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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Thu Jan 25th, 2018 03:10 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2016
Making a Whip Antenna and other ersatz details
by Malcolm Baker
The nylon joiners that are used for pairs of shoes and socks can be used to make ersatz detail parts into whip antennas for service vehicles and some locomotives. The nylon end bulbs can be used for representing gyralights or “firecracker antennas”.


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 Posted: Sat Jan 27th, 2018 05:53 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2017
Making a Simple Jig to make Tinning Wire Easier
by Bill Brillinger
I made a simple jig to hold my wires especially for droppers while I tin them. I drilled a short length strip of plywood with a few holes slightly bigger than the wire, and nail the plywood to a short length of 2x1 (45x19mm) to act as a stand. I thread the stripped wires into the holes and use the block/plywood stand as a third hand and no warm wires to hold.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 29th, 2018 01:59 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2018
A cast iron pipe as a paint stand
by Jason Reis
When airbrushing, a good stand really helps. I find cast iron pipe works great. Use a short piece with one end threaded and put a base flange on it. It is sturdy and stable and $5! Then just blue tack your models to the top end of the pipe.


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 Posted: Thu Feb 1st, 2018 03:29 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2019
Cleaning the Mess
by Charles Hepperle

Here is a way to keep messy stuff from causing problems. I made it after fine powder and unpleasant fumes from a solid-cast resin HO vehicle suggested it would be best to work outdoors with a respirator and have
something to contain the dust for easy clean-up afterward.
I used a heavy-duty corrugated cardboard box that was just large enough to comfortably work inside. Mine is 20" (500mm) on the long dimension with a 12" (300mm) depth and width. It was a clean box that apples had been shipped in. To allow more light in, I cut an opening in the top and attached a piece of scrap clear acrylic sheet with a hot-melt glue gun. It works really well. A second use for the box is to contain overspray when doing small, and I mean small, airbrush jobs with water-based paint. After swabbing it out with a damp rag to get rid of dust, you can do a little spraying – say weathering one pair of trucks – without having
to use a formal paint spray booth. The waxing of the box makes cleanup very easy and when the box is “spent” just recycle the lid onto another box!


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 Posted: Sun Feb 4th, 2018 03:30 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2020
Stopping Vehicles from Rolling
by Several Modellers
I held a motor tool roughly parallel with the rails and made a slight dip that was the same radius as my freight cars wheels (a smooth notch) in each rail. The notch should be just big enough so that the first wheel of a car or cars on the siding will rest there and will not roll past it unless it is pulled by a loco. (Richard Morrison)
I have a steep grade where I need to set out cars. I drilled a hole beside the rail big enough to fit the stick part of a cotton-tipped applicator. I positioned the hole in front of a fence post so I could find it. When I stop the train, I put the dowel in the hole and back the train slowly so the car on the uphill side of the grade rests against it. That also bunches the slack so I can uncouple. When the locomotive returns and couples to the train, I pull ahead slightly to make sure it coupled and remove the stick. It works great and is hardly noticeable. (Brian Green)
At a local club we have several "blue flags" for industries. They are pins with a blue plastic handle. Those are pinned into the middle of the track when cars are left at industries, particularly at industries where cars would roll to foul the main if left without being secured. (James Ogden)

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 Posted: Wed Feb 7th, 2018 02:35 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2021
“Rusting” Link Fencing
by Several Modellers
To avoid filling the holes with paint, I use a Brown India Ink. You can get it at art shops around my part of the world. India Ink is well, thin. The India Ink does not add thickness or rigidity to the chain, and adds a great effect. I usually do multiple applications to get the effect I like. (Michael Watson)
I take brown, orange, black and red chalks to a piece of sandpaper to get powder.  Mix together and dip brush into Iso alcohol and dab primered/flat black/grey chain.  When you get desired effect seal with cheap hairspray and dry with hair dryer. (Jim Mulvaney)


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 Posted: Sat Feb 10th, 2018 02:06 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2022
Blue Rope Led Lighting as Night simulation
by Daniel Rust

I use blue rope lights along my ceiling in my train room. shut off the main lighting and its night time but you can still see to operate and it’s nice to see it looks like the real world with all the building lights


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 Posted: Tue Feb 13th, 2018 12:05 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2023
Some Green Scenic Hints
by Several Modellers
Use fibre optic cables to illuminate tunnels, buildings, and other accessories. This reduces the number of bulbs or LED’s needed, therefore electrical current usage.
Recycle wine corks. You could paint them to look like industrial shapes storage tanks, pillars, bases, etc Place a small brad tack in the end and they can be picked up by magnet at end of crane or derrick. Mushroom shaped champagne corks can be painted and coated to be transformed into trees, shrubs, etc.
Split rubber or vinyl or PVC tubing down the middle to create troughs or gutters or aquaducts that are easily contoured and in larger scales or outdoors, you could use real water in them.


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 Posted: Fri Feb 16th, 2018 12:18 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2024
Easy Chimney
by Brian Pretty
A 1/4 sq dowel or plastic rod (preferably recycled) painted brick red. Make horizontal lines with a very fine marker 1/16″ apart than make vertical lines in a staggered pattern looking like laid brick. Top with a 1/4 in piece of round toothpick painted black. You can then top off the toothpick with a piece of cotton ball touched with a grey marker to look like smoke.


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 Posted: Mon Feb 19th, 2018 11:38 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2025
Recycling Plastic Tube
by Trevor Gibbs
The local hardware store often gives out promotional balloons on plastic rods which are often in the car park with balloon attached. These can be used for point rodding ( which I use a lot as I use mechanical rods rather than point motors), as a conduit for wiring protection, as small culvert pipe under track or roads, a flag pole in a larger scale, pipe loads in various scales, Pipes to a fuel loader, Down pipes in larger scale houses, cut to length for barrels and/or cans in larger scales and (although I have not actually tried this at time of writing) an armature for tall trees after it gets a skin coat to represent bark.


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 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2018 12:34 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2026
Scratch Building with Scale Timber Tips
by John Everard

For adhesive when I am scratchbuilding with North East timber etc, I use yellow carpenters glue when working with wood. I bought a 16-ounce bottle, for its applicator tip, and then I refill it from a one-gallon jug. I purchased these at a home improvement centre.
To prevent warping I use weights as much as possible while the sections are drying. I learned that if you cover your work area with wax paper, carpenters glue will set and any over spill from gluing will peel away from the wax paper. If I use spring clamps I cover the clamp faces with green masking tape that resists the glue from sticking to it.
As far as staining I feel it should be done before assembly. I use a one-gallon zip top freezer bag (thicker than the standard zip top bag), put the items to be stained in and add as much stain as I want. I then shake thoroughly to achieve the desired result and then with Nitrile gloves I remove the pieces to several layers of newspaper to dry. If the stain is too thick you can always wipe off the excess with a gloved hand.


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 Posted: Sun Feb 25th, 2018 02:07 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2027
Checking for derailments at points
by Elias Thienpont

Sometimes when a derailment occurs at a switch point, particularly when pushing a rake of vehicles, the wheel is off the rail BEFORE it gets to the turnout. The turnout simply dumps it off of the tracks so that the problem becomes obvious. Stop the train BEFORE it gets to the turnout, and check all of its wheels. Are they all on the tracks going into the switch? A problem elsewhere can set up a fail at the switch. I have found

by Dave Nelson
Sometimes the turnout is blameless; a friend had constant derailments at a particular turnout but on closer examination he had made an error cutting the flex track leading to that turnout and created a kink, even though the rail ends met just fine. This is very easy to do particularly if you cannot get your head into position to "squint" down the track and see such kinks the joints right before the wheels enter the point as being the most likely cause but slight undulations can also have a negative effect on the tracking of your wheels.


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 Posted: Wed Feb 28th, 2018 12:04 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2028
Checking for derailments in any area
by Dave Nelson

I have a few testing things I do when checking an area for derailments. If I add a weight to the car temporarily does it still derail? If not, that does not necessarily mean the car is under weighted (it might of course - or that the weight is skewed or not centred). Rather it may have to do more with the tracking of the wheel/truck combination.
If I press the vehicle down with my finger (not too much) and run it repeatedly through the turnout, do I feel anything? Grains of ballast that interfere with the flanges can be felt that way. So can issues with the guardrails. You often can also feel wheel wobble even if you cannot easily see it. You will of course feel the impact of the wheels going through the frog but that is normal.


If I push the vehicle by itself and let it roll through the turnout does it derail? If it does not, that suggests to me that perhaps something about the coupler swing should be checked. Then try rolling it through coupled to other cars, varying between cars of the same length and cars of different lengths. The interaction of coupler issues transmitted into the draft gear, frame and hence the trucks and wheels is always a possibility.

Swapping out wheel sets, even if just temporarily, can be illuminating in making problems suddenly go away. If the problem is still there it at least probably eliminates a possible cause from the list. Ditto for swapping out entire trucks/bogies or wheel sets.

From Doug Dickson

To let you 'sqint' down an obstructed length of track simply use a small handbag mirror resting on the track and angled towards your eyeline


From Trevor Gibbs


The late Master (some would say "God") of Model Railroading, John Allen of Gorre and Daphetid fame hand laid and checked his track with a mirror looking at the mirror instead of directly at the track. His reasoning was that the eye would then not see what the brain expected to see and faults, bumps and dips were easier to pick out!  I have tried this myself and found many elements of what he said all those years ago to be true although I did have a hard time of this in the harder to reach places of my layout!
]


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 Posted: Sat Mar 3rd, 2018 12:53 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2029
Using Latex Caulk on track and point work Pt 1
by Dave Nelson

I use latex caulk to hold my track. Where there are turnouts/points/switches, I mark with pencil where the moving points will be and then carefully do not let any caulk get spread there by accident. There would still be enough caulk at the far ends of the turnout to hold it in place very solidly.


As for what to do under the points to avoid an odd look there when the rest of the track is ballasted, I have used a piece of fine grit sandpaper under the points without problem and with a bit of weathering using powders or india ink + isopropyl alchohol you can fairly match the shade of the ballast, enough so at first glance you'd hardly notice that the ballast itself starts and stops around the points.


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 Posted: Tue Mar 6th, 2018 11:42 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2030
Using Latex Caulk on track and point work Pt 2
by Richard Cowman
I have seen a number of posts suggesting not to use caulk under turnouts, just in case you need to remove them. I did not and the adjoining track holds them down just fine. I had to lift some track, it was not as easy as others have suggested, but I did not mess up the track. I just took a putty knife and slowly slid it under the track and slid it along. My track is on cork and the method did not damage either the track or cork. Moderation in application is the key, a thin layer that does not come up between the sleepers is plenty


Also, if you use a textured paint under your turnouts that is a similar colour to your ballast, little ballasting is needed and reduces problems with the turnouts.


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 Posted: Wed Mar 7th, 2018 12:53 pm
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xdford wrote: by Dave Nelson
Sometimes the turnout is blameless; a friend had constant derailments at a particular turnout but on closer examination he had made an error cutting the flex track leading to that turnout and created a kink, even though the rail ends met just fine. This is very easy to do particularly if you cannot get your head into position to "squint" down the track and see such kinks the joints right before the wheels enter the point as being the most likely cause but slight undulations can also have a negative effect on the tracking of your wheels.
To let you 'sqint' down an obstructed length of track simply use a small handbag mirror resting on the track and angled towards your eyelineDoug 



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 Posted: Fri Mar 9th, 2018 11:03 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2031
How I make Asphalted Roadways Pt 1
by Charles Donelly
I apply patching plaster over wood. When the plaster is dry, I sand it smooth (which still leaves realistic hairline cracks), then paint it with Polly S "concrete" mixed with a little Polly S "grimy black." When the paint dries, I rub it with dirt...backyard dirt...using my finger, to give the "asphalt" a lighter, aged look. I sweep away the excess dirt, of course.


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 Posted: Mon Mar 12th, 2018 11:50 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2032
How I Make Asphalted Roadways Pt 2
by Steve Moreland
.
I used black meat tray foam with grey craft paint sponged on and found it works well. I just used a kitchen sponge, but make sure it does not have any sort of pattern embossed on it.
Large cracks are easily made by tearing the foam. made the small cracks by chucking a straight pin into a Dremel and etching them in.
Patches can be made by tearing or cutting out a piece and rinsing off some of the paint.


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 Posted: Thu Mar 15th, 2018 10:55 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2033
How I Make Asphalted Roadways Pt 3
by Guy Papillon
I had pretty good results using sheet balsa for making footpaths/sidewalks and card for roads. Before painting I used gesso to seal the bare balsa. Gesso can be find in artcraft shores and is used to seal canvas, wood and paper. The streets on my layout are made with cardboard sealed with gesso and painted.


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 Posted: Sun Mar 18th, 2018 04:16 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2034
Using CRC 2-26 and cleaning track
by Mike Lehmann
What I do is get the track clean with isopropyl alcohol, then apply CRC 2-26 very sparingly to aid contact. You can also think of alcohol as your everyday, go-to cleaner, while the 2-26 is your annual tune-up.
With track treated with 2-26, I only clean with alcohol when something gets it dirty. This could be due to ballasting, other scenicking, dust and other deposits from the air, etc. If the track needs a thorough cleaning for some reason, then I will re-apply the 2-26 to freshen it. Just running equipment spreads the 2-26 enough from the limited areas I reapply it to so that reapplying it more generally is not really necessary.
A note from George Paine - One of our club volunteers had been cleaning wheels with 90% isopropyl alcohol, and got some on his fingers. The next thing he knew the alcohol had dissolved some of the detail paint on a locomotive. Fortunately, we had some decals matching the damaged details and could repair it.


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