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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Mon Mar 27th, 2017 10:32 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1916



Making Mesh Windows for Factories and Warehouses

by Several Modellers

If you have room for oversized windows inside a building you might consider the fine mesh material called toile or tulle, Comes in colors at any fabric shop. making the plastic (representing the glass) bigger than the frame you can glue this material on the backside. Perhaps seal it in using Testor's Dullcoate or similar clear fixative. Might then look ok as mesh in the glass when viewed from the outside. (Harry Porter)

Take an image of a photo or image from the web and make a collage of it using "Paint" and print it on inkjet or laser Overhead transparency (Trevor Gibbs)

I just test printed the 8-panel window at 10-percent which seems to be N-scale industrial window size. It looks good. It also looks like you would have to have your real nose almost touching the scale window to be close enough to see the wire grid. Thats the scale distance that the wires would be visible to an observer in the first place. Bottom line is that the photo-printed windows look very good. (Mike Bauers)

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 Posted: Wed Mar 29th, 2017 10:12 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1917

Metal Wheels vs Plastic, Body Mount Couplers vs Truck-mount/Bogie Mounting

by Kevin Beasley

Truck-mount couplers, such as those found on older Triang, Tyco and Life-Like models, are more prone to derailments when backing, because the forces on the couplers are translated to rotational forces on the trucks/bogies themselves. Body-mount couplers when pushed generate forces which are mostly longitudinal along the car body.




Metal wheelsets help in a couple of ways.  They are a little bit heavier, and since all the weight is at the bottom of the car, they help with keeping the centre of gravity down. More important, perhaps, is the lower rolling resistance of metal against rail. If you are pushing a string of plastic-wheel cars, there are a lot more forces applied along the couplers than if you are pushing metal-wheel cars. Even with body-mount couplers, some of that force is lateral when you are pushing cars through a curve, and that can lead to derailments.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 5th, 2017 12:53 am
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Hints & Tips No.1918

Suggesting Life on your layout rather than using heaps of figurines.

by John Busby

I use very few figures. I prefer to suggest life around the railway with such things as the bike leaning on the signal cabin steps etc. I find a lot of the figures available spoil the scene because they look like they should be moving and of course they are static. I do not put “millions” of people on my station platforms either as it may be only like that ten minutes at a time during “rush hours”.


As this is being written, I have a grand total of seven carefully selected people on my layout and one waiting to be painted. I am still looking for Jack the station cat who will be curled up asleep on top of a baggage trolley. None of my figures have a paving slab on them I have some unknown manufacture rubbery ones that a spray of artists varnish dissolved the glue holding the base on they are just held in place with a tiny bit of PVA the rest are white metal figures with a spigot moulded on one of the feet so the have a hole they stand in again a little spot of PVA just to hold them in place.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 07:23 am
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Hints & Tips No.1919

Rescaling a layout

by Several Modellers

Unless you are planning a shelf layout when planning a layout especially for a beginner, logic may tell you that a track plan in O scale that fits a 10' x 20' area if replicated in HO or OO will fit a 5' x10' area. There are plenty of pitfalls to this end. For example Clearances between tracks. Any aisles and access openings and access needs might be too tight and humans do not scale downwards to fit the available area.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 12th, 2017 11:19 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1920

Installing a Backdrop

by Jim Fitch

Newer modellers in particular may get some brilliant benchwork done but before you go too far, you might want to put up some hardboard on the wall above the benchwork for a back drop. I built a layout in a close environment where the wall was grey concrete block - I added some stud walls from floor to ceiling which did double duty in that it formed the back of the benchwork and I could attach hardboard or masonite to it for a back drop.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 15th, 2017 10:41 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1921

Cheap Road Way Materials

by Several Modellers

A good material for gravel is crushed shell grit. You can buy bags of grit very cheaply from the pet store, and it's easy to crush it finer by wrapping it in a rag and hitting it with a hammer. That is what I do. Then I sift it through gauze and separate the various grades. That might sound like hard work, but it really is not, and you will be glad you did it. (Mike Christensen)

For dirt roads, I use crushed clay cat litter sifted depending on scale. The larger pieces double as talus at the roadside. (Trevor Nithsdale)


For dirt roads, I have been using fine sand and dry-brushing tyre tracks with acrylic paints. Heavier concentrations of paint look like compacted dirt and/or dried mud. (Rob Spangler)

I have used "Brick Paver Sand" for my gravel roads and lots. You can get it at a landscape dealer that sells landscape rocks & brick pavers. I strain it thru various size strainers and seperate into different sizes. I glue it down with diluted matte medium. It will get a little darker after it dries, but you could dry brush it to get different shades etc. (Richard Harden)

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 Posted: Tue Apr 18th, 2017 10:51 am
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Hints & Tips No.1922

Making Ruts in Dirt Roads

by Several Modellers

I made the with the end of a large spoon pressing it hard into the almost dried dirt that was saturated with a mix of white glue and water. The dirt is glued to thin cork that was painted grey. I now regret not painting the base a darker tone than that of the dirt/gravel but the effect is OK. (Demi Giorgio)

For ruts, you might consider running an old model truck or car back and forth along the road, some in a slightly different radius in the turn. That would give you the right width and curves of what your models would do if they were real. (Jerry Mann)

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 Posted: Fri Apr 21st, 2017 10:19 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1923

Making Shingle and Textured Roofing

by Several Modellers

A piece of cardboard cut from a cereal box, some printer paper, and set of pinking shears can produce a very convincing shingle roof. (Tracy McKibben)

Colour print a roof texture onto to thicker paper (like the back of an old Christmas card?) Colour the edges with a coloured pencil/felt-tip pen. Free colour "textures" suitable for roofs are available from several websites. (John Garaty)

A quick shed roof can be as simple as cardstock cut to fit. I then overlay with strips from a brown paper bag to simulate strips of rolled roofing.  Brush on weathered black and finish with a little chalk for texture and highlights. (Geoff Nagle)

A cheap roof material which can be added on top of a styrene or card stock roof would be superfine sandpaper, the finer the better. It is sold at any hardware store and are usually very very cheap. (Greg Speed)

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 Posted: Tue Apr 25th, 2017 05:50 am
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Hints & Tips No.1924

Making Use of “not so good” vehicles that could not even go under tarpaulins...

by Terry Wildman

I took some "really bad" old vehicles (the kind you find at yard sales and under the table at train shows) and crushed them in a vice to simulate vehicles that are on their way to the recycler. After I crush them in the vice, I fill the hollow body with modelling clay to make a pattern, then make a mould and cast some extras. I then stack them 3 or 4 high, and two deep, on a flatbed semi trailer and tie them down with thread (cable) or chain. As long as the vehicles are close to scale size-HO, N, etc. no one will ever know what they started out as. You can use the same vehicle more than once if you want to make more than one load.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 28th, 2017 11:44 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1925

If you do not have any “not so good” vehicles but want to make a car scrap yard...

by Terry Wildman

Another thing that you can do is take heavy duty aluminium foil and form it over some of your better models, then peel it off, to make a junk yard scene in an abandoned lot. You can also cut parts off some of the "really bad" vehicles for a junk yard, such as fenders.

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 Posted: Mon May 1st, 2017 10:43 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1926

Taking the contrast out of your plain staging yards Pt 1

by Bruce Dodd

Use those leftover walls from old kits as building flats on the back wall. A simple road with re-railer crossings will make your staging area easier to use. Use dull flat colours on the board and back area to keep the attention on the trains.

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 Posted: Thu May 4th, 2017 10:13 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1927

Taking the contrast out of your plain staging yards Pt 2

by Delmar Raymond

I have a staging yard situation visible to the main line area which begs decorating of some kind. I have used this as an opportunity to practice different scenery and ballast techniques that I plan to use on my main layout. If the new techniques and materials work out, I will use them on the layout... if they do not work out then I can try something else.

Better to practice and work out the bugs on a less important scene than on the main layout.

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 Posted: Sun May 7th, 2017 10:55 am
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Hints & Tips No.1928

Painting Cork

by Matt Picciotto

I give my cork roadbed a scenery or ballast colour base of paint before putting down track. A lot of moisture is applied when securing the ballast so it may act as a water proofer but do it so that if your ballast were to get chipped, the cork would not show as cork.

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 Posted: Wed May 10th, 2017 06:47 am
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Hints & Tips No.1929

Fine Screen Mesh Source

by Several Modellers

If you need model fine screen mesh as I did, you can try cutting it out of cheap coffee strainers which are used in lieu of paper filters. (Peter Herron)

f you check with a hardware store that repairs screen doors or makes custom window screen, you might be able to score free remnants, or perhaps some torn screen from a door or window screen that they were fixing. (Russ Bellinis)

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 Posted: Sat May 13th, 2017 03:56 am
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Hints & Tips No.1930

If You Are Using a Foam Base With Gaps

by Several Modellers

The idea is to get the two mating surfaces as close to the same plane as possible. However, you will have some variance, and their edges may not be square, so there will be an obvious gap between them. What I do is to make some attempt to plug the gap so that whatever you use over the gap does not get wasted down where the sun does not shine....filling the gap. For example, using ground foam for that can get rather pricey.

I would place a bead of latex caulk, or anything similar that you have handy and open already, and draw a wet finger across the top of the bead. Let it cure. After that, you can make it look really good, if flat and somewhat unrealistic, by sprinkling sifted dirt or a suitable terrain material, even zip texturing, over the entire area. The gap will disappear and you can then cover the sprinkled material with ground foam. But I did say it will look unrealistically flat.
So, you can place shallow blobs of something, more sifted dirt, here and there, or build a bit of a berm, say, and cover that with ground foam and brushes. (Crandell Overton)

To hide the seams between foam sheets or layout sections, I used two-inch wide masking tape to cover the joint. Make sure the foam is pretty clean of dust and dirt or the tape won't stick well. The tape can be painted the same as the foam. (Eric Hansmann)

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 Posted: Mon May 15th, 2017 11:28 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1931

Painting with Cocktail Sticks

by Brendan Aggeler

Toothpicks, also called cocktail sticks apparently, have proven to be wonderfully useful. The fine points make them an excellent tool for precisely painting small details. Handrails, doorknobs, rivets, people miniatures and the details thereupon... All those tiny little things where even a small brush can feel clumsy. They are all the more helpful if you do not even have a brush with a small tip.

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 Posted: Fri May 19th, 2017 12:16 am
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Hints & Tips No.1932

Avoiding Finger prints on paint jobs

by Andrew Castle

I wear gloves while painting but they just annoy me when decalling so I do not wear them. After decalling is done, I put on a pair of gloves and wipe down the model with a lint-free cloth wet with distilled water. You can also use Q-tips to reach any areas you cannot get at with the cloth, just watch out for fuzzies left behind by the Q-tip. Let the model dry from its wipe-down and make sure you wear gloves until you get your clear coat or dullcote sprayed.

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 Posted: Mon May 22nd, 2017 09:20 am
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Hints & Tips No.1933

Weathering Locomotive wheels

by Max Leonard

When weathering locomotive wheels I use Testors paint pens, and a 9 volt battery. Either roof brown, railroad tie brown, rail brown, or multiple passes of each.

1) Lay your loco on its side (on a sheet of soft foam).
2) Press the 9-volt battery to each wheel on one of the powered axles to turn the wheels.
3) Touch the paint pen to each of the rotating wheels.

With a little practice, it only takes about 30 seconds to complete each side of a 6-axle diesel.

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