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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sat Apr 24th, 2010 07:54 pm
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Hints & Tips No.651
Re Entering the Hobby in N scale Pt 4
By Rick Nicholson (Vancouver)
Backdrop

Many people skimp on the backdrop but please, do not. I have seen incredible layouts with horrible backdrops. Make the backdrop a priority item, and put it in, right after you do the bench work (most people plan to do this and do not ... then regret it later). Remember the backdrop sets the theme, and expands the layout; it should not look childish, spartan, or too modern artish. And seriously consider photo backdrops.

Engines

Generally speaking, you will find N scale not as strong as HO) in the steam category. So why not run an excursion steam train (like BC Rail has done in the past with the Royal Hudson 2860 Steam engine) but plan on diesels. Most N scaler's are more contemporary than HO and OO gaugers as the selection is better or more realistic in N scale, than steam in N scale.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 06:12 pm
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Hints & Tips No.652
Fixing Track – Alternatives to Pins?
By Brian Dobson (Essex)
I used Unibond PVA liberally applied directly to the underside of the Peco Code 100 sleeper base. The track was stuck directly to the 6mm MDF having previously pencilled in the track centre lines using straight edges or curve templates. I slide it into position and left it for at least 24 hours weighted down with anything usefully heavy (like bottles of poster paint). I used crocodile clips to align track ends with track already laid. Absolutely no problems whatsoever, though I have no intention of lifting the track now it is down - I suspect the thin MDF would disintegrate if I tried.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 26th, 2010 05:49 pm
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Hints & Tips No.653
Re Entering the Hobby in N scale Pt 5
By Rick Nicholson (Vancouver)
Layout Planning

When layout planning first draw your benchwork, without track. Next, fix your visual spots. How will the eye be drawn into your layout? Where are the areas you want to highlight to draw the eye and imagination of the viewer in.

A corollary of this: what is the viewer going to see first when entering your layout room? Try and have set visual areas, then these become your focal modeling areas; and the boundaries transition the scene from one to the next, or one geographic region to the next. So on one wall, you have your rural area, on the next wall your mountain scenery, and on your next wall your urban switching area... to give an example. Then when you have your areas clearly defined, then decide on track.

Initial Track Plan

When drawing track, just concentrate on the mainline first. Is it dog bone, or double dog bone? Is it stub ended, loop to loop, etc? Then after that decision is made, then focus in on your switching and passing siding areas. Remember with DCC, reversing loops aren't the bad guys of the past, and you can have continuous running with reversing loops.




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 Posted: Tue Apr 27th, 2010 05:42 pm
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Hints & Tips No.653
Re Entering the Hobby in N scale Pt 5
By Rick Nicholson (Vancouver)
Layout Planning

When layout planning first draw your benchwork, without track. Next, fix your visual spots. How will the eye be drawn into your layout? Where are the areas you want to highlight to draw the eye and imagination of the viewer in.

A corollary of this: what is the viewer going to see first when entering your layout room? Try and have set visual areas, then these become your focal modeling areas; and the boundaries transition the scene from one to the next, or one geographic region to the next. So on one wall, you have your rural area, on the next wall your mountain scenery, and on your next wall your urban switching area... to give an example. Then when you have your areas clearly defined, then decide on track.

Initial Track Plan

When drawing track, just concentrate on the mainline first. Is it dog bone, or double dog bone? Is it stub ended, loop to loop, etc? Then after that decision is made, then focus in on your switching and passing siding areas. Remember with DCC, reversing loops aren't the bad guys of the past, and you can have continuous running with reversing loops.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 28th, 2010 05:51 pm
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Hints & Tips No.654
Applying Lining to Rollingstock using Decals
By Dave Stafford
Being used to painting 4mm locos, I do get asked on occasion to apply lining to 4mm locos and doing it in 7mm is a bit scary. I find that the best way is to sort out a datum point at each end of the vehicle and, working in conjunction with a 12" rule, try and keep your transfer as closely aligned with the rule as possible.



Another option is to apply a line of low-tack masking tape above the course of your decal , used in approximately the same way as the ruler.



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 Posted: Thu Apr 29th, 2010 06:24 pm
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Hints & Tips No.655
Yet another method of making Coal Loads.
By Lyle Mack
I traced the coal carriage top on a sheet of styrene. It was cut so that it fits snugly in the wagon. Then I added cinders and used a glue water mix to glue the cinders to the sheet. Now I have a car that can be loaded and unloaded. Some cars I just glued the sheets in and alway leave them loaded. This way when I operate the layout I can bring emptys to the mine and haul loaded ones out.



One word of advice is how ever you add the cinders try to not use excess amounts. The weight adds up fast and then your locos will not want to pull too many. There are also some ready made loads on the market that fit specific vehicles. Some are much lighter than what I do so that might be another option for you.

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 Posted: Fri Apr 30th, 2010 09:17 pm
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Hints & Tips No.656
Resin Dust as Filler/Putty
By Lajos Thek
It may sound weird, but after sanding any cast resin model or part, I save the resin dust. To repair / fill / build up parts, I use some (almost any brand) super glue, then press the part into the resin dust. Instant super hard, grindable, sandable, super composite material.
Repeat, until the desired build-up has been reached. I use this method on broken, cracked, screwed up parts made of almost any material, except styrene.

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 Posted: Sat May 1st, 2010 06:41 pm
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Hints & Tips No.657
Applying Crystal Clear for glazing
By Tim McMahon
I have never liked the look of crystal coat clear glazing painted “in situ” very much.. so what I do is to put scotch tape over the outside of the window I plan to fill and burnish it really well around the border/window frame.

I then apply the “crystal clear” from the inside and let it cure. When you peel the tape off, SLOWLY, you have flush mounted glass


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 Posted: Mon May 3rd, 2010 08:05 am
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Hints & Tips No.658
Curving Backdrops and Trackage
By Trevor Gibbs
On my own layout I have a reverse “S section of track which when the back of the layout was openly accessible went a long way to hiding the true length of the baseboards and the trackage. Why? Because removing a straight line removes the reference point of most peoples eyes and the true size becomes harder to pick at a casual glance and your layour can appear larger than it really is. An excellent example is Graham Plowmans page which shows a station on a radius of over 50” or so... subtle curves but a magnificent effect! My own layout also has a long reverse, subtly Ess shaped  yard and track not laid dead set parallel nor straight at the front.
Similarly as I write, I have seen both at an exhibition and a web page the effect of an “Ess” shaped backdrop board and the apparent length of the board is also hidden by a curved yard. Our models are seldom if ever the true size of our prototype so the more illusion we can use the better.

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 Posted: Mon May 3rd, 2010 06:03 pm
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Hints & Tips No.659
N Scale or any other scale Tunnel Lining -1
By Bob Deveraux (Arkansas)
First I glue a sheet of foam to the plywood. Check to make sure you remove the thin almost invisible plastic sheet on the foam before gluing!    Then I stack the smaller cut sheets horizontally (flat). I use 1/2 inch foam primarily which cuts well with a carpet knife. I also use 2 inch thick foam, scraps from a construction site. Make a cut and then snap it.
For contouring I use a Stanley Surform Cutter which is kind of a like cheese grater section with a yellow handle.  Some people prefer a hot knife but I really cannot ventilate the room to my satisfaction to clear the fumes. I also have a dirt devil vacuum cleaner to clean up the foam shavings. Avoid the white bead foam! It is messy and full of static. Always use pink or blue foam. It is kind of messy but vacuum frequently and you will be fine.
After gluing I paint with an acrylic (water based) paint. If you are in doubt about your paint try it on a small piece of foam first as some enamel paints and some glues eat up the foam. I got my brown paint really cheap from a can someone returned to the Paint Shop. Look around near the mixing area for a suitable earth color. The vertical outside edges were painted flat black to hide the foam strata levels. Outside my tunnel is painted a sandstone color with a thin brown wash.

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 Posted: Tue May 4th, 2010 05:37 pm
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Hints & Tips No.660
N Scale or any other scale Tunnel Lining - 2
By John Schaeffer (Virginia)
The easiest thing to do for Tunnel linings is use something like brick paper or embossed plastic sheet. Use a pattern that you like such as stone, block, or brick. Glue it on a piece of poster board. Cut the poster board piece to the size of the sides in a rectangle shape so you can bend it on a curve if you have to. You do not need a roof for the top of the tunnel. Use blocks of wood or foam to brace it up on the outside.
Using hot glue is fast and will last as long as your layout. You probably only need to line 6 to 8 inches from the back of the portal because that is usually all you will be able to see.

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 Posted: Wed May 5th, 2010 06:26 pm
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Hints & Tips No.661
Pseudo model water cranes
By Trevor Gibbs (Melbourne Australia)
Some soap dispenser bottles and their ilk have push down taps that uncannily resemble water cranes, particularly of the North American variety. A little reshaping of the crane top and a short length of heat shrink insulation to act as the "hose", dark paint and you will have a unique water crane, just like everyone else who reads this!

O scale modellers could do worse than look at Oral B or similar electric tooth brush heads ... worn out ones of course... mounted on an old tube shaped biro body with a thicker piece of heat shrink for the hose.

Now if only I could get my wife to stop thinking greenly and buy a new dispenser instead of a refill...

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 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2010 06:30 pm
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Hints & Tips No.662
Subtle Superelevation on Curves
By Tom Stage
What I do is glue strips of styrene to the underside of the rail ties using Testor (thin) plastic adhesive; parallel to and directly underneath the outside rail of the track. For flexible track, wait till the adhesive dries then use nippers to break the styrene between rail ties so that you can "flex" the track.
I would not go higher than 1/32" (0.031") for HO superelevation. Even though my layout is smallish (4 x 8), I have superelevated my mainline. Although the visual effect is subtle, it is still noticeable and I think it adds to the realism of the layout.

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 Posted: Fri May 7th, 2010 06:21 pm
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Hints & Tips No.663
Applying Colours for Scenery Pt 1
By Michael Tondee (Georgia)
I cannot emphasize enough how much good lighting and proper choice of lighting is to a modeled scene. I use "daylight" spectrum fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent bulbs and I always bring samples of my colors home and check them under the layout lights. I never pick paint under store lights. In the case of the cheap acrylic paints, I will gamble the cost of a small bottle of paint and bring it home and paint a scrap of plaster or foam and let it dry and check it under my lights before using it.

I even bring the paint chip samples home first when painting a backdrop or even painting a room in the house. I say again, I NEVER EVER pick paint for any project home or model wise under store lights.

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 Posted: Sat May 8th, 2010 06:46 pm
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Hints & Tips No.664
Shortening a Can Motor Drive Shaft
By Trevor Gibbs
I have tried different methods of shortening drive shafts of double sided Can Motors, particularly Mashima motors in different locomotives. The most effective way I have found is use a pair of Bolt Cutters as the heat will be minimal and you will do less damage to the bearings.

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 Posted: Mon May 10th, 2010 05:11 am
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Hints & Tips No.665
Applying Colours for Scenery Pt 2
By Michael Tondee (Georgia)
This is to tell you of very basic representations of the way I apply color. I usually just dribble some out of the bottle. I then take a brush that has been dipped in water and I just swab the color all over. There is absolutely no need to be neat about it. You want more color in some places than others. You want varying tones and hues of the base coat.
I have a problem using straight tan latex house paint full strength, it appears too uniform to me. I suppose you could attack it with a wet brush as I do the acrylics but I have never tried it. I apply small dabs of color with a toothbrush and then go back over it with my wet paint brush so it dilutes and becomes not quite so intense. Dark brown can be almost too intense so I tend to use it more sparingly.

Also spraying the wet color will make it run down in the cracks and crevices of the plaster work quite naturally. I usually let it sit a while and then go back over areas I'm not happy with, sometimes with the full strength paint, sometimes with more washes. I use grey paint brushed on full strength usually in areas where I want to signify rock.

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 Posted: Mon May 10th, 2010 05:11 am
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Hints & Tips No.666
Applying Paint to Plaster Cast buildings
By Ted Allan (Sunshine MRC, Victoria Australia)
I have done a lot of Linka Kit plaster castings and have found that mixing in Earth toned acrylic paints into the plaster before casting can result in a more realistic stone appearance. Painting it after assembly can look like the building has been painted over a surface which could just as easily be plastic rather than a stone and look so.

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 Posted: Mon May 10th, 2010 05:44 pm
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Hints & Tips No.667
Applying Colours for Scenery Pt 3
By Michael Tondee (Georgia)
The three tones of Ground Foam I use are earth, burnt grass and regular grass. I thought the earth was much the same as earth blend when I bought it. Unfortunately the earth has much more of a green hue than the earth blend which tends to be a lot browner. I feel a little handicapped without that brown shade I need.
At any rate I still did the combination of the three green tones and “in the flesh”, I think everyone can see the dramatic difference that a little ground foam can make.
I apply the ground foam by brushing on the dilute white glue mixture and then just taking small pinches of the material in between my fingers and sprinkling it much the same way a cook would put a dash of salt in soup. This is just scenery soup!
Sometimes on vertical surfaces I will apply the glue mixture and "throw" the pinches of ground foam material at the surface. Placing a little in your palm and gently blowing it into the glue mixture also works well to represent vegetation that has clung onto rock faces.

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 Posted: Tue May 11th, 2010 05:46 pm
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Hints & Tips No.668
Skates and Extra Pickups for Steam Locomotives
By Trevor Gibbs
Fitting extra pickups on your locomotives are useful for ensuring that contact is not broken. I have a Pacific which has chassis pickup and Tender return but for whatever reason, the front driving wheel loses contact in an area on the layout beyond a Peco point. It was not a short circuit as I at first thought which was checked with a Multimeter which showed a no load voltage when the engine stopped.
A pickup in the form of a “skate” alleviated this problem and visually was not a problem

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 Posted: Wed May 12th, 2010 07:35 pm
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Hints & Tips No.669
Using Masonite/Hardboard as a Track Cleaner
By Paul Jansz
To reiterate what has already been mentioned, the textured face of ordinary hardboard is an amazingly efficient track cleaner. No solvents required, and very little elbow grease. If your layout is a fair size, make up a hardboard sledge with some weight on top for your mightiest loco to move around and the job is done for you; which technique originates at Pendon and is well proven. Scrub off the working face with a wire brush once in a while. It could hardly be easier.

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