, the kitchen, and a lot more areas. They are also as valuable for railway modeling, helping you pick up delicate items your fingers can’t hold, position small parts in place, remove splinters, and pull wires through the drilled holes. When purchasing tweezers, don’t settle on cheaper tweezers are usually made of poor quality metal that does not meet at the ends or vulnerable to bending. Purchasing high-quality ones will cost you a fraction but are meant to last.

Hack Saw

While your craft knife and scissors are great cutting tools, they may not work for stronger or material. When that happens, you need to invest in a good hack saw, which works on small pieces of plastic, wood, and metal. From cutting wires and tracks to making intricate adjustments, you will find the hacksaw practical to use.

Cutting Mat

Railway modeling involves a lot of cutting. However, don’t just cut materials anywhere you’d like to. Invest in a cutting mat that will protect your work surface, such as your w kitchen worktop or dining table, from any damage. Plus, it also prevents your craft knife or other blades and tools from dulling quickly, allowing you to use them for a longer time. You can purchase either a hard-surface or self-healing mat online or from most craft shops.

Soldering Equipment


Another must-have in your railway modeling toolkit is the soldering equipment. As you integrate the electronics into your project, you need to connect wires to signals, switches, and motors to make everything run. Plus, you can also use the soldering iron and solder to adjoin metal pieces. Add a brass wire holder or cleaner to avoid the rapid wear of your soldering iron.


Hammers are also suitable investments in railway modeling. You can use them in pushing pins and nails or in aligning or correcting mistakes. However, there are different types of hammers intended for specific purposes. For fine works, you need to get a pin hammer to knock in small tacks. On the other hand, a copper hammer is practical for forcing parts or bigger pins and nails without damaging them.


Electronic multi meter

Electrics serves as the “life force” of the railway model that keeps it running. That means you need to constantly check the voltage, resistance, and current using a multimeter to ensure that everything is fine-tuning. This tool is also vital in performing tests, checking continuity, troubleshooting motors, and fixing track connection issues.

Modeling Light

Something most modelers overlook is proper lighting. Adequate lights are needed as you work through the project to ensure that you can see the material clearly and be more precise with your actions. Working in poor light may cause stress to your eyes, eventually affecting your eyesight. Thus, unfortunately, stopping you from the hobby. Meanwhile, sufficient lighting is also valuable. It always you to display your model train layout properly and help you and your visitors not its beauty but all the hard work and time you devoted to the project.