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Tips, Tricks and

Techniques Page 1

This page contains ideas on how you can accomplish some modeling

 tasks easier and with professional looking results.




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Modeling Tips

Modeling Tips Pg. 2

Modeling Resources

Looks Like Wood

Weathering Your Models

Camouflage Painting

Realistic Trackwork

Modeler's Tool Box

Diorama 101

Making A Waterfall

Trackside Photos

Train Photo Gallery

MOW Photos.

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Unsure How To Store Small Bottles of Opened Hobby Paint ? ?

After your initial use of a bottle of hobby model paint, add 3 sling-shot BB's to the bottle, cut a 1" sq. piece of Saran Wrap and place it over the bottle top before replacing and tightening the cap. The paint won't form a crust over the bottle neck the next time you shake it up, and the BB's act as a built-in shaker stirring method. Just replace the Saran Wrap each time you use that bottle of paint. Submitted by S. Anderson


Wood Texture.

Making Plastic Look Like Wood.


"Keeping Crazy Glue in the freezer will extent working time when used"


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.


Take the picture and turn it face side down and with a little bit of sanding rough up the edges a bit. Next take some white glue and mix it 50/50 with water. Apply a thin layer on the back of your sign. Next you can place it on the building wherever you want it. Let it dry completely and then dust it with a little bit of chalk dust to make it appear faded. To make it look like it is worn just take a bit of sand paper and very lightly sand the face.


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!  Courtesy: Victor Epand


Using an airbrush to paint your models?  Looking for a more consistent, even finish?

Try this simple technique...  Use a Lazy-Susan!

Find an old wooden lazy-susan (rummage sale, 2nd hand resale shop, basement or attic, etc.) preferably 12 inches round with ball-bearings between the base and top. I usually cover the top with a couple of layers of newspaper (keeps the top clean and is easily replaceable), trimmed to the diameter of the top, before starting a new paint project. When I've reached the point where I'm ready to airbrush my model, I use several short pieces of double-sided Scotch tape (fold over the end of the tape about 1/8" - makes it easy to pull off when done airbrushing) to hold the model to the center of the covered lazy-susan. As you airbrush your model, simply rotate the lazy-susan with your free hand, and enjoy finding that you end up with a more consistent finish. Works for me, give it a try and see for yourself !  Submitted by  G. Kreinus - IPMS Member


Weathering Your Models

with Pastels


Camouflage Painting Tips and Techniques that apply to almost

any type of military model.


Successful Electrical Wire Soldering.

Soldering Iron.

You'll find the act of soldering takes less time than it takes to read these instructions! First you must tin the soldering iron, then tin the wire.


* BE CAREFUL !!  A soldering iron can cause burns or start fires if left unattended.

* CLEAN the tip of the cold soldering iron with a small file.

* HEAT the iron and apply flux. Apply a small amount of solder to the iron to cover the tip. (This procedure is called tinning.)

* TWIST the ends of each stranded wire to be soldered, so no wires stick out. If the wire is not pre-tinned, proceed to tin the wire by dipping the ends into the flux paste and touch them with the tinned tip of the soldering iron. The hot solder will flow from the iron to the wire. Copper wire will take on a silvery clean as the solder flows.

* REMOVE the heat and let cool. The wires are now tinned. (If you use pre-tinned wire, this step is not necessary.)

* CLEAN the tip of the hot iron with the damp sponge and re-tin. When cool to the touch, take the two wires to be joined and lay them side by side in your hand with the ends even. Twist the tinned ends together as tightly as possible.

* DIP the twisted ends into the flux paste. Touch the hot tinned iron to the twisted wires until the solder flows and unites the wires. You may need to apply more solder.

* REMOVE the heat and let cool. Don't move the wires until the solder solidifies, usually after several seconds.

* FOLD the joined wires back on themselves and cover with electrical tape.

* UNPLUG the soldering iron upon completion of soldering.


The plastic insulation covering the metal wires serves at least two purposes. Insulation prevents bare wires from touching and causing a short circuit and the different colors available aid in identification of the wire, which makes the job of wiring easier. For example, wire covered in black insulation can be used for the common (c) connections while green insulation can denote connections to the control (gapped) rail, etc.


Insulation must be removed from portions of the wire prior to installation. Wire strippers in various sizes are commercially available and are the easiest way to remove insulation. Another way to strip wire is by using wire cutters. Be careful to cut only the insulation and not through the wire

itself. This method may take practice to perfect. (Courtesy of Atlas Model Railroad Products)


Weighting Your Rolling Stock


Ballast Renewal.

Creating Realistic Trackwork:


As one of the things that sticks out the most, your track can draw anyone's eye rather quickly. As such you should make sure that your tracks look realistic enough that they can stand up to scrutiny whether you train is on them or not.

Even if your train is in the shop people will still notice well laid out trackwork.


One of the things that can help set your track apart is ballast. Ballast is the gravel or broken stone that railroad companies laid on the railroad beds to provide stability for their trains. In model scale gravel would be impossible to use do to the size difference. As an acceptable alternative you might consider using colored sand. It can perfectly emulate ballast without having to try to color it as most sand comes in a wide variety of colors.


Sand makes a terrific alternative to traditional ballast material for a few different reasons.

The first is cost. While gravel ballast can be quite costly sand is relatively cheap and easily available. It is also available in many different levels of coarseness which also makes it

perfect for emulating gravel. Typically you will have to buy sand in a minimum amount

which is usually about a twenty five pound bag but you will go through this much faster

than you would realized. One note about safety. Some sand does contain metal particles. These particles can make the sand a good conductor. Take a magnet along with you and

if any of the material sticks to it then avoid that particular type.

About the Author: 

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks.

Reprint Courtesy:


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Mark Your Calendar for . . .

Trainfest 2016, November 12th & 13th.

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More Tips & Techniques Continued On PAGE 2

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