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Hints and Tips - The first 499 - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Tue Aug 30th, 2022 09:49 am
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xdford
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Hints & Tips No.179
Details No.11 – Number Plates and other Items on Vehicles
by Trevor Gibbs (Melbourne Australia)

You can use a laser printer to make tiny number plates for your vehicles, maybe even replicate your own car in a scene. Laser printers are extremely cheap these days and even my old HP 4l could handle a passable plate... after all I cannot read it from more than 3-4 metres away.

Just print up a series of numbers and cut and paste them out and a tiny dab of white glue ( placed with a toothpick) on your vehicles. You could also cut some figurines at the waist and place them as drivers and passengers in your cars.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 2nd, 2022 11:49 am
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Hints & Tips No.180
Modelling an Accident Aftermath
by Paul James

In an ideal world, nothing has an accident, trains cars or planes. However we know this is not the case. You can simulate the aftermath of an accident by having say one vehicle upside down on top of another with damaged sides being carried in a revenue train or other scrap parts in open wagons.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 5th, 2022 09:58 am
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Hints & Tips No.181
Details No.12 – Model Speed Boards
by Trevor Gibbs
I use work-hardened copper wire (refer to H&T No.138) and a lid from a plastic butter container, cut into strips, to make a number of speed and other indicator signs. The copper wire is cut to length, the strips of plastic are super-glued to the rod and painted white. You could also use small code rail... but you might actually have to buy that, which defeats much of what I do!
An A4 page of stickers is made with various speeds - 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, etc.. I do not go much faster given the nature of my railway, but a modern mainline railway would run to 125. Signs can also be made for "No Road", "Beware of Trains" , "Slow", "Stop and Proceed", "W" (whistle) and any other generic to your area or needs, in appropriate size and styles of font.
When the paint dries, the sheets are cut with a hobby knife and the sticker placed on the sign post. Plant the posts in your layout at appropriate locations. The detail is very outstanding and, although tiny, really enhances your layout.
Although I do not have streets on my layout, you could use this same technique to make street signs... and any others that come to mind.

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 Posted: Wed Sep 7th, 2022 12:48 pm
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Hints & Tips No.182
Help With The Small Things Pt 9  style="font-size: 14pt;"- Wheel Cleaning
by Bob Heath - Barchester (Spain)
On trucks and coaches wheel cleaning is easy as the wheels are free moving but it can be difficult on power driven wheels. I use a shoe box full of soft cloth and turn the locomotive upside down on this and then I have a twin wire lead which I fasten to the live track with crocodile clips and the other two bared ends I touch to the motor's wheels to move them to a new position for cleaning. For the cleaning itself I use an old metal suede brush.

From Clive Greedus

The tip to use a wire suede brush to clean loco wheels is not a new one and the power supply to revolve them is the way I recall a Peco product did things (has this been discontinued now?). However, I have reservations about scratching pick up wheels in this way, as I believe a scratched surface will become dirty again, quicker. I also believe that some wheels may be coated to improve their conductivity and wire brushing will destroy this.

In the past I have used Carr's Electrofix, a chemical that fixes their metal blackening product and improves conductivity and "reduces spark induced oxides and deposits", according to the label. Some Bachmann wheels have the appearance that they have been through a similar process. So I will only use a cotton bud or cloth with track cleaning fluid and, if possible, get wheel movement by connecting electric leads to non moving pick up wheels or connected parts with crocodile clips. I have added pick ups to tender wheels, which helps, but there is also a case for making special connections, specifically for cleaning, on other types.

Trevor Gibbs

There have been several wheel cleaning methods in Hints and Tips so far. Refer to H&T 25 and 44. Light scratching may sometimes be necessary and all cleaning provides a certain amount of scratching. It is a case of what works for you personally

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 Posted: Sat Sep 10th, 2022 12:37 pm
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Hints & Tips No.183
Another Tree Making Method
by Trevor Gibbs 

A Branch from a live or (preferably) dead tree is simply a miniature tree. So if you happened to find dead branches and even deader twigs, you may have an ideal tree shape. Just cut it to size and approximate shape, decorate it with ground foam or painted or dyed flocking teased out over the branches and you can have a great looking tree for pennies.

My (then) 8 or 9 year old daughter and I made a bunch on a Sunday afternoon from twigs in our garden and I have only just changed some of them for more Canadian looking pines. The area is still known as Kathryn's Forest and she still reminds me of that day she remembers well... at age 26 as this was first published.

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 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2022 11:06 am
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Hints & Tips No.184
Using Foam As a Scenery Base Pt 2 – Making a Hot Wire Cutter
by Peter Mitchell 

You can make a simple hot wire cutter for polystyrene foam by recycling a mobile phone transformer and a length of Nichrome element wire. Cut your wire plug off your ex phone charger and feed wires to either side of a handle stick. Terminate these at a screw perhaps with a soldered loop.

Now form a loop of the Nichrome ( Nickel Chrome) around from the handle between the two terminals. This type of element will be like a cutter which will act like a “gouge” in your scenery. You can reshape your wire and your handle to suit.

Cutting is much cleaner than by knife, saw blade or rasp but be careful of the fumes and work in a ventilated area. You can then overlay your hills and terrain form with whatever method suits you, Cloth and Glue, Mod rock, plaster etc.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 16th, 2022 11:32 pm
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Hints & Tips No.185
Details No.13 - Scrap Tyres in a Junk Yard
by Trevor Gibbs

"No Scrap Yard looks complete without a pile of tyres. Simply visit your local auto parts shop and get a short length of the small diameter water hose. Cut into thin slices (depending on your scale) and paint with a greyish or dirty black and mud colours and stack accordingly to make a tyre mountain if necessary.


Hints & Tips No.186
Help With The Small Things Pt 9
by Bob Heath

Weathering : If you want to add a bit of weathering, making things look dirty or well used, things like pavements, walls, concrete etc then try this, it's FREE. Find a small glass container, or plastic, put some water in it and whenever you do any work with water colours, doesn't matter what colour, use the water in the container as the first cleaner for your paint brush.

After a while this water will become a muddy, grey, horrible messy colour but ideal for a spot of weathering. If whatever it is that you are weathering has highlights then put a wash of the mucky stuff on then lightly wipe it off again to see the effect.

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 Posted: Mon Sep 19th, 2022 11:59 pm
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Hints & Tips No.187
Two-stage ballasting
By Nevile Reid 

Everyone has their own method for ballasting track - this is mine which I find to be very effective. This method does away with that unsightly strip of bare board between ballast and scenery which can be so difficult to deal with!
1 - Having painted up your track, apply an even coat of neat PVA to a strip either side of the track and between tracks, stopping just short of the ends of the sleepers. Sprinkle on a layer of fine grade ballast material of your chosen colour, lightly tamp down and vacuum off the surplus.
2 - With a 
medium grade ballast of the same colour, ballast up the track applying just enough to cover the bare baseboard. Tidy up the edges with a fine brush – do not make it too neat. Spray the entire area with a light coat of water/washing up liquid mix - just enough to dampen it - before applying dilute PVA to both grades of ballast in the normal way. When dry, airbrush or otherwise weather the ballast to taste.

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 Posted: Fri Sep 23rd, 2022 09:06 am
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Hints & Tips No.188
PVA Glue as Glazing
by Trevor Gibbs

You can use PVA type glue as a flush type glazing when it is built up in a window area. It is best to place something in the windowless hole to stop the glue leaking through which will not stick to the glue. I would suggest a shape of styrene assisted with a waxed paper covering.

Now take your window, for example a port hole on a locomotive, place your stop behind and keeping the “window” as level as possible lightly pour in some PVA glue. Gently wipe the excess and allow to dry thoroughly. Remove the backing and you should have a free standing flush fitting window glaze. The slight opacity will be very effective on steam locos in particular.


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 Posted: Mon Sep 26th, 2022 11:25 am
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Hints & Tips No.189
Help With Tools Pt 1
by Bob Heath 

In this mini series, you will find a list of tools you will need for your workbench. Some of them will be more of an added bonus but the majority will be the ordinary tools that most people will already have and if not then easy to procure. As with most tools however it is always true that the more you can afford the better the tool will be and the longer it will last.

Chopper : A great tool for rapid and accurate cutting of wood, Styrene strip & rod and small profiles.
Clamps of various sizes -
  At a push in some cases you can use a clothes peg but there are many small plastic clamps on the market today and they too can come packed by the half dozen. Make sure you get the type where the jaws are parallel to each other.
Clamp Stands  and  Clamps :  For painting models.
Cutting Pad - Not essential, especially if you are using a glass modelling surface but they are kind to blade edges and last a long time.

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 Posted: Thu Sep 29th, 2022 10:54 am
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Hints & Tips No.190
Puddles
By Nevile Reid 

Puddles are so common that we tend to walk through, over or round them without even noticing, yet they are rarely modelled. This method would apply equally well when using ordinary ballast or any other modelling medium such as filler or mod rock.

Take a sheet of clear acetate – 20 thou would be ideal – preferably the kind that has protective film on both sides. Remove the protective film from one side only and spray or paint that side with a weathered black or similar (or brown for muddy areas). When dry, cut the sheet into pieces roughly an inch square and glue the pieces with PVA – paint side down – in the positions that you want your puddles. When dry, prepare your landscape with your landscape material, leaving a puddle-shaped area clear of filler on each square. The clear area should be slightly larger than the finished puddle.



Next, with the point of a scalpel blade, very carefully cut out and remove the protective film from the puddle shapes. Then carefully leaving the puddle shapes clear of PVA, allow the PVA to overlap the cut edges of the puddles very slightly. Sprinkle on ash , ballast, scatter or whatever you are using.


When dry, vacuum off the surplus. If you use a brush, make sure it is a very soft one as the surface of the acetate is very easily scratched.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 3rd, 2022 05:32 am
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Hints & Tips No.191
Making Portable layouts and Grades
by Trevor Gibbs 

If you are making a portable layout with gradients between station modules, try to plan your gradient between stations so that it has medium grades like 1 in 50 to 1 in 60. If you are obliged to move either your layout from room to room or in fact whole location including your home, and the joining space is an issue, the gradient section can be the part to be rebuilt to a steeper gradient say 1 in 35 or an easier gradient greater than say 1 in 65.

That way, you will hopefully only have to rebuild one section to get going again and your work is not destroyed... sometimes starting again can be a little soul destroying and we do not want that!

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