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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Mar 13th, 2021 07:25 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2392
Painting Figurines Pt 1
By Reed Comerford
I personally use a hemostat or alligator clip to hold a figure by the foot to paint the figure. If I have a bunch to do I take a piece of scrap wood, drill several holes in it and place dowels or bolts through the holes and attach alligator clips to them. 
I personally use acrylic paint pens to paint the people as this allows me to use multiple colors without having to have many paint bottles open at the same time.. I also eliminate cleaning many brushes.


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 Posted: Tue Mar 16th, 2021 06:43 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2393
Painting Figurines Pt 2
By Steve Bolt
I use a strip of BluTack or Plasticine on a work surface and stand the figures on that to paint them. I then cover these with a suitable sized box to keep dust off while they dry. Once dry reverse the figures so you can finish painting their shoes.
Use non-gloss paint in fairly muted colours for clothing in general, it looks much better in my opinion.


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 Posted: Fri Mar 19th, 2021 03:51 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2394
Painting Figurines Pt 3
By Colin Borgelt

To help speed up the painting of figures I find that the best way is to attach them by the sole of one of their shoes to a sprig of plastic rod.  Leave enough space between the figures for access for your paint brush. This way you can paint the parts of all the figures to be a similar colour at the same time. 
Rather than clean your brush to paint one figure at a time, plan your colour scheme for each figure, do a very rough sketch then you can go along the group of f using the same colour as appropriate for each of them. They are then easily detached and fitted to your layout. 


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 Posted: Mon Mar 22nd, 2021 04:50 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2395
Introducing Random Events to your Railway
By Maurice Braddon
I have been looking for ways to simulate having a Dispatcher and a Yardmaster for track permission. I model a Shortline that interchanged with a larger railroad in the mid 80's. Two things I am simulating. 
1) The Shortline would need permission from the Yardmaster to enter the yard to pick up cars that Conrail had set out for them and drop off out going cars. The connection between the two was within Yard limits. 
2) The Shortline has trackage rights on that railway to reach another branch of the Shortline. I want to simulate getting permission from the Dispatcher for what I assume would be a Track Warrant. Normal operating crew is only one or two people, a engineer and a conductor, and normally I am both of those people. I have come up with the idea of rolling a dice and assigning situations to each number. For instance if I roll a 6 I get permission, a 5 I don't and have to wait a set amount of time, 4 enter the yard but clear the main until the mainline train comes through (I have one mainline train staged in each direction on a loop), a 3 wait a longer time. etc. Of course, I don't want to wait too long, after all, the idea is to get operating. Just trying to make operations more prototypical on a small layout with limited number of people.


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 Posted: Thu Mar 25th, 2021 06:11 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2396
Demarcating Staging/Fiddle Yards 
By Wayne Toth

I have five fiddle yards/staging areas on my railway so to “separate” them from the railway, I have simply painted the base board area a flat black -  I do not ballast or scenic the area in any way.   
Like theatre staging where the sides of scenes and acts are black, it focuses the viewing to the operating theatre area.


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 Posted: Sun Mar 28th, 2021 05:50 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2397
DIstinguishing Yards from Mainline
By Leslie Pace
I used two thickness of cork under my track, a thicker cork tile under my main line areas and thinner cork sheet in my yard areas.  The height difference along with different/thinner/older/ recycled  ballast gives a gentle undulation to the layout and is typical of a lot of yard vs main line areas in the world.


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 Posted: Thu Apr 1st, 2021 07:38 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2398
Deciding on a Yard Design
By John York
I laid out my yard track and tried several different designs over several months.  I decided I wanted to run things a while before I made up my mind, so I laid down cork sheets, and moved my track and turnouts/points several times.
I could have done the same thing without the cork, but for some reason it seemed to be a little easier than moving cork strips each time or lifting the track one last time to put underlay and ballast in place.


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 Posted: Sun Apr 4th, 2021 08:29 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2399
Another Storage Technique for Stripwood 
By Matt Hardy

I have begun accumulating the cardboard tubes on which are rolled paper towels.  Pick a box that is about as tall as the tubes and about 8-10" square - or rectangular of approximately that size.  Stuff it with the cardboard tubes so that each one is touching another tube or the side of the box - to the point where they will no longer move about freely from side to side.  You have just created a great storage box for scale lumber or plastic strips for use on a horizontal shelf.  If you glue the bottom of the box to a square of heavy wood just larger than the box - to add weight to the structure - it can be used freestanding on the floor next to your workbench and moved around as needed.  Works for me!


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 Posted: Wed Apr 7th, 2021 05:12 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2400
Another Storage Technique for Styrene 
By Chris Van Der Heide
I got a little tired of digging around in my box of packages of styrene strip to try and find the specific size I need for whatever project I am working on, so I broke out the foam core board and whipped up a little something.

Fine precision is not necessarily key to this project but the overall size is 11.5” wide, 18” tall overall and 4” deep. The rear set of pockets has a 2” deep false floor to stagger them higher than the front row so the labels are visible. All of the pieces are glued together with regular PVA white glue. Other that that, what you see is pretty much what you get.
Now my styrene supply is much more organized and easy to access. A must have for any serious scratchbuilder


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 Posted: Sat Apr 10th, 2021 03:19 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2401
Preventing Styrene Sticking to Your Work Surface 
By Allan Reeves
When I am assembling styrene structures, I use smooth-faced consumer-grade cardstock. Used legal pads are ideal. Particularly using MEK,  I use a 5” x 9” legal pad back as a substrate. The material is nearly dead flat, as it gets compressed under the weight of dozens of pads during manufacturing and shipping. It is smooth enough to work comfortably on, yet just porous enough to absorb any extra styrene cement or MEK that might escape a joint. Cement enters the paper fibers immediately, then disappears or evaporates without fouling the work. A gentle nudge of the work slides it around without sticking.
I marked the pad with a fine Sharpie with the message “for Styrene Gluing only”  to remind myself not to use this pad as a cutting surface. That keeps it smooth.


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 Posted: Mon Apr 12th, 2021 08:25 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2402
Spray Painting a Model without Overspray Sticking it to Your Work Surface 
By Allan Reeves
When I am spray painting a model, using one of my legal pad backs, I roll up a couple of small balls of plastic masking tape, sticky side out and use those as a couple of “jack pads” between the card pad and the model.


Any paint that overspray does not accumulate under the model nor does it attach to the surface of our model  forming a joint with the surface it is resting on needing to be broken.  




The sticking power of the tape should enable small parts to be held and sprayed..    


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 Posted: Thu Apr 15th, 2021 11:48 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2403
An Alternative for Lighting Bars in Passenger Cars, Cabooses and Vans
By John Chesterman
I make Light bars for lighting cabooses or passenger cars from 5mm LEDs and clear drinking straws. One LED in each end wired appropriately. The light carrying 2medium is 5 minute epoxy from one of those Loctite instant mix tubes. (One minute epoxy is too fast and sets in the mixing tube.) Squirt it into the straw, cap with the LED then cap the other end with the other LED. This is all much less expensive than lighting kits. With the new Evan Designs LEDs, no decoder is needed. Any voltage source works. 


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 Posted: Mon Apr 19th, 2021 12:42 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2404
How to lay Easements Easily
By Michael Morcombe
I use an offset in HO scale of at least  1/8".  I did not bother measuring length on my last layout.  I stopped spiking my straight track a foot short of the start of the curve and just bent the track into the curve.  The easement shaped itself naturally.   It cannot be overstated how simple it is to make easements.


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 Posted: Thu Apr 22nd, 2021 06:25 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2405
Lighting a  Smaller layout
By Several Modellers
Lower Current drawing LED strips have been with us for a long time.  I have made several layouts as displays in recent times where I use two 50mm plastic angle strips elevated at the front of the diorama to support a fascia.  The LED strips sit beneath the “L” so that the lighting is “kicked” into the layout but viewers are protected by the fascia from directly looking at the light source.
Shadows are very much reduced by such lighting and the fascia board has a frame backing for added strength. 


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 Posted: Sat Apr 24th, 2021 07:18 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2406
Designing your Control Panel
By Several  Modellers
It is a good idea where possible to orient the diagram on your control panel  so that it reflects the view of the trackage the operator sees.  No need to actually draw the actual full layout (unless you want to) as it appears as most people operating your layout would or should  be able to relate a  simplified schematic to the track that they see in front of them.   
The most common mistake is to show the opposite of what the operator sees such as a yard diagram in reverse - “below” or “on the outer/left/right of  the mainline rather than “above” or “inner/ right/ left”  from the operators perspective.

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 Posted: Tue Apr 27th, 2021 10:32 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2407
Stabilising Framework with Paint
By Marc Lauder 
I use cheap white paint for the structure of my modules especially the under parts.  I feel it's easier to find holes or spot when you go under the layout
I use white latex paint diluted with a mix of 70% water and methanol, this help the paint to be fluid and it goes in any crannies easier. This stabilizes the frame from humidity. I use black latex paint for the edge and the valance  in the same manner.
Some  of my frames are painted  from 45 years ago with diluted latex and I never see any warping knowing where I live  is well known for ambient humidity.


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 Posted: Fri Apr 30th, 2021 08:01 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2408
A Cheap form of Weeds and Tufted Grass
By Doug Dickson
I wanted some weeds on my buffer stop  area. I used teddy bear fur fabric, rubbed randomly with green acrylic paint, allowed it to dry then teased it out with a comb and stuck down. Waste from my textures bag, fluff from the vacuum cleaner etc., who needs static grass? I bought enough at a  market very cheaply to cover a huge area.
A Note from Trevor -  My wife made quite a number of Teddies a few years ago so I will be hunting up any offcuts she may still have. Thanks Doug! 


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 Posted: Mon May 3rd, 2021 07:55 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2409
Assisting Your Ballasting with Spray Paint
By Richard Cowman 
If you get a can of textured spray paint that is about the same color as the ballast you plan to use it will look good and not be in the way when you do ballast.  Also, it means you do not need as much ballast around your turnouts, so there is less danger of ballast fouling your turnouts.

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 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2021 10:45 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2410
When I do my Ballasting
By Wayne Toth

Once the track is in place and functioning flawlessly, I put most of the plaster-on-screen landforms in place (otherwise, much of the ballast would have slid off the cut-out plywood roadbed, and through the open grid benchwork).
Following that, I paint the rails using a 1/2" chisel-type brush, and once that's fully cured, it's time to ballast.
I generally ballast in 10' or 15' lots, including turnouts and double track.
Painting rail and adding ballast is the biggest bang-for-your-buck that you'll ever get in model railroading, so why put it off?  It's very low-tech, and also very relaxing to do, and can be done anytime....for 5 minutes or 5 hours-at-a-time (or more).


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 Posted: Sun May 9th, 2021 11:52 pm
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Hints & Tips No. 2411
Modelling foliage on Cliff Faces Pt 1
By Tom Fenech and Dave Nelson
I needed to apply some ground foam to represent foliage on a near vertical cliff.  I used a thin layer of floor adhesive with a small throw-away brush and  made sure that I put it only where I wanted it. You have to work quickly or it will turn into gooey globulars,  wait a minute or two and sprinkle your ground foam on.  The action of the glue will grab the foam it can handle and allow the rest to fall to the cliff bottom.
Do not ever get that stuff on your hands!  It is not something that takes a little persuading, it does NOT come off your hands for a week. And your ground foam will never ever come off that Hill.  Just do a test first to make sure  that the adhesive YOU use does not eat up the foam!
One of the advantages of the idea, which would also apply to sprinkling on ground foam, is that it does NOT stick to the sort of vertical surfaces where vegetation would not grow anyway in real life.


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