I got a whole load of tips in from Richard, after his first post (which I have included at the botom).
I thought them very worthwhile so here they are.
“Having access to a wide variety of products from Walthers, Inc.; one product I found which works great for ballast on model railroads, is plain old beach sand. You can get some, wash it, rinse it, let id dry before using. Then, when you go to use it, you can spray it with a diluted tint, let dry, and then use it for ballast. For HO railroads, beach sand will duplicate ballast for use around yard tracks.
To model strata in rock faces; I use molds for rocks, but also use gypsum boards, made over an inch thick. I cut the width down to 1.5 to 2 inches wide, then carve the exposed side, before putting in place and coloring. The process might be a bit time consuming for some, but I like doing that in places where the use of such is not readily noticed; as in an extension of a modeled rock face.
I also use gypsum board as underlayment for the trackage, and hide this with a cork roadbed, which I then hide with ballast.
I have also learned that gypsum, in loose form, makes good “snow”, although you have to be careful not to get it wet, as it will clump, and after it dries, it sticks.
One thing about Gypsum, is that it is the main ingredient in Plaster and sheet rock. But it is great to work with; and I have laid road ways, air strips and even built buildings using this stuff. It really is great for model railroading.
I also use a wood water proofer, but what I use is Kuprinol 10; which comes in either clear, or green. I use the green for water proofing wood posts when building fences, decks, or setting up foundations for barns, sheds, etc. I have been using the clear product for making many of the wooden structures on my layouts, water proof, so that the structures don’t absorb water vapor from the air.
Also, Thompson’ Sealer works just as good, but I find that to be a wee bit more expensive, per gallon.
To me, the best tip I could give to any one wanting to get into model railroading is: “Start small.” Regardless as to how big you eventually “grow” your layout; don’t make the mistake of trying to do every thing all at once.
Start with a small layout, which should not take more than one or two weekends to complete.
Then, as time, space, and budget permits, add to this small layout.
Keep your expectations from leading you to get more involved in the modeling, when you don’t have time or space, or the budget to get deeper.
Don’t run lots of trains; although you can have many different types of locomotives and rolling stock.
AND, The most important idea to remember is: Don’t let others tell you what you need to do with your hobby. The model railroad you build, belongs to you and your family; not to the rest of the model railroading community, (unless you start a club and invite others to join). If you want to make it “Toy like” in appearance; this is your prerogative. Remember: This is Your hobby, and every thing you do with it, belongs to you.
I use gypsum for scenery, which I buy direct from the maker. It works out real good, and can be mixed with dry colors for various shades of rock and dirt.
I also use in/out door carpeting, green in color, which I cover with colored gypsum, to simulate yards and fields. This saves time and money, and doesn’t look half bad.
For tunnels, I have molds which cover the outside with plaster, let set and harden, and then remove the tunnels and place them where they will fit on the scenery, before I build in the mountains. This gives me the ‘rock-cut’ interior, which most tunnels have, although for me, you can only seee into the tunnels maybe 6 to 7 inches.
For bridges, I use scaled plans and structural plastic shapes, which I heat weld when building the bridge. A current project bridge is being built using steel, for under-framing, with the plastic parts, (beams, columns, etc), heat welded together, so the steel will be hidden. This is because I plan a bridge which will be built in a canti-lever style, and will measure around 12′ long (real time measurements). This bridge is needed to span a walk-under part of the layout.
Have a great day
Aren’t they great? A big thank you to Richard. If you have a tip to share, please do email me (just hit reply to any of my mails).
Or if you’d just like to get cracking – the Beginner’s Guide is here.
Keep ’em coming folks.
And if you’re heading off to ebay, the latest ebay cheat sheet is here.