Using Specialized Model Railroad Equipment: Styrene Scribers

Duration: 3:14

There are many tools and types of model railroad equipment that are multifunctional and can be used to tackle a variety of jobs on your layouts. The hobby knife, for instance, is perfect for cutting materials, scraping and cleaning train cars and structures, and creating various landscapes. For model railroad equipment like the hobby knife, we are infinitely grateful.

And then there are those tools that serve only one purpose, but they serve that purpose well. A great example of a single-job tool that should be in the belt of all serious model railroaders is the styrene scriber. In this lesson, we teach you what makes the styrene scriber and important piece of model railroad equipment important for a realistic model railroad layout, and show you how to get the most out of your scriber.

Benefits of single-job model railroad equipment

Depending on the type of layout you’re designing, the styrene scriber could be one of the most underrated pieces of model railroad equipment you have in your toolbox. As mentioned above, it serves only one purpose: scribing styrene. That may not sound like much, but chances are, if you’re like us, you’ll be doing a lot of scribing during your model railroading career.

To help you maximize your styrene scriber, NMRA Master Modeler Gerry Leone demonstrates the proper technique for using this model railroad equipment to take away small amounts of material from styrene and acetate on your layout. You’ll also get to see how these pieces of model railroad equipment can be utilized to scribe expansion joints and cracks into sidewalks and roads.

Later Gerry talks about why, although hobby knives are great for cutting objects, they aren’t meant to pull material from objects. With styrene scribers, you won’t get that V-shaped ridge and the line you draw will be unnoticeable to the touch, which Gerry emphasizes by painting India ink over his cuts. Take advantage of this special piece of model railroad equipment during your next build, you’ll be glad you did!

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