Go to the kitchen: it is a wonderland of scenic bits.
Dried oregano can be used two ways to make very convincing greenery. Used as it comes from the bag, it is a dull green-brown which is a perfect match for many different shrubs and leaves. A coat of spray varnish (carry out a test and give it a week to see how the varnish reacts with the herb) will seal it. If you spread it out and let it sit a couple of months, perhaps on a window ledge to get the sun, it fades to a neutral tannish colour. Use it like this or grind it up a little between your palms for variety. Dried basil is similar in use but seems to fade faster and in my experience becomes brittle, but this may work well for someone making a ‘sun-drenched’ setting.
Dried onion flakes (not powder) can be tinted to any number of subtle colours with a wash of water-based paints, and keeps some of it’s original hue. This feature is especially useful for detailing areas where you want to ‘bring alive’ a section of shrubbery. Once it is tinted, let it dry thoroughly and grind it between your palms.
A thin wash of dilute white glue will hold the herbs in place.
Liquorice sticks in their natural state are perfect little logs.
Hope this helps,
I have found that touching up my Metcalf buildings with a felt tip pen to get rid of the white edges etc. makes a bit difference to a building.
For Chain Link Fence, I’d use netting – a material sold in fabric shops that is used for making wedding dress veils. It is fabric and can be cut with scissors. If you use screen, I’d choose aluminum screen over steel because of the possible rust staining the layout.
Cats and train layouts do not mix.
Mine chewed the tops off of 2 skewer stick pines made from fondue skewers and furnace filter patches covered with ground foam. Loose ballast and coal is a definite no-no. Wiring becomes an object of attention if left to dangle beneath the layout. Any fine layout detail under the paws of a large (read that Maine Coon variety) kitty is subject to damage and at the very least, relocation. No cars or locomotives are left near the edge of the layout and stray cars that move on the4 track when bumped become the new “mouse” for kitty to play with.
Locomotive tender trucks can be used as additional sources of electrical pickup and connected to the locomotive using miniature 2 pin connectors.
Tunnels should not be longer than arms length and definitely not located in the farthest corner without access holes somewhere below.
Duckunders are fine when you are in your 20’s or 30′ but as you age, the novelty of extended running through their use diminishes.
I don’t know about the rest of your followers, but I find when the layout is finished and running well, I get itching to make amendments and alter things, hopefully for the better.
To this end I thought I would make a fire iron stand which I saw at the old Somerset & Dorset sheds at Highbridge. I already had some ready made fire irons and made some more using bits of thin wire. The stand was made from a paperclip soldering the pieces together.
(not for the faint hearted) Tricky is an understatement, but it’s not a bad effort. Its so small you cant see the imperfections. When complete it was painted with Modelmates RUST.
I already had a coaling stage from my first layout which was OK but itching to improve things. I decided to make one to fit between two tracks radiating from a 3 way point. One track leads to the loco shed and the other two are used for coaling & watering, except that the coaling stage only served one track. So I built a V shaped stage so that locos on either track could be refueled. It was constructed from mount board, scoring lines to represent old sleepers and varying the lengths of each to mimic the real ones. The water tower was moved behind the new stage.
Incidentally, the fire devil ( a device for preventing the water freezing in the pipe of the water tower) was made using different size lengths of plastic tube.
Thats all for now I hope it will be of some interest. Keep up the good work
There you go folks, the last one.
Future mails from this point will only go to folk who have bought the ‘golden key’ (you can buy it here).
Thank you for all the kind posts and emails of supports.
To those who’d like the golden key, but budget doesn’t allow, I promise I will try a run of mails with ads on, but I’m not sure when, or how ‘well’ they will do.
Many of you have asked how much it costs to send my mails. I use an email marketing package like this – check out the prices yourself. The more subscribers, the more it costs.
I started the site because I spend a lot of time online – I wanted something ‘offline’ to do – a thought a layout would be perfect. Ironically, it has increased the time I spend online by a long stretch.
And I’ll end this one in the usual way: the latest ebay cheat sheet is here.