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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 12th, 2020 11:35 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2292
  
Cheap (or even free) Layout Paint
By Several Modellers
Around our area we have drop-offs for unwanted or excess materials. I have found this a treasure trove for paint of all kinds. The best part is the price of them, FREE! I have gotten paint for the layout and for the rooms. Interior and exterior, latex and oil based. Check around in your area, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. (Chris Rodda)
I usually buy my paint at big box stores for $5.00 /  gallon or less (sometimes they will haggle price).  It seems that many times they have brown / tan miss-mixes so I have not had a problem finding it. (Rick Wade)


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 Posted: Fri May 15th, 2020 11:12 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2293
Hiding the Seams in Removable Buildings
By Phil Herron
To keep the ground cover from entering the joint, I decided to glue and spike some thin cardboard to the base which covered the seam and could be covered with material to hide it.  I used gasket material from a tube which  I had purchased to use to shim cork roadbed where needed.  It is impervious to water but wetting it allows it to conform to minor contours.  When it dries it's quite stiff.  Now if I have to remove the building it will require little work to fix the scenery once reinstalled.


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 Posted: Mon May 18th, 2020 10:44 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2294
Checking Tracklaying
By Brian Johnson
When we were laying our track for an O scale outdoor layout, we had problems with maintaining alignment. I was out watching trains one day when I saw a track worker lie down over the track and sight along the rails. While it is not possible to do this for all trackwork on a model, you can also use a thin mirror at track level to see what your small scale trackworkers would see.


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 Posted: Thu May 21st, 2020 10:55 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2295
Painting Plastic or Brass Models with Acrylics Pt 1
By Steven Goodenough
There have been several discussion groups about using acrylics for painting all models. 
 I use acrylics for 98% or more of what I paint for myself or others.   I have done a couple dozen brass pieces and have 3 in the works now with no issues as far as durability.   The oldest was painted close to twenty years ago and has held up fine.    I have used a number of brands.
 Just like any other paint project the prep work makes all the difference.   Making sure the brass is clean,smooth and oil free will ensure a good paint job.   With that said depending on my confidence in my prep I will usually prime the model first which IS usually solvent based auto primer so this may be cheating?   I have used the Vallejo white primer on brass with success also.   I have also gone against all logic and put paint straight on the brass which held up.   Clean prep and you should be fine. 


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 Posted: Sun May 24th, 2020 10:47 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2296
Painting Plastic or Brass Models with Acrylics Pt 2
By Bill Donaldson
No paint will be durable if the project is not prepared well.  Clean your project well, inspect for any flaws in the surface, and correct if possible.   Many brass models have a clear lacquer finish on them, make sure this is still solid and not cracked or chipped.  If the finish is damaged remove it first.  I recommend media blasting, or an air eraser.  This will leave a smooth surface with just a bit of tooth. Also, wear gloves after cleaning and do not touch the surface, any oils can affect adhesion.


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 Posted: Wed May 27th, 2020 11:52 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2297
Painting Plastic or Brass Models with Acrylics Pt 3
By Joe Fugate
Water-based acrylics have come a LONG way in the last 15 years. I had health issues that developed from using solvent paints, so I'm much happier now with the water-based paints. With the advice I collected in the MRH Acrylic Painting Guide, I can get water-based paints to perform every bit as well as solvent based paints. And water-based is far more convenient too.
I thought I was indestructible until I developed health issues from solvent paints. Scared the bejeebers out of me! Do not minimize the accumulative effects on yourself of solvent paint over time.
A Note from Trevor - a lot of us think we are indestructible (your correspondent is Exhibit A) so Joes warning is particularly apt.  A number of custom painters in the past are no longer with us because of solvent based lung damage and we do not want to see any more of our number lost unnecessarily!


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 Posted: Sat May 30th, 2020 09:50 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2298
Modelling Container Depots and Bulk Loads etc
By Chris Hutton
I buy undecorated or 'foobie' containers whenever available at reasonable (cheap enough) prices.
Why?  Because in the modern era containers retired from active shipping can be found used for storage or other purposes in many industrial/commercial yards (and I guess survivalists' back woods). Respray a solid color, patch-out or just add a printed decal label like "Cassone Storage Rentals" etc., weather a bit, and place as needed.  
Why would industries not use them? Even second-hand they are normally weather-proof and allow easy access (although they can get a bit stuffy in summer if not vented).  It is the current era's grounded  freight car turned into a shed.
Also I am not above photocopying model containers to help model container mountains found at many ports or other industries - in the same vein, cutting up model containers and using the parts for the visible outside of said container stacks saves money as well. It is the same principle as using a foam core pile with a crust of ballast covering it to represent a gravel pile.


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 Posted: Tue Jun 2nd, 2020 10:20 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2299
“Scaling” Tree Sizes and Relativity to Trains
By Several Modellers
As big as trains are to we humans, they can be dwarfed by trees if they are in the order of 50 scale feet or more.  I use tall trees at the front of my layout - the tallest right at the front of the layout is 50 scale feet (about 16 metres) tall - and taper them down dramatically to a canopy at the rear of the layout. Even on a shelf layout, this adds much apparent depth by forcing perspective (Michael Bignioux)
When a newer road or railway alignment is created or a dangerous old tree is culled, there is often a lot of “new growth” trees planted nearby which are inherently shorter than their parent trees so you would be justified in planting a number of smaller trees and bushes much smaller than usual. Older growth can be represented by trees of the same or only slightly smaller height in the background, thus forcing perspective. (Howard Lawton)


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 Posted: Fri Jun 5th, 2020 11:04 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2300
Removing Glue from Poorly Assembled Buildings
By Douglas Schlesinger
I like to buy other people's mess ups at train shows. If I cannot salvage enough to rebuild the kit as designed, I can use the walls as add-ons to an existing kit or for general kitbashing fodder.  I sometimes buy the built kit to simply take apart and use the walls for these purposes.
If it is a glue that welds the plastic such as MEK or Testors, it is not possible to simply remove the glue.  The plastic has been deformed and the only way to smooth it for reassembly is to sand it or file it.  If it is smeared on the outside of the building instead of just the seams, the details will be affected obviously.
However Painting the entire model conceals these issues pretty well.  As does applying other details like downspouts or signs. Other glues that merely stick to the surface can be chiseled off.  The amount of force and care you use will determine how much damage is done.


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 Posted: Mon Jun 8th, 2020 11:23 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2301
Using LED’s for structures
By Several Modellers
Individual small surface mount LEDs with wires pre-attached are available from several places, including low cost Chinese sellers on eBay. You would then run all the wiring to some point of the structure and attach a connector of your choice to allow the structure to be unplugged and removed from the layout.  The boards themselves are about 10mm square which makes them suitable for most scales.This would likely look better than 3 LEDs as on the rolls of LED tape in one room of a structure which would provide too much light. You could just tape the tiny LEDs to the ceiling of your structure by the wires. Or a dab of clear drying glue could hold them in place. (Randy Rinker)
I elevate lower power LED’s with small plastic tubes such as Lolly Sticks or straws in a building which can then be lifted off without connections if necessary (Paul Johnson)


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 Posted: Thu Jun 11th, 2020 11:37 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2302
Suggesting Interior Detail  Pt 1
By Russell Bellinis
 
A local modular group uses many buildings. One of their buildings is a cut away citrus packing plant across the tracks from the station module.  The open side of the packing plant sits against the clear perspex that keeps the public from touching the models at train shows and displays.
The interior is “simply” a black & white photo of women working in the plant in the 40's or 50's.  It might be a photo from WW2 when women were working in many jobs formerly done by men who were away serving in the military during the war.  Anyway, I found that my eye did not register that the photo was black and white until I spent time looking at it!  A brief glance while walking by just looked like people working in a packing plant.


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 Posted: Sun Jun 14th, 2020 11:28 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2303
Suggesting Interior Detail  Pt 2
By Ben O’Brien

My opinion  is that interiors are great but they do not need to be ever present or of nearly the same detail level. Just like in the real world, the lights aren't all on at the same time. A building that I was going to fully light deserves a full interior, perhaps...maybe just a drawn shade and objects to silhouette against the light inside...but more detail. A business that closes before the lights come on may just have a super dimly lit store window. The things under the light are well detailed but either no detail exists behind that or merely block like shapes that hint at other things being there. Some get nothing but crude detail because the structure is never lit and only light entering through a window lets you see anything. Much like any good model, the secret lay in layering different interior levels to obtain a more robust overall effect. I have to say...a store front with minimal detail and some shadowy shapes in the back is WAY quicker to build... I find this is even more so in N scale when sometimes the best you can do is give the hint of something and let the viewer mentally fill in what is missing.

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 Posted: Thu Jun 18th, 2020 08:05 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2304
Using Washes for Weathering especially in the smaller scales
By Several Modellers
Actual Paint chips are not necessarily a guide to how a model should appear and accurate colours on a small model can make it look like a blob. Better to paint a model a shade or two (or even three) lighter than you expect especially if it is in the background as colours are recognisable but muted over any distance. Because our models are representative of objects seen at a distance, they should look better being lighter.  
Washes may darken your paint, so take that into account. You  may have to go much lighter again in the initial phases of the painting, knowing that your washes will darken it to the “correct” final finish.


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 Posted: Sun Jun 21st, 2020 10:15 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2305
Keeping Trains Inside the Passing Siding Lengths
By Trevor Gibbs
When I was much younger, train lengths on the old South Australian Railways (and other systems in Australia) were dictated as being equal to so many “4 wheelers” or 4 wheeled freight vehicles. Bogie freight cars were counted as equal to two 4 wheelers and the longer cars that appeared from the 70’s onwards were counted as being equal to 3.
Nowadays in this age of containerised loads, train lengths are judged usually as being “so many platforms” referring to the number of flatcars that the containers ride on.
Most of us model some form of yesteryear whether it be steam to diesel transition, 1940’s steam, where vehicles did start varying their lengths.
Santa Fe Railroad  in the 1970s had a maximum length of train set from memory at 120 freight cars. So on the sidings where the trains were being marshalled for further transit, there was a sign that looked like a normal speed board clearly labelled “120 40ft cars”” This was a marker so that there was no possibility that the maximum length of passing sidings was passed. 
This can be easily copied with a marker of similar location to the maximum length of your own  comfort levels and I have a small marker that I do not exceed operating trains eastbound from the dead end yard.


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 Posted: Wed Jun 24th, 2020 01:44 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2306
Checking Car and Wagon Roadworthiness
By Kevin Hoskins
As well as checking coupler heights and wheel gauge, any type of "obstacle course" you can set up to verify a car runs well is good for pre-employment on your railroad/way.
I run all my freight cars through a 16" radius S-curve coupled to an RS-1 on one end and 60 foot boxcar on the other both pushing and pulling. If nothing derails, they are good for service.


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 Posted: Sat Jun 27th, 2020 01:06 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2307
Inserting Trees in Plaster over Wire
By Wayne Toth
 
 I use natural plant cuttings for my tree trunks, and usually drill a suitably-sized hole in the plaster, and vacuum-up the plaster dust.  I then put some white or yellow glue on the bottom of the trunk, then jam it into the hole.  In some instances, the tree may need to be supported until the glue hardens.
I often use fill-ins, between the background trees formed from batt-type insulation, and foreground ones which will be added-in nearer the viewer.  Some are installed in holes, while others are temporarily leaning against them, mainly to determine proper spacing. Just remember to clean up the plaster dust!


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 Posted: Mon Jun 29th, 2020 11:52 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2308
When Installing Trees in Any Surface
By Wayne Toth
I often When I install trees on my layout, I work from the BACK of the Scene towards the front.  That way I can build on the forest front with thickness of the foliage and it does not damage the trees as they are being planted.


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 Posted: Fri Jul 3rd, 2020 09:14 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2309
Spare Controllers
By Joey Allen
At our club shows we always take spare hand held controllers with a standard plug (computer 9 pins). If you have only a spare controller, make sure your wiring scheme has somewhere you can attach it easily noting of how you wire things, colour of wire, which pin number it goes through at baseboard joint connectors, etc. 


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 Posted: Sun Jul 5th, 2020 10:39 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2310
Laying Cork Road Bed
By Rob Mathieson
 
If you are laying cork strip under your track, either buy the halved kind, or slit it down the middle with a sharp craft knife. You can glue down one half to the track centreline you have marked on your board. Cork strip this narrow bends much more easily to normal radius curves.  When it is dry, you just lay the other side of the cork against it. This avoids ripples in the cork and any gaps will be covered by ballast.


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 Posted: Wed Jul 8th, 2020 11:44 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2311
If I designed my layout again... Pt 1
By Dave Nelson
 
When it came to my track plan, I should have designed the sidings first and then connected them with the mainline. I designed the mainline first with relatively wide curves and long runs, but that left too little space for decent sized sidings and spurs. Most of my sidings will only hold a few cars which has turned out to be frustrating for the guys who would like to run long trains. 


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