Do you know how this site started all those years ago?
I just began publishing the questions and tips folk emailed in, because you won’t get any better answer to a problem than the ‘collective wisdom’.
And then the site just grew and grew…
So I thought it would be nice to get back to grass roots for a post or two!
I am sorry that I don’t have much in the way of tips as I don’t do any modelling at all and actually never have done.
However, a nearby friend suggests a really clever tip which I am more than happy to send along the line to anyone who wishes to give it a go.
The idea is in itself very simple. A discarded grape twig converts very neatly into a scale tree with little to add but using much ingenuity. I have no idea if this is a generally shared concept but it sounds fine to me and avoids putting said organic leftover into a food waste bin.
Can it be categorised as food waste?
The other practical side of modelling coaches is glazing for the windows.
Seasonal moments throughout the calendar produce much plastic packaging, so much of which gets thrown away or on a good day, recycled.
As clear plastic seems to be ‘gauge free’, it can be used over and over again in so many ways.
I put some by from time to time like a sort of squirrel, in the hope that I might use it in a practical setting.
One can but hope.
Greetings from myself here in /on a very windswept tiny island.
“Don’t get into model trains if you are married.
“30 years in boxes and decided to set up my HO for the grand kids. Boy has it been a fun project.
For those looking for a great 4×8 layout, I highly recommend the Atlas “Yardmaster” layout. Six switches, 7 zones, two sidings, a bypass and a figure 8. I put a 15″ radius trolley circle in the middle of one of the figure 8 circles to boot.
Its a lot of fun to operate and with a high level of focus, I can run two trains at once plus the trolley.
Landscaping has been fun as well. Currently using some of my old plasticville buildings which I will probably upgrade at some point. I upgraded all my light posts from incandescent bulbs to both 3mm and 5mm LED lights. (don’t forget to use resistors) and I run them at 5 volts off an old computer power supply. For building lighting I bought 12 volt multicolor LED strip lights, cut them into 3 LED sets and wired them into the computer power supply… lots of soldering which I’ve become fairly proficient at.
For the control panel, I made a track layout pattern onto a piece of 1/4″ plexiglass painted gloss black, and wired in directional indicator LED’s controlled by DPDT momentary micro switches located where the turnouts are (green for straight, red for turnout) One side of the DPDT switch controls the AC for the turnout, the other for the DC LED red and green. It looks and works super.
For streets/roads I used rubber sheeting left over from an outdoor pond I built a few years ago. It looks just like asphalt and has some thickness to it to raise it above the surface(unlike paint.). My biggest challenge moving forward will be to upgrade to the knuckle couplers as I currently have all horn hook couplers. Most of my rolling stock is of the cheap variety,(30 to 50 years old) and it does not look like I can switch them out. I’ve been working on the layout for two months and the grandkids will be in for Christmas in a few days…can’t wait to share it with them.
Just a note to say how much I enjoy the messages you send out, although every one of them is way beyond me. I am a mere beginner, although I am 73 years old! Right now, I’m cursing (and not under my breath!) Bachmann’s turnouts and the seeming inability of one’s tracks in the turnouts and those “regular” tracks not meshing. Seems that the track in the turnout is just a shade higher than the other tracks, and so far, I have not been able to use a single turnout for that reason. From the reading I’ve been doing, it seems like I ought to try out an Atlas turnout and see if it would be compatible to what I already have (HO, Eze-track (spelling?!) Well, enough for now. Thanks again, and I drool each time I have a look at the wonderful layouts your readers share.
“Hi Al, I have no model train tips to share. Recently picked up childhood trains and for the first time in 60 years I have a place for permanent set up. Set is from the early 50s. Lionel 027 with some very cool working cars, switches, coal ramp, steam loco etc. Have never done scenery or had a smooth working setup. KW Transformer needs new cord, Engine needs cleaning etc. I’m excited about learning from the beginning. Zero knowledge, but if I had to give a modeling tip…?….Whatever you do, decide, attempt enjoy and have a good time!! The most important thing is does it give you and others joy.
“Well this is pretty basic but consider I am for all practical purposes a newbee returning to the hobby a half of century after enjoying it as a kid.
I was working on Ballast on some curved track and didn’t want to have too much fall off roadbed onto finished landscape terrain. Thinking I needed something besides my hand to catch the overspill I saw a scrap from a curved a bridge I was making. The outer, discarded radius from the bridge proved to be a good catcher of the ballast overflow as it snuggled right up against the track.
“I’ve been working with layouts around 30or so years.
The savings for ground cover and even a bit of therapy is using white silica sand and latex paint. The silica sand isn’t that expensive and the latex paint is usually around the basement or garage.
You may also by it in smaller cans at the hardware, or big box stores.
Using a polished metal bowl with 3″ to 4″ sides large enough to hold 18 Oz. of warm water and a glob of latex paint.
Colors can be mixed to just about any choice.. A GLOB of paint is approximately 4 OZ .
Place the paint into the container.
Then using a 9 OZ cup of hot water pour into the container which has the paint glob.
Begin mixing the paint and water together using a good 3″ paint brush. When the mixture is mixed to your satisfaction, you should pour the second cup of hot water into the container and mix again.
The painted water is ready for the white silica sand to be poured in. Do this with a small scoop. To make it less messy begin placing the paint around the inside edges first. This will keep the painted water inside the container.
When you get to the middle of the container and the sand is painted, Gently tap the container on a hard surface (concrete). The painted water will come to the surface for you to place more sand on. Do this as many times as it takes until the product begins flaking.
When completed place a large piece of metal foil on an out of way table and dump the sand onto the foil. Use a Cabinet chime or wedge and chop the sand to leave more of the product exposed to the air. The chopping should be done at two day intervals until completely dry.
The last step is to screen the product. Using a 2′ x 3′ cardboard box, a large plastic bag and a window screen.
Place the box into the large plastic bag and push the bag down into the box. Place the window screen over the box with the plastic bag already inside. Then you rub the product through the screen slowly. You’ll have some larger pieces which won’t get screened, The larger pieces can be used as stones further on down the road.
Not to worry if the product seems a bit damp after 4 days. Just pour the product into a one gallon kitchen bag, leaving the top of the bag open.
REMEMBER; THE SILICA SAND IS NOW PAINTED SAND .
Always use the darker painted sand first (blacks, browns, grays)..
Then the middle colors (dark greens, blues, light reds etc.)
Then the lighter colors HIGHTLITES. (Light greens, tans, off white, yellows and white)
In the end you’ll be paying 20 cents a pound compared what ever the market is charging.
There you go. Some wonderful tips and some wonderful description of the hobby. Hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.
Lastly, Dangerous Dave has been in touch again (I’m sure he must never sleep):
“Hi Al , i see there was a request for a video showing my trains going from lower level to the upper level , well I have produced a short video showing it… the new class 47 looks good going the rounds on lower and upper level
Love this time of year for the ebay cheat sheet.