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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Jan 6th, 2019 10:18 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2130
Getting your Ballast Colour Right
By  Mel Perry
If you are modelling a particular section of prototype railway, one of the big indicators to the region is the colour of the ballast. You can easily check this feature using Google Maps from a close range although you may have to go lighter to account the relative darkness of your layout room to the great outdoors.


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 Posted: Wed Jan 9th, 2019 10:12 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2131
Treatment for Telegraph Poles  Pt 1
By  Several Modellers
In HO (or OO), I take a fine toothed saw (Zona for example) and rub it up and down the pole to give it a bit of grain texture.  That might overdo it in N but perhaps if followed by a very light rub down with very fine grit emery cloth it could capture the same effect. (Dave Nelson)
For the modern era, I would leave them smooth and paint the poles an appropriate reddish brown.  If you want to get rid of the shine of the poles before you start you could scrub them with very fine sand paper. In the modern era, the poles are not climbed but accessed by a cherry picking crane. (Noel Jamieson)


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 Posted: Sat Jan 12th, 2019 11:49 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2132
Treatment for Telegraph Poles  Pt 2
By  Several Modellers
I use a Metallic Green paint to simulate the older green coloured insulators (Wayne Toth)
I found a green, rather irredescant nail polish that really looks good for the older, green glass insulators.  You could use a clear polish for the clear glass ones.(Richard Cowman)


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 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 11:07 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2133
Making a Mown Lawn
By Michael Liddicoat
To create a mown lawn effect with static grass, I create two rectangles of light and dark green grass.  These can be set into glue on baking paper. When dry, cut into strips, peel off the baking paper and glue them down alternately to create classic stripes.


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 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2019 07:48 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2134
Filling in Frogs on Home Made Points
By Reg Britten
I found myself unable to get points that would suit my range of rolling stock which I had accumulated over a 50 year period. Peco were fine to a point but the older stock would ride high through the frogs or derail.
I made a number of points to fit my layout but with clear frogs so the old Hornby stock could travel through. As I gradually replaced the wheelsets with less coarse examples (but not necessarily fine scale) I was also needing to stop “wheel drop” so I made a series of styrene shims to fit into the frog space.  As my wheels could have been made an even finer, there was plenty of room to add more shims (glued in of course) and keep control of the depth.


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 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2019 06:49 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2135
Checking Old Controllers
By Several Modellers
A number of modellers have obtained old power packs/transformers/ controllers (whatever your terminology extends to) but not necessarily able to check them.  There are a few things that you can do.
    Check the condition of the cord. If there is mechanical damage or deterioration of the insulation, do not use until it is replaced
    Use a cheap multimeter to check that there is no connection between the active or neutral pins and the earth pin.
    Check that there is at least a small amount of resistance between the active and neutral pins.  Because the transformer is an inductive device, there is more resistance when it is live because of the voltage load.
    If the above are all OK, connect a 12 volt automotive globe of around 15 watts to the output. Turn the power on momentarily and see if the globe lights.
    If it does light, turn on the power and vary your controller.  This is called a dynamic test and will be the best test of your controller.  
If the controller looks in good external condition, you could  skip steps 2 and 3 if you are uncertain about using a multimeter. The worst that could happen is you blow a house circuit breaker when you turn it on.
Bear in mind that older controllers will not be able to handle the lower power draw motors we are fortunate enough to have today but these controllers can always be used for lighting and other auxiliary supplies.


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 Posted: Thu Jan 24th, 2019 11:03 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2136
Protecting Layouts from Dust
By Kenneth Coghlan

I have a standard plank layout in a relatively dusty area so I find it easy to take a plastic garbage bag, split it so that it is double length and use it until it develops holes or similar tears. A bag done this way lasts quite a long time , is easy to put to one side out of sight when I run trains or work on the layout and quite cheap and definitely easier than dusting!

A note from Doug Dickson

I have tried this, but plastic bag material can mould itself around sharp objects, so unless extraordinary care is taken to lift it off vertically, it can snap signal posts, chimbleys, etc., very easily. Far better in my opinion is sheets of tissue paper of the sort used by dressmakers etc to fold up clothing.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 27th, 2019 05:42 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2137
Allowing Space when planning Layouts on paper
By Craig Brantley
Everything works on paper. Do not be afraid to modify your plan when you start construction.  If you are lucky enough to have an entire room, pretend your room is smaller. When drawing your plan, reduce the layout area 6-8" for up to 20' rooms and below and 12-18" for rooms above 20'. This will allow some room for planning mistakes.


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 Posted: Wed Jan 30th, 2019 09:28 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2138
Planning Layouts on paper for maximum enjoyment/minimum trouble
By Craig Brantley
 
Minimize your gradients. You should be double heading your trains because you like it, not because you have to.
Provide the ability to continuous running or at least a way to turn around. Point-to-point is great for operating but when you want to just turn on the trains and watch them run it is a pain.
Use the largest radius you can fit in.
Make areas where cars are uncoupled as level and as possible.


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 Posted: Sun Feb 3rd, 2019 09:37 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2139
Weights for Holding Cork and Track
By Michael Liddicoat
I have made weights for holding track or cork down when gluing by filling empty tin cans with cement.  Once it is set it gives a great weight. You can make as many as you need, they can be stacked for extra weight or laid on their side to keep track down.  They also easily stack away when not in use.


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 Posted: Wed Feb 6th, 2019 08:05 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2140
Models of Stationary Boilers
By James Bradshaw
I have found that the shape of those plastic party poppers are ideal for making stationary boilers, particularly on my logging layout where I have two end points.  They also make great under the tarp loads either vertically or on their sides giving a bit of a cryptic shape.


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 Posted: Sat Feb 9th, 2019 11:50 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2141
Downspouts and  Piping
By  David Russell
For downspouts and piping in general look for florists wire. It is a very soft wire used by florists to bind bouquets. It is usually painted green and comes in many gauge thicknesses.


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 Posted: Tue Feb 12th, 2019 09:35 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2142
Cheap Lumber Sources
By  George O’Hagan
Wooden coffee stirrers and ice cream sticks are an inexpensive or free way to get some scale lumber. They make good planks for loading docks, roof rafters or timber loads. They are easy to cut, and take stain well. For weathered timber stored or used outside, I use a HB or 2B pencil and colour the timber to an appropriate grey tone.


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 Posted: Fri Feb 15th, 2019 10:10 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2143
Cheap Lumber Sources
By  Michael Liddicoat
I like to model the interiors of buildings as much as possible.  To model a wooden floor in a building, I glue coffee stirrers to a thin piece of card, cut to size. These are then trimmed to the card and a line scribed the length of the stirrer to create a more accurate scale width.  Horizontal lines create the individual boards. You can add nail holes with a pin. I finish off with a wood stain and a coat of beeswax polish. They look great through an open door or large windows.


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 Posted: Mon Feb 18th, 2019 09:56 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2144
Simulating Rich Soil
By  Harry Parker
To simulate rich soil, I use coffee grounds obtained for nix from the local barista!  I mainly use grounds in my garden for snail control and noticed that it looked like rich farm land.  So I aired off a cup full of it spread to lose the coffee odour for a couple of weeks, sifted it and glued it in place. I now have some of the lushest soil in  modelling!


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