Part 1 – Tools for Railway Modelling – Painting

I’ve decided to split this over a couple of pages as I have a lot to say. Part 2 will be published in a few days and can be found here

It’s often assumed that you need lots of expensive tools to do model building. However for the large part that couldn’t be further from the truth. A lot of the items I am going to be list can be picked up very cheaply in your local shops. As a firm believer in seeking out good value – I am a Yorkshireman after all, a number of items have also come from eBay at 99p each.

There are a few items where I firmly believe that you can’t afford to skimp on quality, and I will cover these as we go along.


Let’s start with a freebie – coffee stirrers. I have a massive pot of these wooden pieces of hate as they are often described. Mine have all come from a well know high street bakers that originated in Newcastle – others are available of course. Truly a multi purpose item, I use them for stirring paint, whilst others use them as a building material. Once cut to size they are great for scaffolding boards and crossings amongst other things.

Sicking with paint there are a number of other items I use a lot of. Plastic pipettes being one. These are popular when ballasting for dispensing your glue. They are also great for dispensing thinners when mixing paint. Often quite pricey at model shows, if you don’t mind waiting a few days for delivery you can get 30 for 99p on eBay.

Really fine details need a good and fine brush to pick out. Or as I often use a fine cocktail stick. These represent very good value from local shops and online, and can be treated as disposable items without damaging the environment. Like many of my modelling items a pack of 200 finer ones can be picked up online for 99p inc P&P

As a personal preference I also find the humble cocktail stick good for glueing. It’s main benefit being the fact that it is small and fine. Consequently it is easy to restrict the amount of glue you can apply at one time. Less glue equals less waste, and obviously a much neater job!


I have a choice of two modes of working for mixing paint. If I am mixing for it to go in the airbrush, then I will use a disposable shot glass. These can be purchased for approx £2 for a pack of 40. Although it may seem like I am stating the obvious, make sure you buy the clear ones. Neon plastic may look funky but it’s hard to tell at times what colour paint you have mixed.

Alternatively if I am setting up for brush work I use a traditional paint pallette.

Again, this is an item that doesn’t have to be fancy, mine cost £1 from the nearest high street store. Different designs and styles are widely available of course.

I also have a small pad of white paper handy for painting . Great for spreading the paint out to make sure you happy with the colour. I also use it to hold up up photos to compare.