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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Fri Feb 19th, 2010 09:38 pm
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Hints & Tips No.592
Nscale Ballasting using Chinchilla Dust
By Several Modellers
For N gauge ballast I use a product called Chinchilla dust available from pet shops, it is very fine indeed, sold cheaply in large quantities generally it is very pale in colour like new ballast. You can always colour it by spraying or using weathering powders. I have always found so-called 'scale' ballast hugely overscale generally speaking use the size down from your scale. But for 2mm any proprietary ballast sold is far too coarse in my opinion. I also use this in 4mm for that fine look in around sidings & oily loco depots.

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 Posted: Sat Feb 20th, 2010 10:30 pm
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Hints & Tips No.593
Making Slates using Plasticard
By Andrew Carroll
I use standard 5 thou plasticard with the slate scribed then cut into strips - it is then laid with a prototypical overlap to get the correct effect.

You can also put in the occasional slipped slate in as well using this method, and it is far easier than cutting and laying individual slates

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 Posted: Sun Feb 21st, 2010 08:22 pm
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Hints & Tips No.594
Fitting Kadees to Bachmann Mk1 Coaches
By David Smith
If you have permanent coupling or semi-permanent coupling is not an option you should use the coupler supplied by cropping it off just behind the hook.
Then take a Kadee 17/18 coupler set, drill through the shank of both it and the Bachmann stub, secure them with a piece of plastic rod or dowel, apply Plastic weld and leave to dry. When finished, the coupling can be inserted in the normal matter, but at correct coupling height.

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 Posted: Mon Feb 22nd, 2010 09:30 pm
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Hints & Tips No.595
Wiring DIN and Computer Plugs for Throttles etc
By Several Modellers
If you have a 5 pin DIN socket or computer 9 pin, try filing the area to be soldered with a little needle file. Put the plug in the socket to hold it before trying to solder, it will keep the pins in the right place then tin it.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 24th, 2010 12:04 am
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Hints & Tips No.596
How do I fix my blackened soldering tip?
By Several Modellers
Have you had your soldering iron on for a while, and the has turned black? Not taking any solder and no amount of wiping on the sponge helps? You have several possible actions. You can lightly run a file over it, and rapidly tin it or dip it in flux when hot (in a well ventilated area!) or give it a quick scrape with a scalpel blade and a big blob of resin cored solder. Steel wool is also effective. As long as you have a small part of your tip tinned right on the point of the tip, the iron will then work.

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 Posted: Wed Feb 24th, 2010 11:50 pm
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Hints & Tips No.597
Soldering Iron Precaution
By Trevor Gibbs
As tempting as it might seem, avoid burning holes in plastics with soldering irons. The vaporised plastic can get into the element area and can corrode it very quickly and shorten your soldering iron's life considerably. The fumes will also not do your own health much of a favour either.

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 Posted: Thu Feb 25th, 2010 08:43 pm
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Hints & Tips No.598
Suggestions for Curtains/ Nets in Houses/Buildings
by Jeffrey Lynn (Melbourne Australia)
I have used painted tissue paper for curtains in a model coach, in the past.

For houses, I tend to use cuttings from sales catalogues and brochures for fabric shops (like Spotlight in Australia, Argos in the UK - fill in a suitable name here for your own country!). We usually get these things in the "junk" mail. Scan them and make by printing multiples if necessary.

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 Posted: Fri Feb 26th, 2010 08:27 pm
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Hints & Tips No.599
Lessons Learned Getting Started in N
By Steve Pirouet (Berks)

1. Go for as large radius points as possible as I find they give the best running and simplest track laying
2. Be prepared to make errors in track laying and relay the track or throw errors away. The lightness of some stock can really show up a gap or poorly aligned track.
3. Just because it is N scale, do not try and cram track in.
4. If you have a curve to a fiddle yard that is tight, you can link code 55 to code 80 set-track to get the best curve in, but avoid radius 1.



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 Posted: Sat Feb 27th, 2010 08:48 pm
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Hints & Tips No.600
Removing Rivets from Locomotive and Wagon Bodies
By Several Modellers
Many models come with moulded on rivets and other details that we may or may not want there. You can scrape them off fairly cleanly by using a chisel type hobby blade in a similar fashion to a plane by having the beveled edge of the blade flat on the surface. It appears to be the “wrong way around” but If you use the chisel blade this way, it will have less of a tendency to dig in to the plastic. Finishing off with Wet and Dry sandpaper in wet mode will assist a better finish

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 Posted: Sun Feb 28th, 2010 08:46 pm
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Hints & Tips No.601
Hints for constructing Brass Coach Kits Pt 1
By Barry Oliver, (Leeds)
1 Clean all surface before trying to solder - glass fibre pencil or very fine wet and dry work well
2 Use decent solder and flux - I use fluxite for some joints and a mildly acid based flux for others
3 Keep your soldering iron tip clean
4 Always "tin" brass parts - this makes it quicker to make the final joint - ie clean each face of a joint, flux it and put a very thin smear of solder along the parts to be joined
5 Trial solder some spare bits of brass together to get used to soldering
6 Trial solder some brass and white metal together - this is the most difficult bit - and keep the whitemetal parts clean

and wash the coach down when you have finished soldering - I use a toothbrush and CIF as a starter.

You do not need a 50W iron - you can solder a comet coach kit together using a 25W one with decent joint cleaning and flux/solder

The answer to good assembly is: Trial runs are good - use the right tools - keep everything clean

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 Posted: Mon Mar 1st, 2010 09:04 pm
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Hints & Tips No.602
Hints for constructing Brass Coach Kits Pt 2
By Michael Bennett (Essex)
Ensure all cusps are cleaned off etch parts. Always bend parts with at least a straight edge in use. Always deepen etched bend lines until you can see a witness mark on the other side it will help it stopping the metal from distorting during the bending process. Check fit of parts before soldering .
Make up some jigs from a couple of pieces of timber with a straight edge/corner they can help with corners of the sides/ends when making joints. Always wash brass after EVERY soldering session . Be careful with heat as it can distort thin brass very easily.

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 Posted: Tue Mar 2nd, 2010 08:27 pm
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Hints & Tips No.603
Laying Track on Doors
By John Harriott (Australian Capital Territory)
On a road bed of 12mm exterior ply or masonite interior doors with 3mm cork underlay, I 'drill/melt' a hole in the sleeper with a hot pin and press the track pin with the flat of a set of side cutters or needle nose pliers in a controlled action similar to pressing a bearing. I then apply white glue and when set, I lift the track pins. Then ballast at leisure. This method had worked well in both N scale and HO ever since I laid my first length of flexi track in the '70s.

I am currently experimenting with Trackrite foam in HO but use a similar method to that outlined above. Equally, I use screws and glue to assemble base boards rather than nails.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 3rd, 2010 08:39 pm
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Hints & Tips No.604
Sealing MDF
By Several Modellers
Many of us use MDF as a backing for our models. The general rule with MDF is to give a coat of sealer, say PVA acrylic, on both sides,all edges, before scenic papers or plastikard sheets are glued to it. In short anything to prevent damp getting in to the MDF. Modern MDF is quite good at resisting damp and much better than fibre board. The side with plasticard on it will not pass damp, but it might get at the back and then the warp might start, if the board is un-protected. There is also a theory that the PVA or varnish when drying if applied to one side only will cause a surface tension pull and warp the MDF anyway.
Thinned PVA glue can be used as a sealer, or you can go even further and use Cellulose sealer, or even resin... but seal both sides!

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 Posted: Thu Mar 4th, 2010 08:05 pm
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Hints & Tips No.605
Warped roof panel fix

By Dave Nelson (Wisconsin)

With certain warped parts in kits, it is possible to cut them into sections with clean cuts, make them each as flat as possible, and re-cement them together while flattened. This relieves the tension of the warp and if you are lucky it is possible to minimize the mismatches of the sections being mated back together in flattened form.

Another technique I have used, sometimes with success, is to simply bull the part into flatness by gluing it or cementing it (I suppose even screwing it, in some circumstances) to something which is unyieldingly flat and rigid. The hardware store has steel and aluminum "L" shapes that would be difficult to bend, for example, and are fairly lightweight.

There are some rather flimsy kits that need this kind of reinforcement.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 5th, 2010 09:09 pm
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Hints & Tips No.606

Stripping Paint on Shells Pt 1

By Roman Hawryluk (Canada)

The topic of stripping paint off models comes up fairly regularly on the lists I subscribe to so here is a summary of what has been said and shown to work: This is directed at US based models but the same strategies will apply to the different brands of UK Models.

The first thing you need to do is determine the type of paint on the model (factory or custom), the approximate age of the model, and the make.

Post mid-1990's Athearn, all Atlas, all Life-Life Proto, and many Walthers models will strip with 90%+ isopropyl alcohol. It is fairly easily found at you neighbourhood drugstore and is not that expensive (under $4 for 1/2 a litre). Avoid the 70% rubbing alcohol - it will work, but very slowly and may not work at all on some models (read: not all colours come off the same).


All Life-Like Proto 2000, Proto 1000, and Atlas (except the Brazilian made Clay tank cars) will strip to bare plastic with very little scrubbing. Walthers and Athearn take a bit more time (many hours to days). The big advantage with the alcohol is that it will not damage almost all plastics, even after several weeks (don't ask how I know...).

Intermountain factory paint is not paint but rather an ink and will only remove with Accupaint thinner in my experience. But their "paint" is so thin that you can use the iso alcohol to remove the lettering and any pad printed graphics before repainting.

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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2010 08:49 pm
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Hints & Tips No.607

Stripping Paint on Shells Pt 2

By Roman Hawryluk


Enamel paints, old Athearn, and old MDC/Roundhouse will dissolve with Easy-Off oven cleaner. Again you will be left with clean bare plastic. But the solvent in the paint may have etched the surface of the plastic so you will be left with some trace colour (a MDC boxcar painted BN will still have a green tint after stripping).

Brake fluid is the stripper of last resort – it is highly toxic and the additives that are good for your car's brakes are not so good for your plastic model. I have not used it in the best part of 20 years.

Pine-Sol - I have only heard of it being used on Kato models, and only with mixed results. Use only real Pine-Sol brand.

Old Walthers kits (white & blue boxes) will strip bare with ELO (A Note from Trevor – I assume that this is a North American proprietary brand of cleaner).

With all strippers the important thing is to keep the removed paint away from the model - rinse the model with the stripper first before
using water and soap, and don't get any water in the strippers. If there is still paint left on the model after you have washed it in
water, let it dry completely before returning to the stripper.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 7th, 2010 10:03 pm
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Hints & Tips No.608

Stripping Paint on Shells Pt 3

By Roman Hawryluk

Method:

Alcohol: Very easy - just get a plastic tupperware-like food container from the Dollar store that will fit the model. Put the shell in and fill with alcohol. Some people like to use a tall container for pasta, or large mouth jars. Whatever you use, you want it to be large enough to be able to get a toothbrush in next to the shell to help loosen the paint, but only as large as needed to submerge the shell. Actually, submerging the entire shell is not a requirement as you can do half a shell at a time. As long as your stripper covers a bit more than half the width of the shell, you can strip each side separately. An added bonus with using alcohol - if it does not work it is very unlikely to damage anything so it is a good one to start with when you are unsure of the origin of the paint on the model.

ELO and Pine-Sol - use a similar method as the alcohol. More scrubbing during the stripping process is required. Washing with soap is a must.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 8th, 2010 08:35 pm
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Hints & Tips No.609
Stripping Paint on Shells Pt 4
By Roman Hawryluk
Easy-Off needs a little more care as it is very caustic. Wear gloves! Place the shell in a large zip-lock bag, spray the cleaner on the painted portions of the shell, toss it in the bag, close bag and let it sit for a few hours. Check the progress often. When it looks like the paint has lifted, remove the shell from the bag, and rinse with water. Discard the bag with the cleaner. Working over a large sink that can be easily rinsed quickly is a good idea.

For all: WEAR GLOVES (latex are okay but nitrile are better), and make sure that there is sufficient ventilation (I work in a small bathroom with the fan running). Wash the shell with soap (Ivory bar soap or dish detergent) and a soft brush to remove any traces of the stripper and any loose bits of paint. Air dry the shell and then check for any remaining bits of paint in corners and crevices (boxcar doors are the worst offenders).

A warning about stripping Kato shells - nothing works well on their paint, and all of the above affect their plastic adversely by leaching out one of the components of the ABS they use. My advice for stripping Kato paint: do not bother, get an undecorated shell.

Good luck!

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 Posted: Tue Mar 9th, 2010 07:45 pm
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Hints & Tips No.610

Painting Etched Brass Kits
By Bob Knight



These are the steps I give to people who have purchased my etched brass kits:

1) Build Model First
2) Spray/Brush model with lacquer thinner to remove all dirt, oils and contaminents.
3) Air dry with hair dryer
4) Dip cleaned model in vinegar to "etch"
5) Rinse with water
6) Air dry with hair dryer
7) Paint within 6 hours of etch

If you use CA glues (super glues) for any part of the assembly, do not bake your enamel paint.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 10th, 2010 08:16 pm
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Hints & Tips No.611
Using Expandable Foam
By Mark Gasson (NZ)
As anyone who has used it will confirm, the expanding foams are hard to control as you spray them on, and it might seem a bit wasteful this way, but those who use it like being able to carve a railway through a landscape. This way is quick, and the foam is strong and lightweight.



It may be hard to control when you spray it but you can manipulate it successfully at the stage when it has skinned over (it reacts with moisture in the atmosphere) but still soft inside. Use disposable gloves and press it into shape with your hands. It is rather satisfying and the result is a denser (and harder) skin with no gaps.

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