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Tips, Tricks and

Techniques Page 2




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Modeling Tips

Modeling Tips Pg. 2

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Weathering Your Models

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Trackside Photos

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MOW Photos.

Video Files


Most HO couplers in use today are based on the Kadee # 5, regardless of freight car or locomotive manufacturer. This gage allows you to check for correct height of all couplers, regardless of coupler manufacturer. Handiest item you'll ever own... A Must for the serious model railroader.   Click Image for "How To Use"



NMRA Track Standards Gage ~

Click Image at left to Enlarge. An Absolute Must if you want trouble free operation ! Use to check for correct wheel spacing and correct wheel contour. Click Here to learn about it's many other uses.



Number (Twist) Drills ~
Generally drill bits fall into two categories, 1/16" and larger (the type that fit in your 1/2" electric drill), and Twist Drills
(# 1 thru # 80 drill chart) for use in a pin vise or Dremel tool. Each size range are pretty much necessary for constructing and maintaining a model railroad layout. Twist drills are essential for working on, building, or modifying just about any hobby project.



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Tip Logo.


Beginner Logo.

Beginning Modeler? 


DPM HO Building Kit..

Follow the step-by-step

process for completing this inexpensive

DPM HO scale

model building kit.




Diorama 101

Techniques that apply to just about any type of scene modeling.


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Barn with Sign.

Aged Signs For Your Buildings.


Have you seen modelers with great looking paper signs that look like they came out of magazines from fifty years ago or so?

Well, now you can have the same kind of signs with just a little bit of hunting and some elbow

grease. The first thing you need to do is to look through some antique magazines and look for advertisements that offer reproductions of old signs. They will often have little pictures of some of the signs they offer. Just what you wanted. Not the one to order, just the one in the advertisement! Carefully cut out the picture in the advertisement with a bit of extra material on the side.


The two search results images, shown below, may be downloaded and copied for use on your

model railroad buildings. If you have an image editing program, you can reduce the various

images to any size needed for your particular layout scale.


Little tricks like these can help make the difference between a good display and a great one. Come up with some of your own and share with others!

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Internet Image Search Results.

Click Either Image to Enlarge & View or Save.

Full Size = 688.W by 937.H

Full Size = 368.W by 500.H

More Resources for Sign Images

1950's Magazine advertising, 1950's Barn Ads,

Burma Shave signs, 1950's Billboard Ads,

1980's Magazine advertising.

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Making A Waterfall.

This scenic modeling tip is

applicable to diorama building

or model railroading.

to view this video. Courtesy: Woodland Scenics.

The following FLV file can be viewed or saved by clicking FLV icon.

Normal Quality, size: 9.3Mb, runtime: 1:03 minutes

If you don't have an FLV player, Click to download

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Window Awning.

Detailing Tips

You can customize (and add depth) to almost any wall surface by providing windows with overhanging awnings.


Rusted Hopper.

Weathering Tips

and Techniques.


Weathered Fairbanks Morse H44.


Image To


Weathered FM H10-44.

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Tamiya Paints.

Tamiya Paint Ref Chart



Looking for aircraft insignia

information for a

Particular Country?



We Invite You to submit your hobby tips and tricks for inclusion here.

Email Us with your Modeling / Hobby Tip or Technique Today!


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HO Scale Conversion Factors


  • HO is 1:87 real size - Approximately 1/8" = 1 foot

  • 3.5mm = 1 ft. in HO (1mm = .03937 in.)  That's a tad over 1/32"

  • 1 ft. or 12" in HO scale = .1378 in (decimal equiv. in thousandths)

  • Therefore 1 scale in. = .01148 (decimal equiv. in thousandths)


Just what good is the above information ?  Well, Let's say you want

to replace the wheel sets on a freight car or diesel locomotive, and

are unsure as to the scale size or diameter of the current wheel.


To get an accurate measurement of the wheels you are replacing, you

should have use a dial caliper or micrometer, in a pinch you can use a

quality HO scale ruler that's graduated in scale inches, usually at

one end of the scale, such as General's HO Scale # 1251.

General's MG-JDC6 Dial Caliper. [click image to enlarge]


General's 12" HO Scale Ruler # 1251



** HO Conversion Factor Examples **


Millimeters to Thousandths to Scale Inches

1mm = .03937

3.5mm = .1378 thousandths (12" scale)
1" scale = .01148 thousandths

12" = 3.5 x .03937 or .1378 thousandths



Example #1:
.383 divided by .03937 = 9.7282194mm
9.7282194 x 3.5 = 34.049" scale inches

Example #2:
.375 divided by .03937 = 9.525019mm
9.5250 x 3.5 = 33.33757" scale inches

Example #3:
.3712 divided by .03937 = 9.4284mm
9.5250 x 3.5 = 32.99" scale inches

or - basically 33" scale inches



Working Backwards: Wheel Diameters

Example # 1:
48" wheels >> 48 x .01148 = .551 thousandths


Example # 2:
42" wheels >> 42 x .01148 = .482 thousandths

Example # 3:
36" wheels >> 36 x .01148 = .413 thousandths

Example # 4:
33" wheels >> 33 x .01148 = .379 thousandths


NMRA RP-25 Wheel Contour


In the examples above, the diameter

shown in thousandths (i.e. - .379 diameter) is

ideally located at the R1 point on the wheel.


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The Essential. . .


Modeler's Toolbox

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