“Go the extra distance to make sure your trackwork and electricals are right!!
My biggest pet peeve is electrical and track problems. Nothing disappoints so quickly as derailments and stalls. I check my trackwork several times to make sure the gauge is correct, there are no kinks, and the railtops are smooth, as well as the inside edges where the wheels ride.
I solder all my rail joints, then use miniature files to make sure everything is smooth. I solder electrical wires to the track every yard or so. Since the layout I am building now (for my grandson) is DC and has no switches (he’s six), I wanted to make sure there was plenty of power available. I used a main bus wire, then used scotch-loks to tie the sections together. So far, it works. Still working on scenery before I give him the layout.
Soldering takes some practice. I melted a lot of ties and re-soldered several connections before I got the hang of it.
This layout is built durable, since when my grandson outgrows it (and hopefully builds a bigger and better one with my help) it will go to other small children in the family.” — Arthur.
“Old capacitors, from dead electronics, make excellent power-pole transformers. Simply snip them off a circuit board, paint them flat black, glue them to the power poles in whatever arrangement you need, and solder little pieces of copper wire to the ends and bend those to join up with the wires on top.” — Connor.
“Old scrubbing brushes can be used for scenery as well.
The bristles can be used to make long grass and weeds, you can paint them green or use just as they are.
All you need to do is use PVA glue to glue them where you want them.” — Paul
“Acoustic ceiling tiles ( the type used in commercial buildings) when broken (not cut) and stained
make good rock cliffs.” – Clay and Denise
“On the use of Windscreen Wiper Blades, I find that the plastic back
(spine) makes great Corrugated Roofing ridges (apex), just the right angle (pitch) and roofing materials just fit neatly into the slot.
Just have to degloss the plastic before painting though.” – Wayne, New Zealand
“When using a 50/50 mixture of elmer’s glue and water….a few drops of liquid dish soup helps to break the surface tension of the glue and prevents the ballast glue from bubbling up.” – CC.
“Hi Al.Minus the firestack im done with the lumber cabin made of popsicle sticks.I tryed a few spray paints with disaster.Not good for styrofoam.Latex worked for me with styrofoam.choose green easier.payed 20$ here for the paint.
Mostly done my popcicle lumber cabin with beds table light and stove.may shingle the roof.and done this batch of insulators i got.300 color of my choice insulators for under $5 used popcicle sticks cut for the cross beam.a streight pin for the bolt.radio capacitor for transformer.i will send a picture of the parts and kit you need to make these poles. Merry Christmas everyone.
oh a quick story.I got me a new 42 inch helecopter.yesterday there was no snow in canada so i desided to fly it.well got it stuck up in a tree 50 feet.and was going to get it.well wokeup this morning to a ton of snow and no way of getting it down till spring. darnit. ” — Kim
“Here is a tip for streets.
I use Liquitex Acrylic Texture Gel with Ceramic Stucco with a small amount of black acrylic paint. I mix it a smooth ceramic tile and then apply it as needed. The paint amount and color depends on how dark or light ou would like the road to be. I’ve even made some a bit darker. After adding applying it looks like repair work was done.” – Jon
“I like to use liquid weld on buildings when I am building them. It dries very quickly but not to quickly, Can be bought at most Hobby stores, Thanks Tim”
“For barriers on highways, I use Plastruct to build them. I take one strip which is an inch & half thick, and glue it to a narrower strip, which is half an inch thick. Then I pin them in place, while I finish the highway design. When I lay the highway, I cover over the base of the barrier with my roadway material; following that with coloring and weathering, so that, when done, the barriers look right for the road.
This same process can be used to build retaining walls, and any sort of wall where you may need to have support to prevent a hill from sliding across your tracks and roads.” – Deranged Dragon 99
Course, I’m biased, but an excellent portion of tips. Thanks everyone.
Don’t forget the ‘ebay cheat sheet’ to save your dollars. Thanks for all the comments on it.