Tips And Tricks

Modeling Tips and Tricks

  • Rick Cobb's Tip: Weathering Powders (5/1/16)
  • Rick Cobb's Tip: Tools that make modeling easier (3/31/16)
  • Rick Cobb's Tip: Paint brushes (3/25/16)
  • Rick Cobb's Tip: Paint, old and new (3/25/16)
  • Bob Ferguson's Tip: 2015 MCR Convention Decals (5/21/15)
  • Toni Puccini's Tip: Modeling clouds in 3D (2/2/12)
    • From the February 2012 Division 9 Newsletter
  • Ken Stroebel's Tip: Storing magazines (1/30/12)
    • From the February 2012 Division 5 Newsletter
  • Bob Lawson's Tip: Scratchbuilding structures (12/4/11)
    • Handout from a clinic by Bob Lawson and Fred Plymale
  • Brian Jones' Tip: Scale wood size conversions (11/29/11)
    • The [linked] conversion chart is a quick reference for scaling standard wood strips to O, HO, N and S. To convert from standard wood sizes to your scale select the needed scale, locate the size of strip wood in thickness and width. To the right is the equivalent Scale Thickness and Scale Width. For example, to convert 3/16” x 5/16” Strip Wood to the equivalent  in HO, use the HO Scale Wood (1:87.1) page, locate under “Thickness” 3/16, locate 5/16 to the right of the thickness under "Width". To the right along that row, you will find 16 ¼ and 65 ¼  (or 1’-4 ½” x 5’-5 ¼”), which is the HO Scale Thickness and Width of the strip.

  • Pete Birdsong's Tip: Handy Converter (11/07/11)
    • Handy converter - the best conversion tool I've found is Handy Converter, a $19.95  software package from Stan's Trains. Too many features to list here, but click the link to check it out.
  • Stew Winstandley's Tip: Scale-to-scale conversion chart (11/07/11)
    • The linked conversion chart is a quick reference for changing scales. To convert from one scale to another, look up the scale you are at across the top and read down until the row is the scale you want. This is your multiplier. For example, to convert measurements taken from an S scale drawing to N scale look across the top row for S and down to the N row to get 0.400. Multiply the S dimension by 0.4 to get the N scale measurement. Read the chart as: FROM [top row] TO [left column]
  • Randy Coffman's Tip: Manual uncoupling (11/03/11)
    • Manually uncoupling of rolling stock always seems be a challenge for me with none of the special tools ever working very well.  After an operating session one day I decided to look into the problem.  I spent an entire day trying this and that and making trips to the shop to construct new gadgets ..... none of which really worked well.  Near the end of the day, almost by accident, I tried a very small, size #00, Phillips jewelers screwdriver and it was like the couplers almost jumped apart.  WOW!  I tested it on various cars with various manufactures couplers and it seemed to consistently work well.  I then tipped the guys at Pete's next OPs session and everyone seemed pleased with the results.
      The trick is to put just the very tip right in the middle between the hooks on the knuckles and gently rotate clockwise.  The spines on the tip gently rotate the hooks past each other and separate the couplers.  If the tip is pushed too far into the couplers they jam on each other and don't open as well.
      Usually a size #00 Phillips screwdriver will be the smallest one in a set and not all sets have one that small.  Today I was in Hobbytown USA and picked up a "Wiha" precision #00 by itself for $5.49.  It was the last one but I'm sure they will get more.
  • Tom Miller's Tip: Scenery Tip: Sedum (8/27/11)
    • Sedum from the fall garden is great  for modeling  trees for one's model railroad  layout scenery. I cut the sedum at the end of the season and let it dry.  When dry, the sedum plants are brittle. So I  dip the sedum cuttings in a mixture of white glue and water. I have been using a 1:3 ratio with one part glue to three  parts water. The proportions are not critical. You just want a drippy solution that will cover the stalks and flowers of the sedum. I have extra sedum from my garden this year if any NMRA MCR members would like some.
  • Brian Jones' Tip: Be active in the division (8/23/11)
    • My Tip is to Get Active in the Division, get to know the members, spend time with them. The modeling and general railroad knowledge of these guys is enormous and freely given. Next time an opportunity arises to attend a convention, go on a weekend road trip, or join an operating group, JUMP at the chance. You will not regret it.
  • Tom Miller's Tip: Styrofoam scenery base (8/23/11)
    • In creating a scenic view of trees and wooded area, use a rugged Styrofoam base with a layer of painted green, brown and black cloth covering and finish with a mixture of trees, bushes, stone and brush that include mixed green wire foliage branches, dark  and light green lichen foam bulk,green fiber clusters some deciduous trees and trees that have died. Spread some green blended tufts.  Adjust for spring, summer, autumn or winter settings.
  • Bill Paulsell's Tip: Toothpicks (7/18/11)
    • When building structures I often apply glue with a toothpick or a straight pin.  Where do you put the glue?

      At a convention clinic some recommended turning a small glass upside down and putting a little glue on the bottom.  Then you can pick it up with a pin or whatever you want to use and apply it where you need it.  I use an old orange juice glass.  The presenter actually suggested a shot glass. Periodically, I clean the glass with a little acetone.
  • Orville Boes' Tip: Avoid gluing ballast (6/20/11)
    • Avoid gluing your ballast.  I would never do it again on my HO railroad. Because, when one wants to make a change there are problems.

      I did not glue my ballast on my O Scale railroad and have no problem with it blowing away and my track is just spiked down making it easy to make a change if desired.  I use Kitty Litter and have no trouble with it moving around either.

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