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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun May 20th, 2018 09:14 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2055
The Order of Installing Scenery Pt 2
by Nigel Phillips

I weather rails and ties/sleepers, then ballast. I do not use the method of adding the ballast between the sleepers/ties and then going over it with a dropper full of diluted PVA, which covers the ties/sleepers in glue unless you are extremely careful. This method just does not work well with thin ties/sleepers and the granular nut products that are used as ballast. This needs a different approach. Do not ballast for a month or two until you are absolutely sure the track layout is what you intended and that it does what you want re running.
Choose which works best for you by doing a bit of experimenting with an off-cut of wood and a 12" length of track). Do not rush it, a couple of feet every evening soon gets it done.
Couple of things to watch out for. Use high quality white glue, not the cheap craft products. It is false economy. The cheap craft products are often acidic, and will attack the rails and leave a green deposit. If you use dishwasher liquid to decrease surface tension, make sure it is not coloured or perfumed. In this case no-name brand products are often the best. Same goes for rubbing alcohol, make sure it is just IPA or a mix of IPA and ethyl alcohol, and does not contain additives such as oil or perfumes.
It is a good idea to wear disposable gloves when working with PVA-containing adhesives. A mister to "wet" the ballast before applying the glue is also useful, as are wooden tooth picks to push ballast back where it is supposed to be.


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 Posted: Wed May 23rd, 2018 09:28 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2056
Storing Skewers used as Uncouplers
by Several Modellers
I shorten my skewers so they are less cumbersome. I keep a selection of lengths for operators to choose from in my tool holders around the layout. (Bill Brillinger)
I have several cup holders, complete with red cups, mounted on my layout fascia in strategic spots. These hold all the strategic stuff including my uncouplers (Jeff Schultz)
Several layouts I have worked on use a short piece of 1/4" styrene tube glued to the fascia. You can fit 3 or 4 skewers in one tube. Of course you have to seal the bottom! (Graeme Nitz)
I have adopted ( read stolen) an idea from a layout visit. The modeller used small wire nuts screwed onto the top of the skewer. This makes them MUCH easier to pick up and somewhat easier to find. My "cheap" idea is to hot glue segments of drinking straws to my fascia. The wire nut will not allow the skewer to fall through the straw. You can either "hide" or "highlight" the straw's location with the proper colour paint. (Tim Moran)


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 Posted: Sat May 26th, 2018 12:39 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2057
Getting a Straight Cut with Razor Saws on Plastic Bodies
by Several Modellers


I have in the past used a razor saw with masking tape to give a straight line to cut against.  Needs a little care but can give a good straight edge for a “cut & shut" bit of modelling. (Arthur Bridie)
I use an Olfa perspex cutter with an engineers square to cut a groove in the plastic, then you can gently use the razor saw to cut through the plastic body sides as it will follow the groove nicely without wandering. I bought the Olfa cutter when I had to construct some buildings from acrylic sheet for someone and since then it has proved invaluable for "cut and shuts" and for cutting thick styrene she et. (GeoffreyPhillipson)
I would recommend you cut a little way away from the actual cut line i.e. towards the cab end. Then you can use sanding blocks to trim back to, and straighten, the joint line. Doing it this way removes the stress of trying to make a perfect cut and enables you to make a near perfect joint with careful sanding. (Kyle Sanderson)


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 Posted: Tue May 29th, 2018 01:02 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2058
Getting the Headlight tone you need from LED’s
by Mark Rayment
.
I buy the bulk warm white LEDs from those ebay sellers in China for dirt cheap, and there are some colour variations within the bulk pack. I assume they are seconds since they are so cheap.
I made up a bread-board with a dozen resistors so I can plug in a dozen LEDs at a time and connect it to my old DC throttle. This way, I can see the colour of a dozen at a time and pick and choose quickly which ones have the right colour. Hard to match colours one at a time.


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 Posted: Fri Jun 1st, 2018 08:47 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2059
An alternative to Kadee uncouplers
by Pierre Jardin
I was at a friends place the other night for an operating session (enormous fun). Our host introduced us to an idea for an uncoupling pick that I had not seen before. Now that I have used it, I am a convert.
It is simply a 4" Galvanized Flat head nail and I have a deluxe version with a piece of red heat shrink to make it more visible. I have tried the Kadee uncoupling tool, bamboo kebab skewers and a number of other variations on those themes. To date the kebab skewer had been the most effective.
This one beats them all hands down as the other crew members who tried this tool will vouch for. If you look carefully at the nail tip, you will see that it is effectively a pyramid in shape with four sloping sides.


As for storing them around the layout , a small screw eye on the fascia works perfectly.


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 Posted: Mon Jun 4th, 2018 08:24 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2060
Realistic City Backdrops for an urban scene
by Jeff Horner

I am building a large urban scene on my layout and needed a way to create a backdrop to fill in the rear of the scene. However, I have been unable to find commercially produced backdrops that resemble the area I'm modeling (Santa Ana, CA). Using an idea I found through Model Railroader, I decided to photograph the back side of several of the buildings on my layout and assemble those photos on the backdrop to fill in the scene. The result was shockingly convincing!
I tried to arrange the building photos so they were oriented to resemble the back sides of buildings on the next block. I also tried to arrange the photos so that any darker shadows appear on the same side of each building so that it looks as though the sun is shining from a single point in the sky. It would have been easier without any shadows but I used what I had.
It took a couple of tries to get my photos to look right. The first thing I discovered was that close-up shots of the buildings were out as they distorted the vertical lines of the walls at the left and right extremes of each photo. Getting a good focus in the close-up shots was also difficult.
I tried again using zoomed shots from a distance of about 4 feet away from the buildings. This not only minimise the distortion but made it very easy to get sharp focus.


Not counting the first batch of unsatisfactory close-up photos, this whole project took me a single afternoon shooting the zoom length photos, cropping, printing and cutting out the photos, mounting two of the photos on foam core for added depth, then assembling the photos against the backdrop. At the time of writing this, I still need to permanently mount photos on the backdrop but that should not be too much trouble.


This was a very easy way to fill in the rear of my scene. If you have a similar scene that needs a convincing backdrop, give this technique a try.


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 Posted: Thu Jun 7th, 2018 08:08 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2061


Dulling Mesh fencing


by Barry Holdsworth

I have had a number of suggestions as to how to take the sheen off mesh I use as fencing on my layout. The one I choose to use was the one using weathering chalk. I took a little light grey powder upon my fingertip and rubbed it across the etched surface side. This worked great and really helped the appearance.


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 Posted: Sun Jun 10th, 2018 11:12 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2062
Relocating A Steam Dome kitbashing a steam loco
by Wayne Toth

If I had remove and replace a steam dome for a different detail , I would be cementing a fairly thin (005"-.008") sheet of styrene inside the boiler to cover the bottom of the opening.
I would also cut similar sheet material, in as many layers and varying thicknesses as are necessary to fill the majority of the hole in the loco shell area so that it is on the same plane as the area of the boiler surrounding it. Use solvent type cement for all of this work, not super glue.
When that has cured, use the putty to fill any gaps around the perimeter of the patch.


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 Posted: Tue Jun 12th, 2018 11:17 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2063

When you are painting large areas a base colour...

by Rick Wade

I recycled a couple of plastic sauce bottles or similar to put various tones of paint into. When I apply paint to a broad surface such as an earth colour on huge areas of ground, I squeeze out an amount of paint on the surface from the bottle and use a paint brush to spread it. It is much quicker to spread the paint this way and means you only have to clean a brush rather than a tray or paint holding cup.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 13th, 2018 09:41 pm
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Hints and Tips No. 2064

When you are Painting large areas a mixture of colours . . .

By Patrick Stanley

Mix your paint while you paint.  I have been doing this with the smaller craft bottles and have used more than one colour at a time to blend a new or darker shade while I am painting.  Just moving the brush around will mix the paint and it also give subtle variations in the colouring at the same time.

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 Posted: Fri Jun 15th, 2018 09:00 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2065

by Peter Herron

To keep the ground cover from entering the joint between the buildings and the scenery, I decided to glue and spike some thin cardboard to the base which covered the seam and could be covered with material to hide it.  I used gasket material which I had purchased to shim cork roadbed where needed.  It's impervious to water but wetting it allows it to conform to minor contours.  When it dries it's quite stiff.  Now if I have to remove the building it will require little work to fix the scenery once reinstalled.

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 Posted: Sun Jun 17th, 2018 09:01 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2066

For natural material, try a dehydrator.

by Several Modellers

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 with the ability to set the temperature from ambient up to 105º C (221º F), 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: Wed Jun 20th, 2018 04:48 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2067

Marking on different construction materials.

By Several Modellers

For marking out dimensions on black plastic, lightly scribe in with a scriber or knife point.  Then rub a very small amount of talcum powder over the scribed lines, which will highlight your marking out.
(Allan Downes).

For marking out card, use a 2H or similar pencil.  This should be dark enough to see, but be able to be hidden by paint.
(Will McMahon).

For marking out white styrene, use a marker pen, then scribe.  Use a red or brown marker for what will be a brick surface or blue for a concrete surface.  Avoid black, as it is harder to cover with most model paints.
(Trevor Gibbs).

For marking out clear styrene, use a blue whiteboard marker pen, then scribe then remark it and wipe off the excess.  The blue will be less discernible with the clear background.
(Cliff Holdridge).

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 Posted: Sat Jun 23rd, 2018 09:07 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2068
Cheap Background Buildings
by Gordon Katt
I recently visited Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg. One “trick” they use in background buildings is to make those buildings from scrap foam blocks cut to shape and I presume they use building papers to “brick” the buildings as well as window details... a much cheaper option


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 Posted: Tue Jun 26th, 2018 09:03 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2069
Making Card Buildings more 3 Dimensional
by Ted Allan
With printed out buildings, I make two or three copies of the building so that details like windows can be stuck over the otherwise flat surface to give them depth. Similarly doors and signs and other details can be either proud or recessed depending on your personal whim.


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 Posted: Fri Jun 29th, 2018 09:29 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2070
Colouring Toothpicks for use as tree trunks
by Will Annand

I made a watery mixture of cinnamon brown dollar store craft paint in a jar and dropped the toothpicks in. left them about 10 minutes then poured out the paint. dumped the toothpicks on a sheet of wax paper and let them dry overnight. next day, just dip in white glue and stick in bowl of foliage.


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 Posted: Mon Jul 2nd, 2018 11:05 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2071
Furniture making skills and modules
by Mike Conder
One does not need to be a fine cabinet maker to be able to make a square module. There are some tolerances that can be met with simple tools and care. I made my freemo module using a $10 plastic carpenters' triangle and my rail butt joints for other modules are just fine.

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 Posted: Thu Jul 5th, 2018 09:24 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2072
Elevating Curves
by Howard Zane
How I bank curves is simple...at least for me. Prior to installing track I just glue a strip of .040 styrene to underside of curved outside rail and install. Ballast fills the gap easily. I use to use .020 shims at ends of curves as it transitions to straight, but with code 83, found this step not really important. In my hand laying track days, I would just glue a styrene strip along the outside of curve and glue ties to it.


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 Posted: Sun Jul 8th, 2018 09:38 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2073
Dulling the “Plasticky” looking Track Pt 1
by Mike Lehmann

To dull the plastic look of some track brands, I hit it with Dull-Cote or something similar. Then take a block of wood (2x4x6" will work) wrap in a paper towel, mist with alcohol and wipe the rails so they stay clean and conductive.
Be careful to mask over or otherwise avoid getting the spray in the contact points between sections.


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 Posted: Wed Jul 11th, 2018 06:59 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2074
Dulling the “Plasticky” looking Track Pt 2
by Dave Nelson

For Kato Unitrack, I use a small spray bottle with isopropyl alchohol (70% or 90%) with a few drops of india ink mixed in. A light spray over the track (masking with paper nearby stuff you do not want darkened) give it a different and more varied look. It is easier to start light and make it darker than it is the other way around, but if you do over-darken a damp rag can help.


This is also what I use on my ballasted track to give it a bit of variety.


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