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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Thu Mar 11th, 2010 08:04 pm
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Hints & Tips No.612
Ballasting 101 Pt 1
By Raymond Stewart (GA USA)
I use a very fine grade of crushed limestone. After I have made sure that I am happy with the trackwork and all is running nicely, I paint the track and ties with a Rustoleum camouflage dark brown spray paint. I like to ballast my track before I do the rest of the scenery. I do not suppose that it is critical to do one before the other.

I use a spoon for scooping ballast and lay it along the centerline of the track. I then take a fairly small soft paint brush (up to a 1/4 inch wide) and spread the ballast. Some will work to the outsides of the rails. I try and keep the ballast slightly below the tops of the ties, but that is just a personal thing. In real life you see many different amounts of ballast on track.

If need be, I add a little extra ballast to the outside area of the track and use the brush to get it in place.

The last thing that I do is to take something like a spoon or other slightly heavy metal object and tap it lightly along the railheads. I hold it like a drumstick and continually tap the loose end up and down the rail. This will help settle the ballast and help remove any that is sitting on the ties.

I like to use Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol (the lower 70% percent is good) to pre-wet the ballast so the glue will immediately soak in and not bubble up on top of the ballast. I place it in a spray bottle that will spray a mist. I then soak a few feet of ballast fairly well with it. Next I use a mixture of Elmers white glue and water, 4 parts water to one part glue and a drop of liquid detergent (for super wetting) in an applicator bottle. If you can find a squeeze bottle with a twist open/close top, that works well. I use an Elmer's white glue bottle that has been emptied. Mustard squeeze bottle is another one that should work.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 12th, 2010 08:20 pm
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Hints & Tips No.613
Ballasting 101 Pt 2
By Raymond Stewart (GA USA)
I place the mix of water/glue/detergent in the bottle and shake it well. You will have some bubbling from the detergent but that will go away if you let it sit for a short time. You can also open the twist top and squeeze some of the bubbles out and then close it.

Now you are ready to apply the glue to the track. Turn the bottle upside down over the track and slowly open the twist top till you can squeeze the bottle and control the drops of glue coming out. Just start soaking (and I mean soaking) the ballast and track with the glue. With the prewetting alcohol and the drop of detergent added, the glue will soak right into the ballast. If it bubbles up on top of the ballast and does not soak in, then give the area another quick shot of alcohol.

This is not necessarily going to look pretty, but leave it several hours to setup and dry. You will be surprised how good it looks once it is dry.

I like to use white glue since it is water soluable and if at a later date I decide that I want to make changes to the track, it is easy to soak the ballast with water and remove it and the track with minimal damage.

Try a test length of track and see how you like it.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 14th, 2010 12:57 am
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 Hints & Tips No.614


Making Rivets cheaply
By Michael Sheridan

A cheap option to emboss rivets is a 'pounce' wheel that is used to trace patterns through paper. It is a sort of sharpened gear wheel in a holder (bit like the front wheel and fork of a bicycle) and you roll it along the surface pressing down. Craft or dressmaker supplies should have them.

You could also make your own by literally sharpening a gear and making a wooden holder with a small bolt for an axle. Methinks using a gear made to mesh with a worm (with the teeth at an angle), cutting the middle of the teeth out and sharpening the remaining outside ends of each tooth you could get a double, staggered row of rivets which would be great for a lot of construction work.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 14th, 2010 11:09 pm
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Hints & Tips No.615

Cleaning Dust from Locomotives

By Several Modellers

For surface debris, the best dust remover is a VERY fine chalk brush. I purchased one at an art store. It has VERY VERY fine bristles. The base of the bristles are very narrow and then it blossoms out to about the size of one's thumb or more.

With a mini-vac and the fine bristled chalk brush, you can get into all kinds of nooks and crannies and get the engine looking great.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 15th, 2010 09:23 pm
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 Hints & Tips No.616
Cleaning Used Engines

By Jay Walsh

On engines that are dirty, especially used or "garage sale" engines, it is usually better to dismantle the engine, clean each part, re-lubricate the parts, then reassemble.

This gives you a chance to wash the dirt grime and cigarette smoke off with a good detergent and warm water. Use a small paint brush to get dirt loose from wheel spokes and in corners. Cigarette smoke is oily and collects dust, so it will not just blow off.

Be careful to get all insulated wheels on the correct side when you re-assemble. It is a good time to make any repairs and mount new couplers, traction tires, brushes, etc. too. It will be worth the time and help to keep your track clean.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 06:12 am
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 Hints & Tips No.617
Bringing Out Yellow and White in Painting

By Jay Walsh

Back when we used to do paint jobs on our Harley tanks, we found that a light coat of silver over the grey primer, made yellows, and whites brilliant. It seems to reflect the color better when the color is thin, which we need to prevent hiding detail like rivets on our models.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 09:14 pm
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Hints & Tips No.618
Thinning Water Based Paints
By Dean Schultz
I have found, when using water-based paints, that a little general purpose alcohol for thinner will speed up drying time and allow a smoother finish. It also seems to thin the paint better than water

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 Posted: Thu Mar 18th, 2010 08:58 pm
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Hints & Tips No.619
Trackside Detail Pt 1
By David Arnold and Chris Thompson
Do not throw away those pieces of track that were torn apart. Paint them a rusty color and lay the ties and rails along the track like the prototypes do. Make your sleepers look distressed and non uniform in shape to really add to the atmosphere.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 19th, 2010 09:52 pm
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Hints & Tips No.620
Trackside Detail Pt 2
By Ben Jackson
Take something really hot to some of those obviously plastic vehicles such as Bachmanns, and paint them so that they look a little heavy weathered. You have a scrapped car that can go ANYWHERE.

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 Posted: Sat Mar 20th, 2010 09:52 pm
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Hints & Tips No.621
Ideas for Animation even in smaller scales Pt 1
By Several Modellers
A helicopter driven by a small motor of some sort with its rotor spinning slowly. A plane in an airport module that looks like it is getting ready to take off. There is a small aquarium air pump under the table and blows up through a small hole in the runway to make the prop spin.
A skip loader. Underneath there is a small motor with a wheel rotating at about 1RPM . Attached to the edge of this wheel is a fine wire that passes up through the layout and is attached to the bucket of a skip loader. The wire flexes to take up the circular motion. No parts to wear out!
Merry-go-rounds, ski-lifts and Container cranes.

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 Posted: Mon Mar 22nd, 2010 04:16 am
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Hints & Tips No.622
Ideas for Animation even in smaller scales Pt 2
By Several Modellers
A guy flying a control line model plane. The plane can be attached to the figure with a length of thin, rigid wire and the figure spins slowly on a motor under the module.
A radar antenna on the top of a control tower that spins slowly with a gearhead motor underneath.
Flashing Crossing lights and Wig Wag signals or opening and closing crossing gates

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 Posted: Tue Mar 23rd, 2010 01:36 am
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Hints & Tips No.623
Making Shingles and Roofing
By Gary Rose (USA)
I use strips (scale 3 to 4 feet wide) of toilet paper. I paint the roof and then while it is still wet I press the paper into the paint using my paint brush. After it has dried a few minutes I go back over the paper with more paint. This looks more like rolled roofing than shingles. Cutting narrower strips and cutting notches into them and then overlapping the strips, they then look more like shingles.

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 Posted: Tue Mar 23rd, 2010 08:52 pm
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Hints & Tips No.624
Making Tunnel Accesses
By Several Modellers
a. If the tunnel abuts the side of the layout, cut out access windows in the side of the tunnel.
b. Another is the removable top. Right now, my train on grade level passes under an elevated township over the level grade, 3 inches in N and 5 inches in OO/HO. The train passes under the town, but one end is completely open and all I have to do is reach, and it is a blind side to the layout. But the top is removable.
c. I just left the back part of the tunnels open so I can take the facia off to get at them.
d. My tunnel has a couple of "skylights" in it that are covered over by structures. If there is a need to get into the tunnel, I just move the building.

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 Posted: Wed Mar 24th, 2010 09:02 pm
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Hints & Tips No.625
Construction Do's and Don'ts
By Ben Jaeger
DOs:

-Plan and plan and replan until your plan is right.
-Research prototypical track planning practices as appropriate. What works on the real thing works on the model, space permitting.
-Use as broad curves and as small grades as needed for the length of trains you will want to run.
-Be really patient and make sure you finish and check each step of the process as you go. Do not let small errors build up into big problems. Test track thoroughly and give it some time to show you any faults before ballasting and scenery.
-Keep your wiring as neat and labeled as you can. Think ahead about where it's going to go.
-Ask for advice. Invite friends to help if that suits you.
-Enjoy!

DON'T:

-Rush.
-Put too much pressure on yourself.
-Be afraid to change your plan at any time.
-Be cocky about how long a train you can pull up a steep graded curve.
-Be afraid of any part of the process.
-Let other people tell you what your goals are.
-Stop.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 26th, 2010 01:02 am
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Hints & Tips No.626
Using Various Containers in Model Building
By Several Modeller's
a... I save my larger spice bottles for sprinkling ground foam for scenery. I even bought one of the big restaurant sized bottles (bay leaves, I think it was) specifically for the purpose.  And a warning: if you do this, label them well. Ground foam can look a lot like oregano but it does not have quite the same flavour.

b... I save my 35mm plastic canisters that film come in - and use them to mix paint for the airbrush and also to mix different shades of scenic material together. You can then sprinkle the scenery right from the canister.

c... Another trick for mixing paint is to use a small piece of aluminum foil and form it over the lid of a paint jar, to make a temporary, disposable 'cap' to mix a small amount of paint in. When you are done, just crrinkle it up and throw it away.


d...Medicinal pill containers from druggist also work very well for the above purpose. For storage of bits and things, for those of you who smoke either cigars or a pipe, the boxes or tins are a natural.

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 Posted: Fri Mar 26th, 2010 10:18 pm
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 Hints & Tips No.627
Touching up Models Pt 1

By Gerry Mahlkoff (Florida)

Got to do a little touch up on something you spray bomb painted? Added a detail to something you sprayed with Dullcote? Don't have the color or the Dullcote except in a spray can?

If you are familiar with the clear vacuum formed packaging truck sets or superglue come in, simply spray a little of your color or Dullcote into one of them and brush on. Spray heavily and you'll get enough liquid on a corner to paint a small spot with a brush. Then, just throw the packaging away, which you were going to do anyway.

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 Posted: Sat Mar 27th, 2010 10:48 pm
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Hints & Tips No.628
Touching up Models Pt 2
By John Widmar (Colorado)
When sanding down a loco, carriage or wagon that has been filled in with putty I use a can of auto primer spray paint (gray) and give it a quick spray. It dries in minutes and you can see the rough spots that still need work and start sanding with out much loss of time. A good primer is very fine and will not hide any detail.

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 Posted: Sun Mar 28th, 2010 10:37 am
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Hints & Tips No.629
Using Coffee Filters
By Russell Straw
Coffee filters make great cleaning rags because they do not turn to lint very easy. I use them for track cleaning and blotting decals to clean them up after the setting solution has dried.

From Trevor -
Sounds like the Coffee Filters could also make wheel cleaners as per an earlier hint Number 21on http://www.mremag.com … now if someone would feed back their experience to me...


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 Posted: Sun Mar 28th, 2010 11:54 am
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Make contact, if you've got time Trevor.  :thumbs



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 Posted: Sat Apr 3rd, 2010 11:38 pm
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Hints & Tips No.630
An Ersatz Spray Booth
By Dave Dunnell
I made a paint booth by taking two of those big clear plastic storage tubs you can get at Target or wherever... Then I cut squares in one side of both of them, and taped them together top to top with painter's tape. You can take a small fluorescent light and lay it on top. The clear plastic lets the light come through well so you can see what you are doing. You can also screw a brush holder into the side to hold your brush. And when you need to move or clean it, you just take it apart and hose it out.

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