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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Jan 8th, 2022 06:38 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2494
Painting Track Part 3
By Richard Bellett
It is best to paint the track once down, otherwise you need to touch up a lot of flex and you will need to depaint any place you want to solder, not to mention other potential problems. I spray paint my track, once I have installed it, with Model Master light earth. I do not paint till ballast time and do a light spray and if some original tie color shows thru that is fine once ballasted it will look like a different colored tie. 
The way I do it without making a mess is I use sheets of typing paper and T pin it to the cork lightly, around turnouts and rail ends I  make templates to spray. A typical rail end is a rectangle cut out of paper, takes a few seconds. I also tape a fine strip of tape over turnout electrical connections and touchup the missing paint later (you can make your own bottle paint out of spray by using small amount of thinner in a bottle and spraying into it till you get the thickness you want), one small paint bottle will do touchup on a very large layout.


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 Posted: Tue Jan 11th, 2022 07:50 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2495 
Muting LED’s in Buildings  
By Wayne Reynolds
Using the LED lights for all my structures created too much of the light to be seen through the windows. I solved that by spraying Testors Dull-Coat on both sides of the acetate window sheets provided in the structure kits before applying to the inside of the buildings. The result is a very nice warm glow from the windows as well as blocking any view through the building to rear windows.


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 Posted: Fri Jan 14th, 2022 06:47 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2496
Weathering Buildings - a slightly different approach 
By William Reynard
I have tried using washes, weathering powder and so on. Although pretty good, I have found that priming my building with matte black paint and then applying a color from my air-brush in small amounts at a time, allows some of the black to show through creating an “old” weathered look. 


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 Posted: Mon Jan 17th, 2022 07:33 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2497
Removing Stuck Paint Lids 
By Several Modellers
When my paint jars get stuck, I turn the hot water on in my faucet to a slow stream. then lay the jar on it's side in the sink with the lid to the jar directly under the stream. You want the hot water stream to hit on the lid and not on the jar (it's okay if some splashes on the jar). After a few minutes, the lid comes off rather easily with your hands, or you may need a pair of pliers to help grip the lid. If it does not break loose easily, put back under the water for a few minutes. (Kris Birmingham)
I  just clean the threads and apply a light coat of Vaseline the first time I open the jar. They always open right up, first time - every time (Ralph Marriot)


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 Posted: Thu Jan 20th, 2022 06:57 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2498
Making Ploughed Fields
By Several Modellers
In a piece of cardboard is a ribbed piece sandwiched between two thin pieces of card.   Gently peel the thin card away leaving the ribbed card.   There is your ploughed field.    Cheap and effective.  (David Hockley)
I use ribbed cardboard from cartons and coat them with ground clay cat litter to represent breaking the sods.  In some areas the clay looks about right but I overspray it lightly with earth colours (ochres and umbers) to be closer to what I see near to me. ( Armand Nessinger)


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 Posted: Sun Jan 23rd, 2022 06:16 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2499
Power Tools vs Hand Cutting
By Graeme Rust
Be aware that power tools facilitate making mistakes far more efficiently than when using hand tools. I find very few power tools are required for model making or even a lot of the layout building. Drill and a saw.
Hand tools allow slower and less possibly damaging work to be done.
For foam carving one advantage of the Surform tool is a good deal of the shavings end up inside the tool, retained by static charge. A vacuum cleaner can take much of that directly out of the Surform. It also removes material fairly slowly allowing sculpting on the go so to speak.


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 Posted: Wed Jan 26th, 2022 03:43 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2500
If you have a problem pouring “water”...
By Kevin Coulson
I had a lucky accident that turned out great twenty years ago.
I was pouring Envirotex for a small pond. A moth got in the "water" before it was hard and messed up the surface. I added a small pipe above the accident, and it looked like water was rushing from the pipe into the pond.
I kept it.


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 Posted: Sat Jan 29th, 2022 06:23 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2501
Achieving a Rustic effect on “metal” buildings
By Simon Roy
i use a lot of pastels, the chalk type. I would scrape the pastel into a powder, dip a brush in water, dip in the powdered pastel, and apply it on the structure. Less is more IMHO. A black wash would also add a nice effect. After you are satisfied with it, seal it with dullcoat. But my preferred method, with a different effect, is to paint the entire piece burnt sienna, and then using an airbrush, paint the piece in light coats of grimy black, until you get a rusty black effect. Light black washes can be added to give an added weathering effect.


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 Posted: Tue Feb 1st, 2022 03:09 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2502
Covering Loads with Tarpaulins
By Several Modellers 
Use paper facial tissue or perhaps spent dryer sheets or those packaged alcohol wipes. (Ed Hennesey)
I used a piece of old worn thin cotton bed sheet, cut roughly to shape, placed over the deck then fixed down by using “white glue” diluted with water. After it dried, I then trimmed the edges with a razor knife and painted “almond”. (Graeme Nutt)
Canvas or tarps require careful shading and highlighting to make it look convincing. Indoor lighting will never recreate the reflective activity of sunlight on a large surface. (Des Wright)
You could also try gift wrap tissue paper.  It's thin enough that you should be able to shape it nicely using a little water and glue. (Jeff Horne)
Try experimenting with tissue paper. I have had good luck with dipping tissue paper in diluted white glue and draping over a load. Another option is to spray diluted glue onto tissue paper. Practice on scrap stuff first and see if you like the results.   (Neil Jamieson)


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 Posted: Fri Feb 4th, 2022 05:13 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2503  Pt 1
Covering Loads - What to use?
By Fred Harding 
Unless your load is going to be partially uncovered, is there any point in using even an old model underneath a tarpaulin?  I make my loads from small blocks of foam cut to shape, glued to together and covered with recycled glasses wipes. The variations of the loads will keep viewers guessing what is actually underneath.


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 Posted: Mon Feb 7th, 2022 04:42 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2504  Pt 2
Covering Loads - What to use?
By Michael Reagan
I have assembled a couple of leftover building parts into the rough shape and I have an old wornout handkerchief ( no holes) that I am going to soak in brewed tea. If it's a disaster, lost 1 tea bag, a table spoon of white glue and a worthless piece of cotton cloth. Also we have a can of spray starch that I might experiment with.


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 Posted: Thu Feb 10th, 2022 04:57 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2505  
DC or DCC from starting a layout?
By Kevin Beasley 
The first section of my layout was a 5x12 foot table layout on wheels.  Is that small or medium?  Anyway, it took five years to build, including structures, scenery and rolling stock, both upgrades of older equipment and new kits.  
I learned a virtue of DCC with this layout.  If I had built it in DC, I would have had trouble creating independent blocks, and basically would have spent all my time running the track.  With DCC, the issue of blocks isn't there so I could just run the trains.
I realize now that I should have isolated parts of the layout better.  While I didn't have an issue with controlling trains, I later found it advantageous to add circuit breakers and power districts, and that is something I should have done from the start.


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 Posted: Sun Feb 13th, 2022 10:52 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2506  
Touch up Painting
By Kevin Williamson
Touch ups are tricky. I had a model kit which became VERY brittle with age, and the ladders, doors, and other parts are pretty much unusable.
I built the kit with new doors and details, but then I needed to paint it to match. I was fortunate that I had the original doors to experiment with.
With any touchup, start with the closest color you can find that is slightly darker than your target color. My original colour was the generic Box Car Red.  Try lightening the paint with a lighter colour in the same colour band so for the Box Car Red ( which is pretty brownish actually) yellow, orange, and/or red. Lightening this colour with white will make it look pinkish. White rarely works well with reds or browns. Mix with drops at a time and try the mixture to see what it looks like. Make notes of the ratios as you go along.
When you find the right ratio, mix a batch and spray the model.


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 Posted: Wed Feb 16th, 2022 06:18 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2507  
When you want to light up buildings Pt 1
By David Mason
Before the wiring starts, the first thing that should be done is to seal the building from light leaks. Plastic buildings may glow in the dark like they are radioactive, and other buildings may have light leaks at the corners. The easiest way to prevent light leakage on plastic buildings is to paint the interior black or silver. Any cheap kraft paint will do. You may also have to seal cracks at corner joints or where the roof meets the walls. Pieces of plastic sprues are easy to glue in place.
 For buildings like houses, apartments and office structures you may want to consider dividing some interiors up by adding floors and wall partitions. This will allow you to have some windows lit and others not, and the floors will eliminate the 'bottomless pit' effect caused when you look into a building with no floors. The partitions also give you the opportunity to add wall decorations, furniture (2D) and carpets for rooms that will be close enough to the viewer to clearly see inside. Images can be copied from the internet, sized and printed, and then glued in place.


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 Posted: Sat Feb 19th, 2022 07:28 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2508  
When you want to light up buildings Pt 2
By David Mason
You can use quite a few LED’s in parallel when lighting buildings. Note that the actual draw from each LED may be quite a bit less than 20 milliamps. Most LEDs operating at 20 milliamps are blindingly bright and not particularly representative of an electric light so you may want to experiment with higher resistor values. However, you should still use the 20 milliamp measure to calculate the amperage needed. ALSO, you should never exceed about 75% of the power supply's maximum capacity. *In the example used above for 100 LEDs drawing 20 milliamps each = 2 amps, a safe power supply would be 2.75 amps.


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 Posted: Tue Feb 22nd, 2022 05:36 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2509  
When a Steam Engine front or rear bogie derails
By Crandall Overton
Model steam locos do not have much weight on the front and rear trucks/bogies to hold them to a rail.  A number of manufacturers use springs to apply pressure to the front truck but a) it can be over sprung , b) the screw could be too tight and c) the wheels could be out of gauge. 
The out of gauge wheels are relatively easy to correct but to check the tracking, 
with the loco set on some blocks but only supported by all drivers, both trucks should hang a bit from their pivot points so that the wheel tread is lower than the treads on the drivers.  If not, there's your problem.  Both trucks should be able to dip and elevate by about 6 degrees or so from dead track to allow for minor variations in track height etc.


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 Posted: Fri Feb 25th, 2022 03:52 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2510  
Hiding a Helix  Pt 1
By Several Modellers
A couple of ideas; An open pit mine!  Or a mountain in the middle of the prairies, like Jackass Mountain in Montana, or the Cypress Hills in Alberta. Or just  hide it behind a hinged backdrop.  (Mike Hughes)
You can use Low hills,  Row of trees, Buildings, Elevator, Gap in the backdrop , Hole in the backdrop, Through truss bridge, Highway overpass (Dave Husman)


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 Posted: Mon Feb 28th, 2022 05:21 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2511  
Hiding a Helix  Pt 2
By Several Modellers
The upper level is easier as you can swing the track around a hill, through a thick forest, behind a large building, etc. and just let it disappear as it drops behind the view block(s). On the lower level, bring the backdrop in front of the actual helix and then treat the "hole in the sky" using various scenic methods (buildings, hills, trees, bridges, etc.)
My track punches through the backdrop directly in front of face level on a narrow shelf on the layout (and drops into a helix to a lower level). The tree line on the backdrop goes right above the hole, and there's a short piece of green-painted "backdrop" inside the hole as well and a light bulb so that when you look in, it all blends as "forest" and not "black hole" (unless the light burns out). (Chris Van Der Heide)
I covered mine with a mountain.  The first image below shows the sub-structure of 1X2, with some swatches of aluminum/nylon window screen hot glued into place.  Then, with tunnel portals placed, I began to cover it all with ground goop.  The top half of the mountain slides back on to inverted L-girder lengths that act as guides or rails.  This allowed me to slide under the whole thing on the smooth and painted floor, and then to stand erect or at least to kneel.  The image at the bottom shows it all done, minus trees, weathering etc.  (Crandall Overton)


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 Posted: Thu Mar 3rd, 2022 06:23 am
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 Hints & Tips No. 2512  Hiding a Helix  Pt 3
By Ed Willis
If you do not want to make a helix  into a mountain, and you do not have another room for it, you are probably stuck covering it in fascia. You'll want a form of construction that leaves the centre hollow so you can crawl under and up into it to re-rail anything that needs it. 


There is a danger of 'string lining' where the cars go off the tracks to the inside of the helix, and you will want a solution to keep them from falling to the floor, but one that still lets you occasionally clean the track and re-rail a derailed car or loco.


Everyone does it differently, at least in some respects. Lots of Youtube vids on construction - some are better than others.


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 Posted: Sun Mar 6th, 2022 05:08 am
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Hints & Tips No. 2513  
Making “Rusty” Pipes Pt 1
By William Gillard
On a nice sunny, warm couple of days, I experimented making some rusty pipes out of a couple sizes of plastic straws. Some straws were opaque black, others were translucent brown.


Here's brief description of what was done:
I sprayed the straws with either Walmart's "Color Choice" flat black or Rustoleum flat brown.
Next day I  applied many washes (20-25) of craft acrylics, a little gouache and/or a smidge of real rust mixed into some matte acrylic varnish.


Colours in descending volume of use: dark burnt umber, burnt umber, terracotta, black, Bambi brown, warm white, black; Indian Red (gouache).


I first added several overall heavier, really wet layers of dark burnt umber (rotating the straw horizontally until the wet sheen disappeared so the colour would not all settle along the bottom). By the time the last straw was coated the first was ready for the next layer. As expected, those first layers were nearl invisible when dry - but not quite!


After those base layers, multiple, different, single colors were added, followed by additional layers mixed layers wet-on-wet, or others after the previous wash had briefly dried. Then some random splotches of colors were added, diluting any spots that were too distinct with washes of water to blur the edges. Then blended everything with more thin overall layers.


A couple pipes got dabbed with the Indian Red gouache mixed with matte acrylic varnish. One pipe got an couple overall washes of real rust, also mixed with matte acrylic varnish.


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