Hints, tips, backshop tricks - Post 'em here.

Folks:
I don't know why I haven't thought of this before. Remember the MR "Kinks" feature? This is the perfect place to do something like
that!
So if you have any cheap and maybe unique little ideas for the rest of us (similar to what the Kinks feature would have run, or to the ideas from "764 Hints"), post 'em here. I'll start off.
**
-You can clean truck wheels easily by removing the truck, and running it down a piece of scrap track with a solvent-soaked Q-tip held against a wheel tread. Press firmly so the wheels don't slip. For very badly-gummed wheels use a wood or plastic scraper. This doesn't actually take three hands to do, just a bit of practice.
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track, a wet basement, and some plans.
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

[snip wheel cleaning kink]
Use gun blueing solution to blacken diecast car frames or other diecast parts. Clean the frames with soap/water and alcohol first, just as you would for painting. Makes a nice black finish, very good as a base for paint. Same as but cheaper than the stuff packaged for hobby use.
--


Wolf

"Don't believe everything you think." (Maxine)
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[snip Wolf's excellent gun-bluing kink]
Here's another:
-Storage trailers are common near modern industries or stores that need more space. Weather a model trailer, adding some lettering and a phone number, and place it on your layout, perhaps adding a wood platform.
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track, a wet basement, and some plans.
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu spake thus:

Here's one: next time you're looking for vehicles for your layout, forget the expensive hobby-shop ones for a change and instead look at the toy aisle at your local big-box retailer. I've found lots of HO-scale (close enough, anyhow) cars, trucks and buses there, not to mention equipment like front-end loaders. A little touchup with a file, a little paint, and you've got a pretty good looking vehicle for less than $2.
--
I can't remember where I read it, but in one of the non-official
histories of WP it was revealed that in some proto-version, straight
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

The Hot Wheels are closer to S than HO scale. They work for foreground models, but they were too big to serve as loads for an Accurail tri level auto rack car. They just would not fit. I usually check the toy aisle when I shop WallyMart, but it's been a long time since I saw anything that was really HO in size.
David Starr
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David Starr wrote:

DS:
Hot Wheels and other die-cast cars are made to 'box scale'...whatever scale fits. Generally this makes the autos and light trucks very close indeed to 1:64, S scale, but highway trucks and much construction equipment is generally quite near HO scale. Trailers tend to be undersized, but are sometimes close to smaller, older prototypes. A few HW vehicles like the mining dump truck are very small scales indeed...perhaps close enough to work with N.
Another tip: Give your layout shrubbery. Slice Scotchbrite pads into strips, coat three sides in glue, and cover in fine ground foam. If your landscapers have not been doing their job, roughly reshape and cut away bits of the pad-strips for less neat hedges. If they're really off, spray the pad smoky gray, splay out the top, and cover only that with foam, for a 'badly hacked pruning job' look. Add some knights who say, "Ni!"
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track and some plans.
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Any who uses Hot Wheels on a layout is not a modeler. That is a toy user.

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote in

To each their own... I used hot wheels on my layout for years after I changed from "playing with a train set" to being a model railroader. The cars are close enough to scale that it's not too far of a stretch to think a HO scale person would drive the car.
Now that I've found a small supply of 1:87 scale cars at Walmart (for about $3 a piece) I've got almost all the hot wheels off the layout because that does ruin the suspension of disbelief. (The trucks, OTOH, stay.)
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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in
Have you found older prototype autos? My visits to Walmart have led to nothing before the '90s in approximate HO scale. Thank you.
Jerry
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*snip*

They're mostly pre-90's. I believe they're "Model Master" cars, they state 1:87 on the package and are in clear plastic cases with a cardboard wrapping. The package for the HO ones is usually black. They'll be on the shelf, so look down when you look next.
There's also John Deere tractors in 1:87 scale. I found some on clearance and chained them to some flat cars.
Good Luck!
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

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Jerry wrote:

J:
They're out there. Lately there has been a 5-auto set, and I've also seen them individually packed. Big Lots stores, by the way, have plastic military trucks packed in 99-cent three-packs that are quite close to scale, and can be used.
Another tip- for cheap bulbs to light your buildings with, cut apart a malfunctioning Christmas tree miniature light set. (you know, the one with the burned out bulb you can't track down). The 25-light type's bulbs seem to work best on 12 v, but you can adjust the lighting voltage to suit other sizes. Not only are these bulbs a huge bargain, their sockets make them easily replaceable. Just drill a hole in the tabletop and glue the socket in, with the wires sticking below the layout. I used to have a city lit with nothing but these. White lights are of course best, but you can scrape or sand the dye from the colored lights.
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track and some plans.
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Using 12v really over stresses the blubs. 110vac/25 comes out to 4.4 volts each. How long do they last for you?
Gerald wrote:
"Another tip- for cheap bulbs to light your buildings with, cut apart a malfunctioning Christmas tree miniature light set. (you know, the one with the burned out bulb you can't track down). The 25-light type's bulbs seem to work best on 12 v, but you can adjust the lighting voltage to suit other sizes. Not only are these bulbs a huge bargain, their sockets make them easily replaceable. Just drill a hole in the tabletop and glue the socket in, with the wires sticking below the layout. I used to have a city lit with nothing but these. White lights are of course best, but you can scrape or sand the dye from the colored lights.
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snipped-for-privacy@bigfoot.com wrote:

Nycf:
Hmm. Actually, it's been a few years since I used this idea, but ISTR the sets I was using were connected in two loops (three wires), so the voltage per bulb would be 120/12 or 10v...still running them over voltage. Now that I think of it, I was probably powering the lights with an old Bachmann trainset power pack's variable DC output, adjusted for brightness, and I may have connected two or more parallel sets of lamps in series. Yes, series connections must have been involved...because I remember replacing one building's light with a 'blinker' bulb and watching half the town flash on and off. :D
Another tip: Look for scale trees when you are weeding the garden. Trimmed and painted green, goldenrod has been used by a lot of modelers for scale forests. You can bulk up the trunk by wrapping it with tape, then painting it gray.
Cordially yours: Gerard P. President, a box of track and some L-girders.
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<pawlowski wrote

Another tree option, if you are a gardening type (I'm not, but I will if I have to), is grow your own. The type that Woodland Scenics produce their "fine-leaf foliage" from is very similar to the plant Teloxys Aristata (if it isn't actually Teloxys Aristata). Of course you have to dip in glue and add foliage with a suitable sawdust/ground foam/whatever.
I bought some seeds a year ago, planted them in April and if I remember right the crop was ready about September or so. My plants were a little stunted cause I transplanted them quite late, but I wanted some smaller trees too, so this was good...
And you get a lot of trees this way.
Ivor
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Ivor wrote:

Is there a common "garden variety" name for Teloxys Aristata? I gotta feeling that the local Home Depot isn't going to know that name. I'm putting in some garden this spring (after the snow melts out) and I might try growing some if I could find the seeds.
David Starr
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"David Starr" wrote

I believe it is also called Sea Foam and I have heard that florists sometimes use it, but there is also another plant that I've seen called Sea Foam, so both names would probably be necessary. You might need to go to (or contact on the internet) a specialist seed merchant - I got mine from Chiltern Seeds here in the UK, but I'm sure they must be available in the US as well - apparently the plant is some sort of tumbleweed from Mongolia if I remember correctly, but don't quote me on that...
Ivor
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Rats! You stole my tip! I suffered from a fairly serious allergy to them as a kid, it's nice to get some payback.
snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

--
Hank Murray
Quincy, IL
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Why would we put toys instead of models on our layouts?
No thank you I gave this up when I was young and had no money.
--

Steve


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Because I can buy them at Wally world for $1.97 to $5.99:-) 1/97 scale is a plus:-)
Donald
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