Prepping Models with a Razor Blade

Currently, I have a number of projects waiting for completion as I’m getting ready for a fall FREMO:87 meeting in Germany. Among the cars on my workbench are three DB Snps719 flatcar models that were first made by Märklin and Fleischmann in the 1990s. As one can expect from models of this vintage, a number of parts, such as buffer mounting plates and steps, are molded on the main body. These details will need to be removed before separately applied detail parts can be added.

An Xacto Knife Didn’t Cut It

Removing these molded parts without compromising the surface of the model has always been a challenge for me. Usually, I tried using an Xacto knife for this but time and time again I would gouge the model’s surface. These nicks would remain visible even after applying a new coat of paint.

The Razor Blade Is My New Favorite Tool

When I was at the Amherst Railroad Hobby Show last winter, I bought a bag of straight edge razor blades of the kind that are used in the Chopper cutting tool. I started experimenting with the razor and realized that it is the perfect tool for shaving off molded on parts without leaving much of a trace. The trick is to tip the thick end of the blade slightly up so that the angled cutting edge moves absolutely parallel to the work surface. The shaving motion must be performed slowly and evenly, taking off layer after layer.

Below is an image of an Snps719 frame after the razor blade treatment along with a shot of the subsequently applied detail parts. Next, the buffer plate and step will be painted. The car will be ready for service on an era IV FREMO:87 layout once spring-loaded buffers and original couplers are added.

Märklin/Fleischman Snps719 prepared with a razor blade.

While working with my new favorite tool, I’ve also discovered that a razor blade is very handy for bending small photo etched parts.

Do you have any additional applications for this tool? Leave a comment to share your experience.

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