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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Dec 3rd, 2016 08:27 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1876


If your new or second hand loco has been sitting for a while...

by David Jones

I recently bought a loco that had been out of production for some time. The grease in the gearbox looked OK but the valve gear was bone dry. I oiled my loco with Automatic Transmission Fluid and placed a tiny drop on the pickup wipers. Transmission Fluid is an excellent low viscosity lubricant that cleans any impurities and cleans oxides from the wipers as it contains cleaners. Running the train for a few feet and it ran fine!

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 Posted: Tue Dec 6th, 2016 08:56 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1877


Modelling Seaweed

by Vince Barbuto

For my module representing the beach near San Clemente in California (The "Surf Line" to San Diego), I made seaweed out of corn silk that I dried in the oven. I did try poly fibres but the natural colour of the corn silk suits my layouts locale and lighting effect.

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 Posted: Fri Dec 9th, 2016 11:58 am
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Hints & Tips No.1878


Modelling Seaweed

by Vince Barbuto

After attempting to dry moss, leaves, corn silk, etc. in the oven (often with disastrous results) I decided to try a food dehydrator. It works and with the ability to set the temperature from ambient up to 105ºC (221ºF), I can be fairly sure of killing off any unwanted mould and vermin with a 12 to 24 hour treatment.

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 Posted: Mon Dec 12th, 2016 11:40 am
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Hints & Tips No.1879


Mixing Model Paint... manually

by Bill Roach

An idea for stirring paint I have employed over the years is to open a new tin or bottle of paint and drop-in a small nut or ball bearing depending on the container. Seal the tin up again and shake the bottle/can. The new foreign object does the job of mixing-in the solid stuff.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 15th, 2016 10:35 am
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Hints & Tips No.1880


Mixing Model Paint... mechanically

by Bill Roach

I made a useful little gadget for my paint booth. It comprised of a small electric (12v) motor from something like an old cassette player, with an extended shaft made from a piece of square brass tubing. That extension was about 60mm long and in the end of it I cut a thin gap and inserted a piece of scrap brass from a etch sheet (DJH models); soldered in place...about 3mm x 10mm.

I connected the wires for the motor to my good old controller and place the jar of paint up so the "stirrer" was at the bottom of the jar. Hold the jar with one hand and operate the “throttle” with the other.....result was a proper-good mixed-up paint bottle.

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 Posted: Sun Dec 18th, 2016 07:26 am
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Hints & Tips No.1881


Showing your layout using a cheap technology

by Several Modellers

When showing visitors and visiting operators my layout, I use a cheap laser pointer to point to the areas I am talking about whether it be for a special item of rolling stock, a siding I want a vehicle shunted into, an area I want the train to stop at etc. I find that the visitors understanding of the layout is very much enhanced by using the pointer with the “tour”!

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 Posted: Wed Dec 21st, 2016 04:57 am
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  Hints & Tips No.1882


Attaching Kato or Ezi Track to your layout

by Several Modellers

If the track will sit flat and there is time, good old PVA applied in drops to the side will adequately hold the track to MDF and ply as well as foam. Heating it with warm water will also make the glue let go. Alternatively you could use Liquid Nails or Hot Melt Glue applied fairly liberally. You could also use caulking over using a glue. This creates a strong but flexible bond that also comes up pretty cleanly if you find the need.

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 Posted: Sat Dec 24th, 2016 01:23 am
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Hints & Tips No.1883


Uses for Whiteboards and Chalkboards on a layout

by Several Modellers

Several years ago my neighbour was throwing out some of his children’s no longer needed toys and games. One item was an easel with a chalkboard on one side and a grease pencil board on the other side. I painted 3 vertical lines on both sides for the names of train operators, the decoder addresses being used, the track in use and direction of travel. I took it up to my club and we use it to avoid problems during ops sessions at meetings. (Daniel Girdler)

At the club we use a dry-erase board for the crew sign-up board, a larger one for the train lineup, and also one in the yard office to keep track of current track assignments which changes as trains arrive and depart based on current requirements and number of cars. (Chris Van Der Heide)

I keep track of which trains are where in hidden staging. (Chris Beasley)

Whiteboards are also handy to write down items you may need to order for a project. I am always losing Sticky notes! (Pat Vincent)



From Trevor


Merry Xmas everyone!!!

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 Posted: Mon Dec 26th, 2016 10:57 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1884


Street signs on a layout

by Ray Hutton

I used to have street signs on my previous layout, but they were just typed up labels (in the smallest size) on white card stock, stuck on wire 'poles'. My new modules will follow the 'new' White On Green layout of my area. In my case Capital letters are 6" high, lower case 4.5" high (~0.069" & ~0.052" actual size respectively). This should be clearly viewable close-up in HO scale, particularly when printing at 600dpi or better.

Obviously if you are modelling periods earlier than the turn of this century, your signs' format, typeface, and mounting hardware will vary.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 29th, 2016 10:40 am
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Hints & Tips No.1885


Rolling Country Scenery – another lesson in recycling

by Tom Kincheloe

I am working on trying for rolling country scenery using those net-type bath balls ($1-$2 at WalMart) for bathing when I shower. After a while they become too loose to use and I would just throw them away and get a new one. However, lately I have been saving a few of those bath balls (or whatever they're called) and looked at the plastic netting material. I cut the string that holds them, clean them well, and then stretch them out over some wadded up newspaper for shaping into rolling forms. I could spray them with a water/white glue mix a few times to stiffen the netting and then apply either paper mache' (strips of paper dipped in watered down plaster mix) or apply thin plaster, layer by layer, until I get a nice firm "rolling hills" form for landscaping. The net material is very thin and allows easy trimming with scissors or a cutter and can be punctured with a nail or punch for inserting trees. Just a thought on how to use something around the house that is inexpensive and saves on landfill.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 1st, 2017 12:24 am
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Hints & Tips No.1886


Painting Rust Streaks and Patches

by Several Modellers

When weathering to show Rust streaks and patches and pits, I tend to use burnt umber and burnt sienna artist oils for that. For streaks, you can use a brush. For spots and patches of rust, tear up a cosmetic sponge and dab small amounts on. You would probably want to knock most of the paint off by dabbing it on a scrap of cardboard first, sort of like dry brushing. (Steven Sutcliffe)

One addition to what Steve described re using artists oils. Paint thinner can be used to create the rust streak that is caused by rain running down the sides of the cars below the rust spot. Once the rust 'spot' has dried mostly, use a small amount of thinner to 'draw' the rust streak down the side. Less is more or you will just wash the rust spot off. (David Welshman)

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 Posted: Tue Jan 3rd, 2017 10:12 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1887


Recycling Old Ballasted Track

by Patrick Stanley

I had access to some code 100 track that had been torn up from an old layout in a hobby shop. It was equipped with paint, ballast, broken ties and all sorts of cosmetic faults. These worked to my advantage as I laid this track in my yards and once reballasted etc the blemishes turned into a lot of character for the yard tracks.

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 Posted: Fri Jan 6th, 2017 09:56 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1888


Removing Track set in cork

by Dave Starr

What I found to be quite quick at removing the track and then the underlaying cork (also set in caulk) was to use a Dremel multi-tool. The oscillating scraper gets under the track (even that track that has been ballasted/glued) and will cut through any track feeders.   t least it cut through the 22 gauge feeders I used. One trick I found using the tool is the sides slice better that just trying to use the nose of the scraper. It was particularly efficient at removing the cork, although only the track was salvageable, not the cork.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 9th, 2017 12:11 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1889


Using “Authentic for era” pictures of building insides Pt 1

by Several Modellers

Many people try to emulate their eras with “authentic” shop scenes. My own layout dates to the 1950's. The buildings in my scenes are at least 12 inches from viewer. The rooms have a light( LED) in ceiling to brighten them up a bit but the rooms themselves are only a little over 1 inch deep. The cut-outs I use for their insides came from one of my wife’s girlie or home decorating magazines. I go through them and save photos for future use. When a building is very close to viewer the content of the photo is a bit more important. If the building is at a distance, say greater than 24 inches, the contents are really not all that important. The photo creates the perception that there is something in the building as you really cannot see what it is clearly. Having it somewhat out of the time period is not a big issue. The internet is also a source of good pictures for such applications. (George Paxon)

I have had some luck with interior photos of restored structures in historical parks. These are as coloured as you can photograph them. (Larry Huber)

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 Posted: Thu Jan 12th, 2017 09:21 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1890


Using “Authentic for era” pictures of building insides Pt 2

by Mike Bauers

A more arcane method to get store building interiors is to use any of the simulator games like the Sims series. You set up the interior and make a full screen capture through the front wall from any angle that looks good.

There are also several low priced and even free interior decorator or design-your-kitchen type of programs out there that can do the same.

There are some completely set up vintage buildings in Sims 4 which I have and exploring the games town founders mansion gets some good residential interior shots from the antique home. Keep in mind that you can change the camera angle and rotation to make your screen shot square to the walls and interior.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 15th, 2017 09:46 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1891


Using “Authentic for era” pictures of building insides Pt 3

by George Ball

What I have done is find an image I like from a Google Search. Figure out the dimensions of the window on the building. Then shrink the image to fit the window. Print it. All of my buildings have acrylic windows. When I cut the image out from the paper I leave a little extra around the shrunken image so I can glue it behind the “glass”. All the buildings have lights as well and since the paper is thin, you can see the image pretty good at night.

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 Posted: Wed Jan 18th, 2017 10:00 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1892


Weathering Track Pt 1

by Ron Solly

I usually paint the whole track - sleepers & rail with a flat/matt dark brown acrylic, wiping the rail heads as I go to remove plastic look & the shine off the rails. I then paint the rail sides a rusty colour but if I miss any, then the dark brown is still there. For sleepers, I use weathering powders on my fingers & run it up & down between the rails and this helps to weather the ballast. I should say that I do not paint or weather the track until I have had a few running sessions to make sure the plan is what I want for operational purposes.



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 Posted: Sat Jan 21st, 2017 12:14 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1893


Weathering Track Pt 2

by Trevor Wright

I use a technique that was originally shown to me by Richard Johnson of DCC Concepts fame. The basic colouring is done before the track is laid.

Firstly I spray the track with good old Halford's grey primer and wipe it off the tops and inside edges of the rails before it dries.

Once that has dried I 'slosh' various diluted water based wood stains over the lot (mahogany & walnut give a good basic colour) and again wipe it off the tops and inside edges of the rails.

Finally I run some Dark Oak wood stain onto the sleepers only (down the centre of the track and on the ends of the sleepers). This then gives me a basic weathered rail (reddish brown) with the sleepers a darker colour but the grey primer shows through the stain so you get the grey/brown colour of weathered wood.

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 Posted: Tue Jan 24th, 2017 12:46 am
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Hints & Tips No.1894


Using Graphite to maintain clean track

by Several Modellers

I was chatting to a layout operator at an exhibition and commented on the smooth running of his little 0-4-0 (O gauge) shunter over the point work and he explained that he used an artists graphite block to rub over the rails it does two things.

When you clean the rails with an abrasive block it creates small scratches which fill with dirt and that attracts more dirt. Graphite fills these scratches and is conductive. It must be pure graphite as a pencil will not work as well. Also for some reason it helps keep the track clean repelling dirt. (Peter Garnett)

Graphite works well for me. particularly on the points of contact on turnouts/switch points. I applied graphite to my layout about three months ago ,and still works well. (Reg Wildman)

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 Posted: Thu Jan 26th, 2017 09:40 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1895

Preventing Solder from flowing too far using Graphite

by Several Modellers

Another use for graphite is when soldering, use a soft B pencil or graphite stick where you do not want the solder to go. Useful in track building and jumper wire attachment. (Nigel Bowman)

A way that I use when soldering around threads, BA screws etc in particular, is to use an indelible pen on the threads or any are I do not want solder to go. Stops the solder from taking to those surfaces. (Peter Garnett)

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