A model railroad display, by its very nature, is miniature. The N scale is one of the smallest scale measurements with a ratio of 1:160. Small buildings nestle amongst the town, tiny people occupy the sidewalks, pocket-sized trees fill the landscape, and little trains run the tracks in model railroad layouts. Modeling is a work of art and demands talent in order to craft such a small scale. Items as miniature as these require assembly with the help of even smaller screws. Hardware this size can be a hassle to work with.
Even if a locomotive is fully assembled when purchased, it is fairly common for modelers to disassemble an engine for repair and maintenance. Developing an organization strategy will serve as an advantage when dealing with small model train hardware. In this video, NMRA Master Model Railroader Gerry Leone shares a technique for keeping the workbench organized when dealing with small nuts and bolts.
Tools for your Workbench
An ice tray is probably not a tool that comes to mind when you think of your model railroad workbench, but it can be beneficial to your workflow and efficiency. Gerry suggests having an ice cube tray within an arm’s reach when you plan to work on your engines. Ice cube trays are inexpensive, easy to find at a store, and result in a simple yet creative way to deal with clutter. The individual compartments will eliminate confusion between varying screws, nuts, and bolts. Gerry suggests labeling the ice tray compartments with numbers to make the process easier. You can place the screws in order as you take apart the engine and then when it comes time to reassemble you can work your way backwards.
Maintaining an organized workbench will reduce stress and increase productivity. Our instructors offer plenty of tips and suggestions regarding tools for your workbench. There are many organizational techniques that are inexpensive and easy. A little bit of preparation and organization can make the model railroad hobby even more enjoyable and fun.