How to outmanoeuvre the carpet monster

Preventing model making tool and part loss

In the threads of my carpet lives a monster.

He’s grumpy, bad-tempered and loves nothing better than to grab the tiny parts of my models that I occasionally drop and scurry away with them, hiding them so they are never seen again.

Screws, nuts, couplers, lights, soldering iron tips and plastic kit parts have all fallen prey to the little critter.

It’s a hazard all modelers face.

We’re working at our modelling desk or workbench when some tiny part rolls off onto the floor, or we drop something.

That’s it.



In the worst case, it can mean having to buy a whole new model as the missing part will, of course, be critical to the build but impossible to replicate or replace individually.

Some time ago I was replacing the couplers on my wagons and in the process of fitting them, I lost three of them.  Frustrating, expensive and annoying.

You can imagine my delight when, while reading posts in the The Grumpy Old Scale Modelers Group, I came across a post by fellow modeler Richard van Kempen on his defence against the floor dwelling beasty.

It’s a long apron that hangs between the neck and workbench and so catches any parts or tools that drop or fall. It denies the carpet monster his prize while saving tiresome crawling around on hands and knees to find missing bits.

Any long apron will do and I’d glue Velcro fasteners to the underside of my workbench and bottom of the apron to allow it to be easily attached and removed.

Thanks for the wonderful idea Richard.

Photo reproduced here by kind permission of Richard van Kempen.

PS: If you’re plagued by real carpet monsters, insects and the like, in your model railways, this article on how to keep insects off your model railway, may be of interest.

Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.
  1. When working with small parts I work on a tray about 300mm x 200mm that has a 5mm vertical lip. I’m not sure now where it came from but it is predominantly made of cork. Any dropped screws or rivets are prevented from falling or bouncing on to the floor most of the time.

    • Sounds very useful Tony. I nearly made something similar once from an old tea-tray but the cork to stop things bouncing is a great idea. Andy

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