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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Tue May 30th, 2017 10:52 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1936

Removing Roadbed glued to Foam

by Mervin Millard


I needed to remove some plywood roadbed from a foam base to rebuild my yard but a friend tore his base doing a similar task which was also glued with liquid nails. I am fairly handy with wood and happened to own a router but would not have thought of it until my friend said that he wished he had planed or scraped his material off. I set up a pair of support sides and set the plunger depth. As an insurance, I had my friend vacuum as I went along but it only required minimal sanding to finish it off and the yard area was relaid in a few days.


As a postcript, I helped my friend repair his torn board by routing out the gouge to an even shape and depth and cutting a block out of fresh foam and using liquid nails to hold it. We were also vacuuming as we went to minimise the dust. A sanding after it had set and he was under way again with his particular project.

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 Posted: Sat Jun 3rd, 2017 12:46 am
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Hints & Tips No.1937

Matching Paint on existing Rolling Stock

by Ray McGill

If you wish to match an existing paint sample for repair purposes, use the glossy clear Scotch tape when trying to match paint colours. Tear off some strips and paint it. It only takes a few moments for the paint to dry. Then you can place the tape on the car or engine and it will stick. This allows you to free your hands. If the paint is not an exact match, then remove it and tear a new piece of tape, painted with your altered colour. Repeat the process until you have a close colour match. Use the clear glossy tape to give a good approximation of the actual colour and aids in matching for glossy items. For items that are dulled, use the tape that has the "white" finish on it.

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 Posted: Mon Jun 5th, 2017 10:13 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1938



Scratch Building Buildings in Styrene


by Wayne Toth

If you are going to build in styrene, use only styrene unless some necessary component is not available in that material. Bracing styrene with wood means different adhesives than the solvent cement which you'd use for styrene, and that would apply for pretty well any combination of materials. Plastruct siding (and most of their sheet materials, in my experience) is more expensive than similar stuff from Evergreen, and some of it is not styrene, either.

You can use Evergreen strip styrene for the simple bracing required at corners - .125"x.125" (3mm) is sufficient for that. For stiffening long walls, or supporting large roof areas and for creating the large roof areas, a good and economical choice would be .060" sheet styrene. Buy a 4'x8' sheet of it - it can be rolled-up and taped into a tube small enough to transport in the front seat of your car. Use a carpenter's square and a utility knife when cutting it into the pieces required. As bracing, you can make one-piece floors and/or ceilings to stiffen long walls, and it can also be used as partitions to support large roof areas.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 8th, 2017 10:34 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1939

Making your own concrete embedded rail in Styrene

by Mike Lehmann

To make concrete embedded track, sheet styrene slightly less thick than the rail is tall is a good choice. You want a little clearance above the paving so that you do not mess up the paint or whatever you decide on to represent the paving when cleaning track etc. Most common N scale rail height is code 80, which means it is 0.080" tall, so sheet goods that are 0.060" thick or less should work.

I use basswood sheeting to do this in HO, but there extra height to work with there. Wood that is thin is more easily broken, but works well if you are careful.
I glue the paving to the surface underneath, but then just let it butt up against the rail while riding on the ties in most cases. If there is a spot where it pops up a little then you can glue it. Plastic also shines here, because it's a bit easier to cut curves in, where the grain in wood will sometimes be an issue.
Plastic sheeting also come with surfaces that imitate brick or stone, which may be of interest rather than plain old concrete.
I generally use thick gap filling CA glue. Just be sure not to get it into the point throws of switches, etc. It sticks well enough, but can also be popped loose by sliding a putty knife under it if I need to change something or do maintenance.

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 Posted: Sun Jun 11th, 2017 01:46 am
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Hints & Tips No.1940

Modelling Lead Roofing

by Giles Bettison

For the lead, I have simply used kitchen foil, glued down with PVA (which works fine) and then brush painted with (aerosol) grey primer, then black and then grey again, all before it is fully dry, and then coated in talcum powder. I dare say there are much better ways to do it, but it worked for me.

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 Posted: Tue Jun 13th, 2017 10:19 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1941

Inserting Insulated Rail Gaps

by Russ Bellinis

If you cannot readily put a peco or similar insulated joiner in place, you can insert an insulated track section by inserting a piece of tough plastic in a gap cut with a razor saw. Bread wrapper clips are easy to trim with a knife or scissors and can be epoxied or superglued up into place.

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 Posted: Fri Jun 16th, 2017 10:47 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1942

Using N Scale Cork Roadbed to represent OO/HO secondary lines

by Tom Haag

I use N-scale cork on my HO scale railroad to represent yard or secondary track. I separate the N-scale cork road bed but I keep the bevelled sides towards the centre line with both bevels facing each other making a "V". This way it is easy to lay it against the centreline and then the width is just a little wider then HO ties. I glue the track down so this gap just fills up with glue.

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 Posted: Mon Jun 19th, 2017 01:08 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1943

Screws for Attaching Fascia

by John Busby

My own fascia is lining boards and I attach it to my baseboards and frames using countersunk wood screws. If I was using masonite or bending ply I would be using washer headed screws.

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 Posted: Fri Jun 23rd, 2017 01:15 am
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Hints & Tips No.1944

Magnets for Attaching Fascia

by Elias Thienpont

I use Metal plates which are glued to the back of the masonite backdrop. Magnets are glued to the stand-offs that will support the masonite. A wooden block keeps the masonite from slipping down, yet I can simply remove the Masonite to access the wires on the sub-fascia.

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 Posted: Mon Jun 26th, 2017 12:08 am
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Hints & Tips No.1945

Insulating wheel contacts from loco frame

by Terry Bannister

I repowered an old Mantua 0-6-0. The wheel power pickup was mounted to the frame with a rubber bushing around a 1-72 screw. Bushing fell apart.

Stuck with no replacement part, I tried a 1/8" piece of shrink tubing on the screw (loose, not shrunk). As I tightened the screw, the tubing compressed under the head and formed a perfect bushing.

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 Posted: Wed Jun 28th, 2017 11:07 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1946

Some Hints with Wood Kits

by Matthew Russell

If you only paint one side of the wood in a kit but not the other, you open yourself up to the possibility of warping. I have purposely done some construction with un-painted wood and achieved nice results but it was on the border of disaster the whole time. It only takes the thinnest coat to keep moisture out of wood so you should not lose any details. DO NOT spray dullcoat over acetate or plastic window glazing!! It will frost the windows, permanently. I try to save glazing for last because of that.

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 Posted: Sun Jul 2nd, 2017 12:49 am
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Hints & Tips No.1947

Prime Coating Parts in Wood Kits

by Victor Bitleris

I ALWAYS prime my wood parts prior to assembly, and often even paint the pieces prior to assembly. I also use ordinary yellow wood glue and have not had any problems with the parts coming undone. I just make sure I use light coats on all surfaces and don't let the paint build up.  Light coats of primer and paint still allows the wood to be porous enough to be glued.

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 Posted: Wed Jul 5th, 2017 12:20 am
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Hints & Tips No.1948

Recycling Lids as Paint Palettes Pt 1

by Several Modellers

I use an couple of old white plates, when one gets covered in dry blobs, soak it in a sink of water, rub it with an old scouring pad, scrape any stubborn lumps with a knife and pop it in the dishwasher. Usually comes out clear enough to start again. (Michael Miller)

I use the soft plastic lid from a 5 litre paint drum as a palette. When the acrylic dries, gently flex the lid and the paint peels off. The cleaned empty drum holds poly-bags of scenic materials. (Shaun Becker)

Those plastic trays from the supermarket that the meat comes in are useful as disposable palettes. Use them then into the recycle bin, paint scraps and all. They are also useful for holding bits when you are kit building so they do not get lost, and with a bit of ingenuity can be made into a very useful set of sliding drawers to hold odd bits and pieces. (Mick Spencer)

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 Posted: Fri Jul 7th, 2017 09:47 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1949

Recycling Lids as Paint Palettes Pt 2

by Several Modellers

Depending on what I am painting, I find the tray from the ready made meals are good for large paint jobs, on the smaller jobs I use the tops off the plastic milk containers. No washing required, bin them when finished. (Ron Barnes)

I like to use those yoghurt containers, the ones with the separate little corner section. They come with the plain yoghurt in the main section and the fruit in the small corner section. Anyway, I fill the small section with water and mix the paint in the larger section. (Terry Kempton)

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 Posted: Mon Jul 10th, 2017 09:58 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1950

Soldering Techniques

by Several Modellers

When soldering my track sections together, I used a small piece of damp rag on each side of the soldering joint to act as a heat sink. (Michael Lewis)

Use a heat sink between the iron and resistor or get in and out quickly. Make sure the tip is clean (Jim Wilson)

Many times I have used a pencil iron and dab of solder. Little flux. If the resistor has been laying around for a while, I use 150 grit sandpaper on a sanding block to shine it up. (Richard Durham)

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 Posted: Thu Jul 13th, 2017 11:08 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1951

Thoughts on Backdrop materials Pt 1

by Several Modellers

I always used 1/8" tempered masonite, but it needs to be well supported to avoid movement with humidity changes. I think it is marginally more stable than 1/8" MDF.

I have seen references to people using aluminium, which might be a good choice as long as any joints are filled with flexible caulking to accommodate temperature variations. (Steve Hanson)


A number of years ago, the Calgary British Modellers experimented with styrene for backdrops on portable layouts. I can say that after several different attempts and configurations it wasn't the way to go. Easy enough to splice and hide the joins with bond material but lacking in durability and structural stiffness. For a small (20') length it was ok but did not hold up to the stresses of portable layout use. (Andrew Cocker)

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 Posted: Sun Jul 16th, 2017 10:46 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1952

Thoughts on Backdrop materials Pt 2

by Andrew Castle

I used drywall for most of my backdrop because it is cheap, easy to work with, and easy to tape and plaster joints and screw holes. Also part of my room was bare drywall when I started, my peninsula has a wall up the middle made from 2x4s so it was easy to attach drywall in that part of the layout.




To cove my corners I used styrene, either .060" or .030" depending how sharp I wanted the radius of the cove to be. The styrene was glued to the drywall with construction adhesive and I put a couple screws in it to hold until the adhesive dried. After it was dry I used regular drywall compound to blend in the ends of the styrene. I kept the use of styrene to a minimum just because I do not like working with it, I find it too hard to hide joints and screw holes. I would also not use MDF as that stuff seems to warp if you sneeze on it. 1/8" tempered hardboard is also a good material, that I used for my fascia and valance and I would consider it for backdrops in the future.

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 Posted: Wed Jul 19th, 2017 09:27 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1953

If you are working with Matte Card...

by John Busby

A scalpel and plenty of spare blades your blades will have to be discarded at the very first signs of going blunt. Paper products give fuzzy cuts with blunt blades no good for modelling and a razor sharp blade is safer than a blunt blade. You will also need a good steel rule and if you can find one, a steel flat square. Also keep a very sharp lady's hat pin handy for dealing with any air bubbles in paper layers

Detail can be built up with layers of various thicknesses of paper and card to suit the detail required. For example an old fashioned panelled coach side would take say six layers of card Good quality shellac should be used to harden up all paper layers keep adding it until the paper or card just cannot absorb any more this will make the paper and card hard and resilient and the finished model more resilient.

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 Posted: Sun Jul 23rd, 2017 01:15 am
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Hints & Tips No.1954

Holding Models while painting Pt 1

by Bob Gilmore

I use toilet paper rolls to support bodies. For smaller bodies, I cut "wedges" out of the roles (on opposite sides of the roll) which makes the portion that sticks up inside the carbody shorter or narrower. For some parts, I use haemostats (blood clamps) on some parts as long as they are sturdy enough to not get squished. Most plastic parts, such as handrail/walkway/cab/truck sideframes/etc., have portions that are not visible when installed, and those spots are where I clamp.

For really small parts, I take some "reusable adhesive" like the rubbery/sticky stuff you use to put your child's artwork on the wall, stick a little blob of that to a 8" piece of strip wood, or a piece of wire coat-hanger, press the small part onto that, usually using the mounting pin on the part as what gets stuck in the blob of reusable adhesive, and spray away.

Remember to clean your parts BEFORE you put them on your holders, and use a new pair of un-powdered Latex gloves to put them on their holders before you start to paint. You do not want to get ANY finger oils on your parts. I usually wash plastic parts in mild, warm soapy water first, then use my airbrush to blow the water away.

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 Posted: Tue Jul 25th, 2017 10:36 pm
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Hints & Tips No.1955

Holding Models while painting Pt 2

by Jim Wiggin

I use those small 1-inch foam brushes which work great for N scale body shell painting. I have been using them for 15 years now. Thicker brushes should work well for OO/HO scales and the handle is long enough to handle with a spray gun. Locking tweezers for smaller parts work well too. Or mount some scrap foam on a dowel to act as a pseudo foam brush.

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