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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Dec 16th, 2009 10:07 am
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Hints & Tips No.526
Acrylics for Weathering
By Rod Cameron (Teignmouth)
I have used dilute acrylics sprayed from a household disinfectant or plant spray type of bottle as part of the weathering process including rock colouring and changing the colour of ballast among other tasks.
Hints & Tips No.527
Cutting Track Squarely
by Ted Allan (Sunshine MRC Melbourne)

There are times when track has to be cut as squarely as possible for example tracks to the bridge of a turntable. This task can be made easier by having a small block of wood with an end cut square. Place the block against the track and hold your razor saw for cutting the track hard against end of the wood.
The saw should be in a position that is square for both sides of the track and enable you to cut neatly through both rails in your track.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 16th, 2009 07:59 pm
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A Disclaimer about Hints and Tips

To paraphrase MRE,  Hints and Tips are given in good faith by the contributors that they do work. I often check that the idea will work with others and or that the information given is technically correct and that the procedures given are safe. Ideas that work for others through time and brand differences etc however may not work for you. If you are in doubt please check the advice with one of your modeling colleagues.

Regards

Trevor Gibbs

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 Posted: Thu Dec 17th, 2009 06:47 am
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Hints & Tips No.528
Planning and Drawing Curves on your base board
by Trevor Gibbs

You can draw centre-of-track curves very easily on your baseboards and/or your frames. Take a scrap length of plywood about three feet long and say 2 inches wide and put a nail near one end in the middle so that it just pokes through the plywood. This device is known as a “Trammel” and the nail becomes the radius centre.

Now using your standard radii, mark off your preferred sized curves down the centre line of your plywood perhaps in 2 inch increments. Drill a hole in these markers which will enable you to place a pencil through and mark your radius centre on your board. This will give you a good set radius mark for your flexible track to be curved over the top of.



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 Posted: Fri Dec 18th, 2009 11:29 am
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Hints & Tips No.529
Modelling Stucco Walls - Several Modellers

You can model stucco walls using thin card liberally coated with white glue. Sift some powdered poly-filla plaster with a little unevenness over the surface and allow to dry. Keep as flat as possible.
When you think the glue has dried, turn the card over and tap gently to remove the excess poly-filla and you should have a very good representation of a stucco wall, ready for building.
Hints & Tips No.530
Thatched Roofing on buildings
by Several Modellers
You can simulate thatched roofing by laying strands of wool over the roof line of your building, painted or dyed appropriately and trimmed at the roof line.

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 Posted: Sat Dec 19th, 2009 10:52 am
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Hints & Tips No.531
Access, Access, Access ( with apologies to Tony Blair ... and any one else who repeats themselves!)

By Michael Tondee ( GA USA)
One thing that I think that needs pointing out about track planning is the absolute essential need for access to all areas of the layout for maintenance and cleaning. I have learned the hard way over the years.
Make sure you can get to everything, do not block things up where you cannot. You may think....."I'll never need to get to that again once it is built." WRONG!!! Sooner or later you need to get to it all. Even my lighting valance is removable to allow easier access.

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 Posted: Sun Dec 20th, 2009 11:54 am
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Hints & Tips No.532
Using Loctite in Model Railways
By Several Modellers
Loctite has been used for many years to stop threads from coming free for example for crankpins in drivers but can also be used if you need to hold wheel sets in gauge... once the gauge and spacings have been checked... with a higher tensile strength than many other materials, including ACC super glue.
Hints & Tips No.533
Closer Coupling on Mk3 Coaches
By Andrew Lewis
To enable more close coupling on Hornby HST/MK3 Coaches, use Kadee No.5 couplers with a piece of 4mm styrene sheet as a shim to get it to the correct coupling height. Some shops sells styrene as a cheap alternative to Perspex.

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 Posted: Mon Dec 21st, 2009 09:59 am
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Hints & Tips No.534
The "less is more" school of backdrop painting Part 1

By Michael Tondee ( GA USA)
First of all, let me start off by saying that I really respect the work of those who do well conceived and executed photo realistic backdrops as well a those folks who do highly detailed painted backdrops.

I am a pretty decent landscape painter, I have done some paintings on canvas so I understand the skill involved. That being said, for me personally, a model railroad backdrop does not have to be that detailed or become a huge amount of work. I believe that the three dimensional scenery and the trains should be the focus of the viewer. I like to let my scenery and my trains "do the talking" so to speak.


With that in mind, I have borrowed a collection of various techniques over the years and come up with what I call "less is more" backdrop painting. To start off, paint the basic sky blue colored backdrop which will become the blank canvas so to speak...



I take a brush loaded with flat white latex paint and establish a horizon line. This should be at about eye level on your backdrop when you are in your normal viewing and operating position. Some stand to operate while others sit. My layout is set at a height that allows operation from my office chair. I am inherently lazy...I do not stand unless I have to!

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 Posted: Tue Dec 22nd, 2009 10:10 am
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Hints & Tips No.535
The "less is more" school of backdrop painting Part 2

By Michael Tondee ( GA USA)
Next I take some blue on another brush and starting up above the white I begin feathering the blue into the white. I also wet the brush and start to spread a "wash" of the white down towards the bottom of the backdrop. It is hard to describe an exact technique here. What you are looking for is a sky that starts blue at the top and then feathers into white at the horizon and then becomes progressively white towards the bottom of the backdrop. Study the sky on a cloudless or semi cloudless day and you will see the exact effect I am talking about.


Take pictures to use for reference if it will help. I do it from my memory of what the sky looks like on these type days and just by what looks good to my eye. Do not fuss with it too much. As long as your sky is blue on the top, starts to feather into white at the horizon and then becomes almost white towards the bottom, you will be fine.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 23rd, 2009 07:46 am
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Hints & Tips No.536
The "less is more" school of backdrop painting Part 3

By Michael Tondee ( GA USA)
Now that we have our basic sky formed, for me it is time to add some distant mountains. Once again we are not looking for a lot of detail here. We just want to suggest the basic land forms. Most of my mountains are removable so I took them off the layout while painting the backdrop. At this point I put them back in order to locate where I want my background mountains to be.
I used a pencil to make minimal outlines of the mountains I'm going to paint on the backdrop and then I removed my 3D mountains once again. I used a chocolate brown color that is the same brand and in the same color family of the acrylic tan paint that I use for my base color on my landscape and did a very plain painting in of my background mountain shapes. I leave the edges of my painted mountains kind of fuzzy and not well defined.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 24th, 2009 09:52 am
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Hints & Tips No.537
The "less is more" school of backdrop painting Part 4

By Michael Tondee ( GA USA)
The next step has to be done carefully as it is very easy to overdo. What we will now try to accomplish is the look of atmospheric "haze" which will help to soften our background mountains even more and give the illusion of distance. You can either use an airbrush with flat white paint in it or a rattle can of flat white spray paint. I prefer an airbrush but I need a new wide coverage nozzle tip for mine so I had to settle for the rattle can.



Very lightly apply a dusting of the flat white over the peaks of the mountains and on down as far as they will be seen. Put a light mist above them on your sky as well. Open a window so you have adequate ventilation and I cannot stress enough to do it lightly. This will give the effect of very light cloud as you may see in any given distance photos.



From Trevor - Merry Xmas Everyone!

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 Posted: Fri Dec 25th, 2009 10:31 am
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Hints & Tips No.538
The "less is more" school of backdrop painting ... The Epilogue

By Michael Tondee ( GA USA)
I did the whole backdrop except for the original base coat of blue in one afternoon. If I tried to do detail like I do in some of my paintings, it would have taken me days. I think the overall effect and feeling of distance with the 'less is more" technique is quite satisfying. If you would like to paint trees on your mountains, you can, just use varying shades of green paint in the general shape of the type of tree you want. Again, do not over detail. You do not really see the individual trees when you view a mountain in the distance. It is more like "blobs" of green. I myself do not find anything but painting the mountain shapes necessary to get the overall effect I want.

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 Posted: Sat Dec 26th, 2009 09:20 am
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Hints & Tips No.539
Realistic Harvesting
By Ted Allan
Many modellers model furrowed fields as though they has been ploughed by a tractor in nicely squared blocks... but the ends finish often in grassland! Tractors need places to turn and the ground is usually ploughed underneath so that at the end of each of the tractor width of furrows is also a half circular ploughed piece of ground. Your ploughed field should then look more realistic!

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 Posted: Sun Dec 27th, 2009 07:12 am
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Hints & Tips No.540
Making Mountains Pt. 1
By Tim Stephenson
Plaster cloth is a plaster-impregnated cloth, much like the material used for making cast on broken bones. I start off with a design on the height and length that I want my mountain to be. I have found that a large cardboard box or a sheet of foam board will be the background and the base of my mountain. I cut out a section as to the shape and length of the mountains. This will form a "L" shape when looking at it for the side. I now take newspaper and ball it up; you will need numerous balls of newspaper. I then put the newspaper balls into the "L", working from the backside to the front and the bottom to the top. This is what will shape the mountain. To hold the balls in place, run strips of masking tape over balls and extend to the back of the mountain and under the bottom.
When putting the newspaper in place, do not try to keep it smooth. The bumpier the better, the newspaper is what will give your mountain some texture. Once I have shaped up the mountain with newspaper, I am ready to cover it. I take the plaster cloth and cut it into 1-foot sections, for easier handling. I take a section of plaster cloth and dip it into a bowl of water and lay it on the mountain. I start at one end and lay a section at a time, with a 2-inch overlap on the back of the mountain and a 2-inch overlap over each section. This will make it appear as though it is one section covering the entire mountain when it dries. I now put the mountain aside to dry overnight.
It is important that you allow the mountain to dry. All of the water that was put on the plaster cloth has now dripped down into the newspaper and we want the newspaper to dry before we paint the mountain or it could mildew.

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 Posted: Mon Dec 28th, 2009 09:12 am
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Hints & Tips No.541
Masking Tape Pt. 1
By Several Modellers
Many modellers have problems with sticking masking tape possibly spoiling paint jobs. Sticking the tape on a piece of glass first then peeling it off again reduces the tack of the tape and make final removal easier.
Hints & Tips No.542
Tips for Laying Smooth Roads Pt 1
By Bruce Leslie (MA, USA)
I use Durhams brand Water Putty here in the USA but there are other brands around the world. It sets up pretty quickly, so I add a bit if white vinegar to it to give me more working time. (I used red wine vinegar once. It worked OK, but my layout smelled like a salad for about a week.)
The trick, which I credit to Bob Grech, is to use a 2-inch foam brushes. I keep a yogurt cup half full of water handy. As the putty starts to set up, I brush over with the foam brush, keeping it wet. This smooths the road down very nicely. When the water gets too dirty, I dump it (outside - not in the sink) and get some more. By working the surface for about 15-20 minutes after it is poured, I get an even surface.
The putty holds a shape, too, so you can form a crown if you wish. It will not settle into a flat profile.

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 Posted: Tue Dec 29th, 2009 09:06 am
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Hints & Tips No.543
Masking Tape Pt. 2
By Several Modellers
When masking off work for painting, never use the natural edge of the tape for a masking line on a model. Always cut a new edge once the tape has been applied.
Hints & Tips No.544
Making Mountains Pt. 2
By Tim Stephenson
When my mountain is dry, I am ready to paint it according to the season that it will be used in. Should I want to use it as a North Pole Mountain, I would paint it with White latex to give a snow effect and before the paint dries, I would sprinkle glitter in the wet paint so that my paint acts as glue as well. Once dried, my mountain will have a North Pole glitter effect.

Should I want to use my mountain for other seasons, I will paint with brown latex. This will give the effect of dirt when I am finished. While the paint is still wet, I sprinkle the entire mountain with various colors of Woodland Scenics Turf. I do not use any set patterns of color, just sprinkle it at random as nature would do. The wet paint will act as glue for the turf when it dries. Once the paint has dried I take a mister bottle and spray the entire mountain with Woodland Scenics Spray Cement. The spray cement will seal the turf in place and allow you to dust off your mountain with out pulling up the turf.

I can now decorate my mountain with bushes and trees and any other items that I want to have on the mountain. A roll of plaster cloth will cover 10 square feet and comes in a roll 8 inches wide by 15 feet long.

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 Posted: Wed Dec 30th, 2009 06:39 am
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Hints & Tips No.545
Tips for Laying Smooth Roads Pt 2
By Thomas Statton (Tennessee USA)
Office supply stores where I live sell rolls of cork that's about 1/16" or 1/8" thick for notice boards etc. It is sticky backed and for model railways makes a great road base. Lay this down as your roadbed. Sand it smooth and then do a skim coat or two with water putty or plaster. Adding a bit of vinegar to the mix gives you longer working time as mentioned and keep your tools wet.
I recommend some staples or small nails to help hold the cork down instead of just relying on the sticky back glue.
Hints & Tips No.546
Masking Tape Pt. 3
By Several Modellers
When masking off work for painting, never use the natural edge of the tape for a masking line on a model. Always cut a new edge once the tape has been applied.

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 Posted: Thu Dec 31st, 2009 10:40 am
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Hints & Tips No.547
Cobblestone
By Trevor Gibbs
While out shopping yesterday (well as this was written anyway) I was pondering my soft serve yoghurt when I noticed the texture of the foam cup. By the heading of this H&T, you can probably see where this might be going! I took the cup home and cut the main cone part of the body off and it neatly flattened to give a slight curve and the texture I was looking for. While I have not yet glued it to the layout nor painted it in the colour I think cobblestones should be, it looked effective.
Foam is often used in packaging and I do not know why I had not seen this before and I could imagine, painted appropriately, it could be used to represent gravel roads as well.


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 Posted: Fri Jan 1st, 2010 09:11 am
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Hints & Tips No.548
Tips for Laying Smooth Roads Pt 3
By Hamish West
I use 1/8" Masonite for paved roads. I can cut curves, route a chamfered edge before painting, and then use 1/16" white and yellow chart tapes for the lines. For country roads, I use fine ballast packed down smooth. I have never needed to sand the road. I mix a little grey into black to simulate asphalt in parking lots and alleys, and use buff with some brown [very little] for country gravel roads.
Hints & Tips No.549
Mounting Bulk Cargo in open wagons
By Mike Cheesman
Use a cardboard insert to fill most of the space of a wagon in a 'bulk' cargo such as coal, iron ore, ballast/stone or limestone and you add the scenic materials on the top , to form the visible load mounds. Saves both weight and materials.

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 Posted: Sun Jan 10th, 2010 08:17 pm
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Hints & Tips No.550
Covering your layout during scenery construction
By Michael Tondee (GA USA)
Over the years I have tried many different ways of covering my layout during scenery construction. I have used painters plastic drop cloths and used masking tape or duct tape over my trackage but I always go back to a cheap simple method that works well.
I cover it with newspaper and then take a spray bottle and mist water all over the news paper to moisten it and make it lay down over the track and finished contours. Do not overdo with the water, you need just enough to make the paper lay down. If it starts to dry before you are finished, you can always mist some more on. This is not some new novel trick by any means and has been around for years but I thought I would pass it on as like so many things, simple methods like this get forgotten and lost in the shuffle sometimes.
One can also tear newspaper into track width strips and lay it on track in tight spaces. Then just mist it down and it becomes a very effective way to protect the track and layout.

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 Posted: Mon Jan 11th, 2010 11:48 am
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Hints & Tips No.551
Etched Number Boards and Road Signs
By Russ Straw
I was playing around with some etched road sign plates and coincidentally some number plates from locomotives. The instructions told me to hand paint the raised lettering but I was having a hard time keeping the paint on top of the letters and not running down between. After stripping and starting over, painting them and letting the paint dry really well, I decided to shave off the paint over the raised lettering and numberings and trim the edge with a razor. I then "painted" the lettering and numbering with Gun Blue to chemically blacken the exposed brass and made the numbers and letters stand out.
From Bob Knight - Another tip is to paint the main colour of the background and place the raised letters down on wet/dry sandpaper with some water. Sand off the paint on only the raised detail and then use the chemical bluing.

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