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HINTS AND TIPS - THE FOLLOW ON - Hints & Tips - Reference Area. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Thu May 13th, 2010 06:53 pm
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Hints & Tips No.670
Printing Brickpaper on Computer
By Several Modellers
Usually, companies that produce 'printable' kits or patterns suggest matte photo paper. You will get a deeper colour and crisper detail. Also check your printer setting and confirm that it is set to 'graphics' rather than a setting similar to 'text' or 'draft', or you may get a poorer result.
Paper should be a matt "photo grade" if possible, there are several types. It does not need heavy grade photo paper. Copier paper will work, but absorb ink more, and colours may be variable. You can also use cartridge art paper from an art supplier.

Sealing with varnish may be a problem with solvent types as they all attack the printer ink, as will alcohol based varnish. Spray type Acrylic will be the best, lightly applied in a series of coats, building up. If you have an airbrush, then lacquer can be used, gently misted on and allow to dry, it totally proofs the ink. Any brushing will disturb the finish too much. If you have access to one, try printing it out on good quality paper using a color Laser printer. The colur rendition can be very good and it is quite waterproof.

Colour balance is best judged in a test print, and adjust the colour in a graphic program to get what you want. You can also increase contrast and sharpen the image.

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 Posted: Thu May 13th, 2010 11:18 pm
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Hints & Tips No.671
Making Radio Aerials
By Matt Hamilton (Sydney)
This is not my idea but I thought I would share it as I read this tip many years ago in a car modelling magazine.

All of my car and truck models have aerials I have done as the ones that usually come with the car kits just look too thick. making a OO or H0 scale foxtail.

Cut a piece of the surrounding sprue (the surrounding polystyrene plastic that all the parts are attached to) about 4inches long. Light a candle then while holding each end gently heat up the sprue till you feel it go soft then slowly stretch and then let 1 end drop quicky. Lay flat till its cool, cut to length.. the amount you stretch it will determine the thickness of the aerial... it will only take a couple of try's to get the thickness and length you need.

Once cool and the right length you need reheat it at 1 end to make the base by heating and then squashing or pushing it into shape. Then you can also just flatten the base with a screwdriver blade sideways to create the Blade type base.






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 Posted: Fri May 14th, 2010 06:37 pm
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Hints & Tips No.672
Using Slide Switches as Ground Throws
By Several Modellers
Instead of using a caboose industries ground throw, using a small slide switch, with a wire linkage bent at a 90 degree "V" providing an oversprung positive locking mechanism.

Several of us like this idea for 3 reasons..

1. If we want 10 points/turnouts done, we would rather pay 5-10 Dollars rather than $150 plus for Tortoise switch machines/point motors. (and the currencies are all relative)

2. The low profile would look better than a gargantuan caboose ground throw.

3. The switch allows for both frog switching as well as simple signal switching of colour light signals


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 Posted: Sun May 16th, 2010 06:10 pm
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Hints & Tips No.673
Getting Inside Bachmann Pullmans
By Paul Jansz
Do not undo any screws initially. The body is simply clipped onto the underframe with four clips along both body sides. A small blade carefully inserted between bodyside and underframe may be used to gently bow the side to release it from the clips. Take note of the body to chassis orientation so that you do not have the annoyance of putting a body back on, wrong way round.

The seating unit is retained by the four crosshead screws along the centreline of the underside and under it is the wiring to the table lamps and the weight.

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 Posted: Mon May 17th, 2010 06:16 pm
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Hints & Tips No.674
Recycling Used Disposable Razors... as a Track Cleaner?
By Trevor Gibbs
Some shapes of disposable razors lend themselves better to this than others but you can recycle the bladehead and handle by gluing a felt pad around the area which would normally contact your facial area whilst shaving. By applying white spirit to this pad, you would have a simple track cleaning tool which would enable you to apply pressure to the track with the handle and give you a bit of reach at the same time.
If you have a heavier amount of gunk on your track, you may need a rub with the track cleaning rubber first but the amount of abrasion you need should be reduced.

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 Posted: Wed May 19th, 2010 04:37 am
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Hints & Tips No.675
Fitting Small Components to Models.
By John Challenor (UK) and David Youngs (Ontario)
Some of the techniques you could use as appropriate to the job in hand:-

Tie a piece of thread ( light/dark coloured, contrasting to the floor! ) to that spring before it disappears into the "black hole". This is especially useful for Kadee coupler springs where you can withdraw the thread carefully once the spring has been placed.
Temporarily hold the component on a thin stick such as a skewer or offcut wood slither from a model with almost anything from plasticine to chewing gum in removable small quantities of course! Excellent for starting off small screws, nuts , bolts etc.
Line the tweezers or pliers you are using with a small piece of double sided tape. The stickiness should be just enough to hold the smaller piece.



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 Posted: Wed May 19th, 2010 06:40 pm
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Hints & Tips No.676
Holding” Steel Screws
By Trevor Gibbs
If you have to apply steel screws to your model, stroke your screw driver with an old magnet a few times until it has the magnetic force to hold your screw. Your driver should retain the magnetism long enough to do the task of aligning your screw and holding it until you get it started.

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 Posted: Thu May 20th, 2010 08:55 pm
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Hints & Tips No.677
Suggestion for take apart layouts
By Ted Allan and Trevor Gibbs
For our exhibition layouts Eddington and Newry, Ted introduced the idea of using door hinges to Sunshine MRC, one side on each board or frame with the hinge pins removed and replaced by knitting needles. Bend the knitting needles so you have some leverage when assembling/disassembling the layout. This locks the layouts very well and no locating dowels are needed.

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 Posted: Fri May 21st, 2010 09:43 pm
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Hints & Tips No.678
Making a Simple Chain Link Fence/Barrier
By John Cossons
I made a simple chain link fence similar those seen in car parks as “barriers” made from discarded rail for posts with chain welded to them. Using cheap brass chain and nickel silver rail.off cuts, I simply used a small amount of solder to hold the brass to the rail. This gives the appearance of welding.

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 Posted: Sat May 22nd, 2010 07:20 pm
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Hints & Tips No.679
Air Brush Tips and Techniques
By Jim Hanes (Washington)
Airbrushes need lots of attention, just like your trains. Air pressure depends on the material you are spraying. Pressure should not exceed 40 lbs with most materials, but you can reduce the pressure to as low as you want as long as the spray is coming out evenly and smooth.
You can thin any material you want to spray with the proper thinner, acyrlics, use water or alchol, alchol use it sparingly, as it cuts the drying time down, and can plug up the tip.


Each material has a thinner that is recommended for that product. Stick with the basics until you have a few gallons of paint under your belt. Remember, clean your brush after every use, no matter how little the job was. Keeping the gun clean is the number 1 problem for new painters.

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 Posted: Sun May 23rd, 2010 06:14 pm
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Hints & Tips No.680
Modelling Scrap Metal
By Wolfgang Dudler
I use wrappers from chocolates and other sweets, mixed in a blender to shreds which gives an interesting mixture of colours in the scrap metal yard. A wagon load of scrap can be easily made this way, or the shredded wrappers can be baled, glued and given a light rusty coat.

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 Posted: Mon May 24th, 2010 07:14 pm
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Hints & Tips No.681
Water Effects
By Tim Stephenson
Using the Woodland Scenics Water Effects, I start with a bead at the base of the waterfall and pull it up to the top. I continue this until I have the desired look of a waterfall cascading down the mountain. Another way that I like better is to take a Teflon cookie sheet and spread some of the Water Effects out on it the same size that you want your waterfall to be. Now take a toothpick and draw lines in it to look like ripples. When it dries, you can peel it off and lay it on the area that you want your waterfall.
The Water Effects will come out white and will take about a week to change to a clear color. If I want any rapids, I will add bumps in the water with the water effects and move it around with my paintbrush. The water effect will also take 24 hours to dry hard.

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 Posted: Tue May 25th, 2010 11:04 pm
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Hints & Tips No.682
Making Structures using Card Pt 1
By Walter Huff (Florida)
A few people have asked how I built my structures out of cereal boxes so here is a summary. I made two major structures in the forms of a grain elevator which is a painted structure and a Tool and Die building which has a printed finish.

First thing to do is to create a template. You can draw a building or find something on the internet and print it. My grain elevator was a drawing so let us start with that. I used AutoCad to draw the building but a pencil and paper would work just fine too.
I created the building in Cad and was able to print it directly onto a piece of cardboard. If you cannot print to cardboard then print to a piece of paper and use a temp type glue and affix it to the cardboard. I wanted it to look like a wood structure so the first thing I did was score the cardboard to make it look like wood siding. That is easier to do it now before you cut out the structure.



Cut out the structure using your favorite method. I used a box cutter (razor blade) to cut out what I could then switched to a hobby knife with no. 11 blades and chisel blades for the the windows. Glue your sides together using square wood stock in the corners. Add some bracing using cardboard for the inside. The lighter the cardboard the more bracing you will want. Cardboard will tend to "concave" on the sides and you do not want that.


Cut a bunch of thin strips of cardboard and dress the corners where ever needed and frame out your doors and windows too. like using strip wood but we are gonna be cheap here and use cardboard! Attach your roof and be sure to add bracing where ever needed.Spray paint the whole thing with rattle can auto primer. you want a good base for the finish coat but you may also want windows using clear acrylic plastic with paint filled grooves. I used a dental tool to scrape out a small channel in the plastic. Seal your building so if you use acrylic paint they will not cause the building sides to warp. Finish painting the structures in you choice of colors. and there you have it!

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 Posted: Thu May 27th, 2010 06:45 am
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Hints & Tips No.683
Making Structures using Card Pt 2
By Walter Huff (Florida)
The brick Tool and Die building I made was the constructed the same as the Grain Elevator in H&T #682 except for the finished walls. I did not want to paint the sides so I printed some brick walls on paper and used it instead. I used a building I found on the internet and used it as a template. I was able to print it on cardboard for the template.


I cut out all the windows then glue the 4 sides together take your printed brick (or whatever) and glue it to the sides of the building. If your building is small enough and/or your printed bricks big enough you can wrap the whole thing in one sheet. I did this in N scale leaving me only one seam. Cover the window openings in the cardboard.


I used rubber cement to glue the brick on but use what you like. After the glue has dried trim off the excess paper covering around all the edges.
Now the windows.....do not cut them out but rather cut a "X" in each opening with your hobby knife. Add a dab of tacky glue to all 4 tabs and fold those around inside the structure. This should cover most of the edges of your window openings. check inside bracing and add more if needed. more is better. What you want is to pick it up and say....."Damn, this thing is heavy for being cardboard".


Paint everything black inside then add windows as described in H&T 682. Add the roof structure and roofing. On the Tool building I used Laser labels cut into strips and then painted them whereas on the grain elevator, I used 1000 grit sandpaper for the roof. I then added a base out of heavy cardboard. Cut the base to size and score it to look like concrete squares and paint. Add washes to darken or weather it to you liking.



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 Posted: Thu May 27th, 2010 06:08 pm
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Hints & Tips No.684
Making Structures using Card - The Epilogue
By Walter Huff (Florida)
So where do you find building to use as templates? do a Search on the internet using the terms Free Cardboard buildings or Free Paper buildings or Free Cardstock buildings

Find something you like and print it to cardboard or paper. You might have to scale it down to be N scale. I found that if I set my printer to 55% to be correct to print a HO building. Basically look for a structure that fits your needs but do not get too hung up about the color or where the windows are located etc. You can change all of those when you cut out the cardboard.

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 Posted: Fri May 28th, 2010 07:09 pm
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Hints & Tips No.685
Easy ways to remove solder from old track
By Several Modellers
  1. I just heat up the rail with a soldering iron, get the old solder to melt. Then give the piece of track a quick flick with the hand and the molten solder will fly off. Do not do this in a room that you care about, the molten solder will do bad things to rugs, carpets, and furniture. Out of doors, or the garage is more like it.
  2. Clamp the track down. Heat the soldered section and quickly swipe it with a small brass or other metal brush. "Quickly" being the operative word.
  3. You can use Solder Wick but the main problem is that it leaves a heavy flux residue (it's a brass braid with a dried flux intertwined). The best method is a solder vacuum. You can pick these up for a few dollars and they are totally reusable.
  4. The resin flux residue from solder wick is easily removed with alcohol and a small stiff bristle brush, like an acid brush. A solder sucker is a little clumsy in many places. If you are using it on a finished layout, be careful not to knock over buildings, accessories, etc.

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 Posted: Sat May 29th, 2010 08:11 pm
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Hints & Tips No.686
Making Really Fine Ground Foam
By Several Modellers
There have been several posts informing us how to make the ground foam for bushes, shrubs, but making the fine stuff like grass and fallen leaves can be a different issue. You could try to put the ground foam back into the blender and chop it finer, but it is still not fine enough. The main issue is the type of foam. The cushion type foam is not the best for fine stuff but look at the expanded type foam that they pack furniture and small appliances in works better. Some modellers like using a coffee grinder more than anything. It can be very fast but easier to control the level of cutting than with a food processor with an easier clean up.

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 Posted: Sun May 30th, 2010 06:13 pm
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Hints & Tips No.687
Cheap realistic OO/HO ballast
By Bill Walters,
Woodland Scenics gray ballast gets rather pricey when building a large layout. A great substitute is starter or baby chick grit which can be purchased at almost any farm supply store in 50 pound bags for about $6 in the US.
Before running out to make a purchase, however, I should toss in a couple of caveats. First, be sure to read the label on the bag before buying. Some grit is anise flavored and some is dyed with iron oxide. Avoid this stuff for obvious reasons.
Also, starter grit lacks the size uniformity of Woodland Scenics ballast but you can come pretty close by gently striking a shallow container of grit with a heavy mallet then sifting the stone through a screen.
If you are super fussy, do the bulk of your ballasting with the starter grit then dress up the top with Woodland Scenics ballast.

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 Posted: Tue Jun 1st, 2010 08:08 am
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Hints & Tips No.688
Waterfalls for Coal and Iron?
By Adam Crolley (Ohio)
I made a “waterfall” but this was for my dock area. I have a "ship" being loaded with coal, so when I made the "waterfall" I covered it with "coal". My plan is to attach it to my conveyer and make it appear coal is being loaded into my ship. There is no reason why you could not simulate iron being loaded from an ore dock, grain from a silo or loading sawdust from a pulp mill as well.

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 Posted: Tue Jun 1st, 2010 05:55 pm
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Hints & Tips No.689
Assisting Dullcote to Work Well when finishing Models
By John Winter (Illinois)
The one thing which deters from the realism of any model railroad is shiny surfaces! The easiest way to remove that shine is to overspray the structure or rolling stock with Dullcote (Testors #1260 clear flat lacquer overcoat). Dullcote comes in a small spray can like many other model car colors. I have had people tell me they do not like to use the small cans because it comes out in an uneven spray which causes blotches on the surface of the model.
There is a very easy way to avoid that problem. Shake the can of paint per the instructions on the label. Fill a small bowl with hot tap water. DO NOT heat the water on the stove or in the microwave. The water should not be above 120 degrees F. Set the spray can in the hot water and allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the spray can from the water, dry it off, and shake it again for a couple of minutes. Then spray the surface. The hot water will do two things. It will warm up and loosen the material from the bottom of the can, allowing the contents to mix more thoroughly, and it will build up a little more pressure in the can so that it can spray more evenly. This will work with any kind of spray paint under pressure. Remember, hot tap water only. The contents are already under pressure. If you overheat the can, it can explode.

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