The complete collection of modelling tips PDF download

It’s been a busy few days.

Thanks to Dave for his videos on the last post.

Judging by your comments, you found them as funny as I did.


As a follow-up to spray painting the ties brown, IF you take a drinking straw and using a sharp knife, slice the straw length wise (put a slit in the straw) this will slide over the rail and give some protection while spraying the ties.


Glenn “

“Don’t use kitty litter for track ballast. It is made to absorb moisture and will absorb and retain humidity moisture from your household air supply, possibly transferring that moisture to your valuable tracks, locos and cars.

Use aquarium gravel instead. It comes in different sizes, is all natural, and looks much more like real ballast instead of the all one color kitty litter. It is also very economical to purchase.


Please do keep the tips coming! Thanks for all your kind comments by the way.

And one last thing just to clear the model boat thing up:

The boat site is here.

To get the boat emails – like these – go here.

Happy modelling.



18 Responses to The complete collection of modelling tips PDF download

  1. A good mixture for ballasting is 50 50 mix of white glue and water with 3 to 4 drops of liquid detergent this alows the glue mixture to penatrate the ballast

  2. One way to improve the looks of the roofs of flat top buildings is to first paint the roof tops a medium dark gray and while the paint is still wet sprinkle a 50/50 mixture of salt and pepper on the wet roof. This looks like tar and gravel on older buildings.

  3. Does anyone have some really good track layouts for
    O scale fast track, including switches. I want to add on,
    and just have oval? Thanks.

  4. another way to make trees, rather that useing wire that takes time .Is to use bottle brush tree branches, make great limbs.Spray with Hair spray, & use woodlands matting, what ever colour you choose, useing Pva Glue, to stick on
    and they look like the real thing. Mine has lastered over 1yr so far.

  5. A good inexpensive material for track ballast and other landscape applications is decomposed granite. It is available a nearly every building supply provider’s and generally is a mix of sizes from 3/8 inch down to coarse powder. All that is required is a simple sieve made up in the mesh size you want your material to be and a second sieve sized to pass everything but the size material you want.

    The sieving process will work for any material you want to size for what ever application is at hand. Non-graded general purpose river sand would work well too. River sand because it doesn’t have sharp edges like silica sand and gives the appearance of rounded rocks. Volcanic rock fine gravel will sieve down too and it has an entirely different appearance from either DG or river sand. I suggest a magnification loop for examining materials like these so that they may be compared to the real thing for visual authenticity before going through the complete sieving and application processes though. Just a thought.

  6. I’m a 64 old ,but young at heart beginner of building my first train layout
    I thank everyone for those great tips.

    My brother never let me play with his when we where younger. Now I’m retired and will have my own little layout. And than, I will send him the picture and hope he gets jealous.
    So thanks again to help me make this happen

  7. I would also like to thank all the people who have put there ideas and experiences on line. I too am building my first trainset which I promised my boys when they were young and are now 30 and 32 respectfully. I am 64years old the same as Karin and have grown up with steam, deisel and electric trains, I even told stories about Thomas the Tank engine off the top of my head before it came onto the television when my boys were little.

    Anyway thank you all of you who have contributed and look forward to more helpful hints from you.


  8. Is there any way to cure n gauge car coming uncoupled very often?

  9. For those who model 7mm scale narrow gauge, take a look at the child’s toy series tomy Trackmaster Thomas the tank engine. The open wagons make great 4 wheel 7 plank trucks, they fit nicely on short wheel base Hornby 4 wheel chassis and a coat of paint and some extras like kd couplers and you have a very cheap NG wagon. Most of there coaches in the range are very toylike, but there is a tram set with a coach that would make a great Wickham PW trolley car if a spud motor was fitted. Some of the engines in the range might have some useful bits, but in all they are a “kit”bashing dream.

    Good luck


  10. Al,
    You’ve made reference to comments about Dave’s latest video, but I’m unable to find them. I’d really like to read them, and perhaps leave one myself. Can you tell me where they are?
    Also, as a fledgling model railroader, I really enjoy and appreciate all the great tips and videos you provide here. Very well done!
    David, in Stormstown, PA.

  11. To ballast my tracks I’ve gone to “Garden Ridge” just like a “JoAnns” craft store and purchased “Decor Sand” for $2.49 in 2 lb bags. Mix the two to the color you wish either light gray or dark gray–mix your “Elmers” white glue with water and a tablespoon of “Dawn” dish soap– then apply where needed. Works well for roads [use less white sand] or buy green sand for your grass or brown for your farm roads. Works well for most scales and is very cost effective.

  12. [ADDED}To ballast my tracks I purchased white sand and black sand then mixed the two to my preferred color. Missed that point in my 1st sentence. “Speed Kills”.

  13. I have found a good inexpensive of laying ballast between tracks Ouse a seed spreader they have different size holes from fine to large it spreads quite easyl william

  14. You can get long drinking straws ( Approx 1000mm long) from some novelty/party $1( Pound) shops. Ps. I’ve been using very fine aquarium gravel for years. Comes in 3 great colours Light grey, dark grey and rusty red.

  15. Thanks for the ballast tips everybody!!!!!

  16. I read a story in model rail road that a guy used kitty litter and his cat tour up a mile of train track. He had to set mouse traps on his lay out with news paper over it to scare his cat from getting up on his lay out. And it worked he had to replace all that track. So DON’T USE KITTY LITTER.

  17. I have used cat litter on two separate layouts and my current one tha tI am building and I run it through a sieve first and get the size I want. After doing the water/alcohol mix and then the water/glue/soap mix, it seals the litter in place and I have tried pouring water on it and the water runs off, so it has worked for me and I mix it with hobby sand from Hobby Lobby and it looks amazing. Larger pieces along the tracks and work up the sides to the rails and between the rails with the smaller stone. It looks good and does not bother any of the locos or rolling stock. I might have to try the aquarium stone that sounds good too. Happy modeling to all

  18. As always there are many, many ideas available on your site! Thank you very much any everyone who has contributed ideas. Relatively new to this, my grandson and I have learned lots of “how-to”. Also, Dave and his first response video to the crash site was very entertaining! Trainman

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