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Hints and Tips - The first 499 - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Oct 30th, 2022 08:40 am
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xdford
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Hints & Tips No.200
Using Foam As a Scenery Base Pt 1
by Trevor Gibbs (Melbourne Australia)
Polystyrene foam has been mentioned often in this Hints and Tips Column, but some have written regarding the best way to use it.
On my own layout, I have a group of hills which I layered the foam onto. It was then shaped with a hacksaw blade and coated it with a thin coat of plaster, to get the rock texture. On one club exhibition layout, the foam was overlaid with Disposable cotton cloths painted with PVA. After this, it was shaped with a knife and then a rasp file. The layers were glued in both cases with PVA glue and left to dry overnight.
Foam can release toxic materials when cut, but these are not considered harmful in small quantities. In any case, make sure you work in a well ventilated area and vacuum up the foam dust afterwards... which, fortunately, is easy to do.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 2nd, 2022 07:58 am
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xdford
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Hints & Tips No.201
Super Elevation
By Nevile Reid
I read somewhere recently that super elevation – the banking of track on the curves – was difficult to achieve on a model railway and not really worth attempting. My eyebrows lifted a notch because I have always found it to be one of the easiest of jobs, and the effort – on a larger layout at any rate – is well worth it.

Fix down your track in the normal way – I recommend one pin at least every 2" – and 'road test' it thoroughly. Before adding the ballast, slip a length of micro strip under the ends of the sleepers on the outside of the curve. I find that 30 thou x 100thou strip is ideal and gives a nice subtle banking, but experiment with different thicknesses if you wish. Carry on round the curve. When done, add a lead-in at each end of the curve with about 3' of 20thou (if you've used 30 thou) and 3" of 10thou. Ballast the track in the normal way.

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 Posted: Sun Nov 6th, 2022 10:53 am
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xdford
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Hints & Tips No.202
Help With Tools Pt 5
by Bob Heath

Saws - Both woodworking and metal cutting.
Scissors - For their obvious uses.
Screwdrivers - You will need at least a couple, preferable with exchangeable bits, also very small ones for the more delicate jobs.
Set Square - Obvious uses for baseboard building and squaring up anything from platform edges to building sides.
Spirit level - Essential for baseboard and track laying.
Soldering iron - I can't really give advice here as I use a soldering gun but I can say that you need a lot of heat as quick as you can get it. Do not forget the damp sponge to clean the tip with.

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 Posted: Thu Nov 10th, 2022 03:11 am
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xdford
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Hints & Tips No.203
Using Trellis As a Scenery Base
by Trevor Gibbs

I had some plastic garden trellis which came in a roll and did yeoman service nailed to my fence with vines etc for a few years. However in the fullness of time it was removed.

Some of my trellising was recycled by using it in much the same was as chicken wire was used many years ago as a scenery base for plaster, when the club made a Xmas layout for a junior member. The top was overlaid with Cotton Cloth in this case soaked in plaster and looked very effective... and we made one 7 year old boy very happy on a Xmas morning in 2006!

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 Posted: Mon Nov 14th, 2022 06:29 am
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Hints & Tips No.204
An Electrostatic Grass Tool – for pennies!
By Nevile Reid
An earlier hint mentioned electrostatic grass using a make it yourself electronic application tool. The Noch 'GrasMasters' could be expensive for some. However, do not let these small inconveniences stop you having a go at static grass. There is a very simple, cheap and obvious alternative which works, well, nearly as well!

Do you remember those long ago days of childhood when a party balloon, having been rubbed on your clothing, could be 'stuck' to the wall as if by magic? Well, that is static, and if you pass a suitably rubbed balloon half an inch or so above your static grass immediately after you have dispensed it, hey presto the grass stands up! You could pass on saying some magic words though, tempting as it might be!

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 Posted: Thu Nov 17th, 2022 07:44 am
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xdford
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Hints & Tips No.205
Help With Tools Pt 6
by Bob Heath 
Steel straight edge - essential when using sharp blades.
Steel scriber - for scribing plaster or card work.
Super Spray a paint spraying system from Phoenix Paints which uses cigarette lighter gas.
Superstrip - from Phoenix Paints, it strips the paint from your plastic models and can be used over and over again.
Tapping drill sizes - the tables accessible cover both imperial and metric threads commonly available.

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 Posted: Mon Nov 21st, 2022 07:25 am
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Hints & Tips No.206
Unpaved Areas
by Trevor Gibbs

You can make unpaved areas of ground e.g. sand or gravel by using various grades and colours of sandpaper or crushed cat litter glued to your surface.

I wish I had realised this when I built my ground level US Style platform rather than commandeering sand from the local playground sand pit

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 Posted: Fri Nov 25th, 2022 04:32 am
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xdford
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Hints & Tips No.207
How to ballast trackwork so that it can be replaced
By Nevile Reid 
Have you ever tried to replace or alter trackwork that has been set in ballast and PVA? There is no really easy way, but if you lay the track and ballast over greaseproof paper it certainly makes future alterations easier!

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 Posted: Tue Nov 29th, 2022 09:26 am
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xdford
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Hints & Tips No.208
Help With Tools Pt 7
by Bob Heath 
Wiping your paintbrush, the plain kind also makes good window curtains or frosted glass.
Track Cutter - 
I have no experience of this tool but it has an excellent reputation and if you have to do much track cutting could prove a good investment. Click on the link for more information and price. ( A note from Trevor – consider other experience here from Hint 164 – which is not a reflection on Bob. I personally take the effort to hone my own version of these cutters)
Wheel Puller : Suitable for H0 and 00 wheels. A very nice, well made addition to your toolbox.
Wire Strippers - Some people never use them while others wouldn't be without. 

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