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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Mar 21st, 2018 11:31 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2035
A Simple Glue Applicator/Scriber tool etc
by Dave Jewell
I made a simple tool using a pin or sewing needle and half an ice cream stick. I cut the stick in half and fit the pin/needle less its head into the flat cut end. I then glued it in place so there is a pointed end. I find this tool is great for applying glue to small points, making a starting point for drilling, scribing a line and will take about 30 seconds to assemble. If it is used for applying super glue or other adhesive, I just file the glue off once it is dry if it builds up on the tip.


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 Posted: Sat Mar 24th, 2018 11:20 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2036
Another load of cheap coal
by Greg Pendle

I wanted to add coal loads to about 30 coal hopper cars, but it seemed to be expensive to buy them or the coal so I made my own.


I bought a bag of ground walnut shells and a quart of Ebony stain. I put some walnut shells in a plastic container that had a lid and added some stain. I put the lid on and shook the container to distribute the stain and then let it sit overnight. Then I spread the walnut shells on a piece of card board and let it dry.


The results were great. I had a large supply of coal for my coal cars. I put some weight in the bottom of the coal cars and then filled the cars with coal. Once the coal was in, I added diluted white glue to the coal. After the glue dried, I added more white glue to make sure everything would stay in place.


When finished, the freight cars weighed about 5oz or 140 grams each. It was a bit messy though. Would I do it again? Maybe. If you decide to try this method, make plenty so you only have a mess once.


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 Posted: Tue Mar 27th, 2018 11:29 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2037
Drilling Small Holes for Grab Irons Pt 1
by Bob Boudreau

I always make a starter hole when drilling such small holes. I use an old drafting compass with a very sharp tip to press in a point to start drilling. I also have a pin vice with a spiral shaft and a collar that sits on the shaft Holding the vice with one hand, moving the collar up and down spins the vice. As a bonus, this pin vice closes nice and tight around the smallest drill bits. When drilling in metal, I always add a drop of oil to the starter hole, makes progress better.


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 Posted: Fri Mar 30th, 2018 11:21 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2038
Drilling Small Holes for Grab Irons Pt 2
by Dave Nelson

I have had good (not perfect) success with a drill chuck meant for very small drill bits I purchased that fits into my cordless screwdriver -- the slower speed but good torque seems to help, and not having to move my hand (as I do with the pin vise) helps as well. The weight of the cordless screwdriver seems to apply just the right amount of pressure. I break enough of the really small bits that as a rule I am almost always using a fresh or nearly fresh one and ironically, that seemed to help too.


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 Posted: Mon Apr 2nd, 2018 11:22 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2039
Building Mockups
by Charles Boyd
My building mock ups are things like biscuit, cereal and cracker boxes, with black magic marker 'windows,' pencil line 'doors' - and full-wall adverts for the product they originally contained.

I want the mock up to be the right (approximate) size for visualisation purposes only, but so much of an eyesore that I want to get rid of it as soon as serious scenery work starts.


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 Posted: Thu Apr 5th, 2018 02:42 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2040
If you need to spray paint around a headlight lens...
by Mark Closter
I get a number of second hand locos to repaint in my own railways paint scheme and sometimes the lenses will not come out. have used little balls of blu-tac or similar in a pinch. I just rolled up a little ball and flattened it onto the lens until the lens is fully covered. Picks right off when done and apart from a little buffing it is as clean as anything.


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 Posted: Mon Apr 9th, 2018 01:49 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2041
Representing Clam Shells by a River Scene
by George Reilly
The section of the river that runs by where I grew up on has a sandbar on the opposite bank that frequently has river clamshells on it. I wanted to recreate that on a river extension I was putting in on a new section of bench work. I got some tiny beads and fine sand. Just the glint of the "shells" was enough to visually make it work.


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 Posted: Thu Apr 12th, 2018 02:21 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2042
Soldering Wires to Rails – getting the solder to flow
by Paul Ahrens
When soldering wires to rails, I use soldering flux (– paste not a corrosive acid flux) as it eases the flow of solder onto wires, rails, etc. I also use alligator clips next to the rail joints (which I also solder) as heat sinks to avoid plastic sleepers melting. And wipe the joints with a bit of alcohol after soldering to clean things up.


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 Posted: Sun Apr 15th, 2018 04:52 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2043
Making Benchwork more stable
by Mark Robertson
Instead of using dimensional timber to build your benchwork, use quality 3/4" plywood and rip it to create boards from which to construct the frame work. Much more stable in wild temperature changes and generally much lighter as well.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 18th, 2018 03:42 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2044
Keeping Decal Striping Level
by Wayne Toth

When adding stripes which are not at an edge or adjacent to a moulded-in line of detail, such as a row of rivets or panel-edge detail, use a set of dividers to keep the striping level, setting one leg to either the sill or the eave line of the body shell, and the other at a point corresponding to either the top or bottom edge of the stripe to be applied, and check it often as you nudge the stripe into place.


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 Posted: Sat Apr 21st, 2018 01:10 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2045
Applying Decal Striping
by Wayne Toth


While I generally prefer to use paint for striping, I use these methods when applying decal stripes.
Be sure to cut as close to the stripe as possible, as any excess clear film (even that on Microscale's offerings) can hinder accurate placement. I use my fingers or tweezers for placing the decal into water and taking it out, but use the side of the tweezers or a small brush for moving the decal into place on the model - don't use anything with a sharp tip.

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 Posted: Tue Apr 24th, 2018 03:53 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2046
Representing Clouds
by Charles Booth

Unless you paint either a clear sky (deep blue shading to white as it approaches the horizon) or an overcast (light grey with blobs and streaks of darker grey), your sky will never be fully satisfying. That cute little cumulus won't always be just to the left of the high line station in real life, so seeing it there every time a train passes will shortly become an irritation.

So, what is my solution? I am modelling the high-humidity haze of late summer in a place where the sky is somewhere above the mountaintops, pretty much faded to white all the way across. Since the mountain tops are well above eye level, the colour is indistinguishable from that of white-painted drywall. The mountaintops are bluish grey, and anything not at or adjacent to track side gets a light or medium blue-grey over spray.


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 Posted: Fri Apr 27th, 2018 03:04 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2047
Uses for Hot Melt Glue Strings
by Ed Pullman
Back in the day when modellers were looking for plugs to close off the holes in car roofs they would heat a piece of sprue and slightly pull it to make a taper. Perfect way to get the diameter of rod you needed. Now I use strings from my hot melt glue gun left overs.
I notice under the tip of my glue gun are little "plops"... perhaps these could be scale cow pies?


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 Posted: Mon Apr 30th, 2018 10:49 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2048
Storing Styrene Strips
by Various Modellers
I used 12" lengths of PVC pipe, with a 30 deg cut on one end, stacked, glued and taped together . A piece of cardstock covers the back end . I have added thin labels projecting out from the side of each tube with the scale size and decimal size. (Chris Bergh)
I made a series of pigeon hole boxes with scrap foamcore... the price was right (Steve Cox)
I have an old watchmakers storage cabinet with shallow drawers that works fine for detail parts and stuff like these plastic strips. I have a plastic strip drawer, a plastic sheet drawer, brass sheet,brass strip, details for different scales (Dave Berryman)
A variation on a theme, and the price is right (just about free): I use cardboard paper towel tubes in a cardboard box. They can be laid horizontally or vertically. (Chris Adams)


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 Posted: Thu May 3rd, 2018 07:45 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2049
Storing Styrene Strips flat
by Doug Mulvaney,
I have found that if you leave small strips of plastic (or wood for that matter) standing up by themselves over time they develop a bend that can be a problem. This does not happen if you hang them up in a bag because the bag keeps the straight. So I would either hang the bag they came in or lay them down flat as suggested in H&T 2048.


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 Posted: Sun May 6th, 2018 10:20 am
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Insulated Joins at the end of Turnouts for tight curves Pt 1
by Jerry Cousins

I have situations where turnouts connect to tight curves and with no alternatives that were better than locating gaps at the end of the turnout. I had good luck by soldering a sliver of printed circuit board under each rail and then sawing through the railgap and copper cladding on the PC board. The result is a very rigid and strong insulated gap. To hold the rails in alignment for soldering, a metal rail joiner can be installed upside down on the top flange and then cut away or pried off when soldering is complete.


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 Posted: Wed May 9th, 2018 10:39 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2051
Insulated Joins at the end of Turnouts for tight curves Pt 2
by Neil Chapman

If you are attaching curved flex track to turnouts with insulated rail joiners, just use some spikes or Atlas track nails in strategic places to put enough bend in the rail to keep it flowing smooth. That is all I find is necessary.


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 Posted: Sat May 12th, 2018 09:05 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2052
Ballast in Yards
by Dave Nelson
Most yards that I have seen are ballasted differently than the main line. Milwaukee's Butler Yard on the former C&NW (now UP) for example was ballasted with chips of the famous "pink lady" ballast -- a cheap by product of the mining process but it also had the effect that ballast could come right up to the tops of the ties and to the ends of the ties, unlike the main where the top few inches of the tie ends were exposed. The goal is to have a flat surface where crewmen can walk in the dark without tripping on stuff if possible. Ditches were also minimal for the same reason - the surface is fairly flat.
Some other yards use gravel as ballast, and in steam days cinders were common, but again one goal was and is a flat walkable surface 24/7.


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 Posted: Mon May 14th, 2018 10:48 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2053
Cataloguing Your Wiring
by Several Modellers

Having seen the undersides of a lot of layouts, and the one thing that has held true for all of them is that the ones with neat wiring were the most reliable, even with simpler DCC wiring. Use barrier terminal strips, wire anchors, and wire ties to keep wiring organised. Not only does organised wiring help with layout reliability, it is also easily traced, which helps you debug problems quickly.
Keeping a logbook with diagrams and notes about your layout wiring is another good idea. This will help you decipher your own wiring practices when looking for electrical problems.
One of the best practices is to use colour codes, which creates self-documenting wiring. On my layout, I use black and red wires for track power buses and feeders. If you have places where track buses from multiple power districts are in close proximity, you might consider using different colours for each bus to keep them straight.


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 Posted: Thu May 17th, 2018 09:24 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2054
The Order of Installing Scenery Pt 1
by Rick Squirrel
I set out with no deliberate plan but it has worked out this way:
Build boards; paint boards; lay track; wire track power; build land (or terraforming as some call it); paint land a suitable base colour; apply low-level vegetation such as fine turf and basic ground cover; add buildings, fences, bridges and other major structures; add anything else you plan on having such as signals, street lighting and merry-go-rounds; build up the vegetation on and around the earlier work such as tufts of grass growing around fence posts, weed margins to footpaths, adding trees and bushes where you wish then adding the undergrowth which often lies beneath or around their roots; looking around at your prototype to see if anything has been overlooked; weathering of ballast, rails and structures in that order; rectifying any problems, errors or omissions; kicking yourself because you STILL overlooked something


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