Storage is a priority to be factored in when building a model railroad. We all end up with a lot of stuff that has to be kept somewhere. All those kits we plan to build—some day. All the stuff we don't dare throw out in case we need it—some day. All the tools we need to build something—right now. Where did I leave it last?I know it's somewhere on the layout, or my workbench.
I'm lucky. I acquired a set of drawers and a counter from a bank that was being remodelled. It weighed a ton and wasn't very pretty but it served me well in various configurations for years.
Many modelers have a tabletop, but no drawers. Lionel Strang came up with a great idea which he described in Model Railroader magazine in the September, 2008 issue.
Good way to keep items separated.
This is my way. I keep many of my tools in an automotive tool case. It rolls on casters so I can move it to where I'm working. The blue tool chest that sits on top has lined drawers for many of my smaller tools used for model building.
Modelling tools are kept in one shallow drawer, paint brushes in another. Larger drills, saws and other tools are kept in the lower storage compartments.
I find these tabletop cabinets (shown below) invaluable for storing small parts and keeping them separated. They are always within easy reach. Don't throw out pill containers. Use them for drill bits, small screws and coupler parts.
The plastic containers with the hinged lids (left) are great for keeping project parts separated when working on a model kit or locomotive.
Another form of rolling cabinet that I use under the layout are these plastic drawers from Home Depot or Wal-Mart. I use them to store scenery supplies and paints. Sometimes a drawer lined with felt is used as a "fiddle yard" under the layout.
One of my best carrying cases is an old fishing tackle box. I've used this for many years. I can take it wherever I'm working, whether it's my home layout or the club or a show we're attending. I just load it with the tools I think I'll need for the job.
Here's a great idea I picked up when visiting Ron Colpitt's layout in Orillia, Ontario. Ron has a large N scale layout with hundreds of freight cars and many locomotives. He has built a cabinet on castors with slots for cookie sheets. That's right, cookie sheets! You can buy them at the dollar store or Walmart. Make sure they are all the same size. It is possiblt to find some with non-slip surfaces or you could glue felt or shelf paper to the surfaces to protect the rolling stock from paint scratches. This works great for N scale and could even work for HO scale. It is not a solution for transporting rolling stock. It is designed for a "fiddle yard" under the layout or as extra staging.
For tool suggestions to help build your model railroad, go to my Tools page.
I was contacted by Nicolas Berardi who has a company making display cases for model railroaders. These cases look really interesting. Nicky wrote that they work great for steam engines, even the Big Boy. Also for diesel consists like ABBA's.
Here's the link to his website: Display Cases
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