post your model RR tips........

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Well-Known Member
Here's a few tips regarding painting. I have a lot of structures and remembering what colors I used would be impossible. So I write down the colors on the model's instruction sheet and file it away in a file cabinet in the train shed. Useful when touching up is needed or when another forum member asks what color I used after I post a picture months or years later.
The second tip is regarding oil-based paints. I use an orange high-liter to highlight the name of the color on the bottle to remind me to use thinner to clean the brush instead of water.
Lastly, I use a lot of unpainted figures and keep a handful at the workbench and paint a little every time I have a bottle of paint open for other things.
I have used FELS-NAPHTHA Soap after cleaning out paint brushes after they have been sitting in paint thinner / turpentine for a few hours. I am not sure if the newer version would work equally well.

BCK RR Aka Tom
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Here are my tips
1. Try to develop some kind of focus, be it a fictional or real shortline, mainline ect. Doing the "shotgun" approach of just buying anything and everything you like, can make it hard to build a layout. Such has having lots of eastern railroad motive power but you want to model the desert southwest.
2. If you are enticed with brass models(talking about motive power not rolling stock) make sure to discuss any model with a seasoned brass person before you drop the $$. As most all importers/builders had duds and one bad experience can spoil the whole thing. Brass can and many do run really well.
3. Take a hard look at the "less = more" approach. For example, instead of a fleet of diesels(or steamers) and modeling a class one railroad. Go with a couple really nice models such as brass or the rivet counter series from Scale Trains and model a small shortline. By keeping layout size smaller and less motive power. One can maximize funds into really nice models and super detailing the layout. Where as a much larger layout can quickly become overwhelming, leading to burnout or more arm chair railroading instead of layout building and running trains.
4. Get the mainline up and running as soon as possible. The ability to run trains will help keep motivation to do more high. I always enjoyed having a short freight running while working on my layouts. You can always go back and "cut in" turnouts and such if need be.
5. And finally, as you start building, allow your layout and theme to evolve. I planned to/started to model the NYS&W Utica branch, bought engines to suit, but as i started to pick up buildings that I liked, my plan has more evolved into a grain hauling shortline(much line the one I railfanned in my teens). Unsure what I will do with the pair of NYS&W Alcos just yet as I still like them. I maybe able to do a "dual theme" line by carefully selecting the areas on the NYS&W that I model as a few pics I have found look much like where I live in Indiana vs New York state were that line is. Mike Aspie.
1 - On cracked, broken plastic jewel cases..

One of my tricks with those Clear Plastic JEWEL CASES which are cracked, broken. I use clear packing tape many times to repair jewel cases, make sure the tape is TIGHT as one can get it to wrap around both parts outside as to place the cut ends on the inside of the Jewel Case ..all the way down the side inside only! After that one can insert the Plastic Cradle or Foam Padding.

2- Patching :

I use a printed out 8 1/2 x11 sheet of paper with my Railway Initials on it in white with a colored background , I then cut and ELMERS GLUE the printed patch to the area, if I am not in a hurry I use whatever paint color I have on hand after masking around the selected area of course the paint has to be Flat, I use a artists paint brush for such after area is dry I either use Decals , Dry transfers.

3- For Non working ditch light I use Clear Plastic Sprue’s attaching them with a TesTors glue. Yes, those Old little orange tubes of glue or the blue tubes which possibly clam to be non toxic.

4 - Touch ups I use a cap from either a Gallon Milk jug , a cap from a 12oz pop bottle or a cap from a Pure Leaf tea bottle .

BCK RR Aka Tom
sawdust for ground cover. i got 2 big garbage bags of it from home depot, for free. it was pretty messy to die it green (i probably wasnt doing it right) but it came out ok. then i tore down my layout and wont be building another one for quite some time - so i threw the excess out...but its definitly a good filler, especially if you have a large layout.

also, tyco and life like "toys" are good for practicing weathering. i find them at just about any yard sale for extra cheap.
I have done the same technique for years. The possible error I have found was to DYE or WASH the sawdust.
PVA your surface. Apply the sawdust in it's natural color. Spray paint with desired primer and top coat colors. Finish off with diluted and tinted Mod-Podge with an application of Wet-Water.
If you wish to get an undercoat of ground color make some ground goop with a combination of sterile sifted sand, & tinted/diluted Mod-Podge. Don't forget to Wet-Water the surface first. Believe me I haven't...I've failed.


Active Member
TOOTH PICKS. Uncouple cars with toothpicks instead of skewers. Skewers are large and lots of time must be put back in a holder. Toothpicks allow you to get your hand close to the car roof giving better leverage. Their sharp point goes into the knuckles very easy. And you can leave them here and there near spurs or yards. You could stain them, too. Very unobtrusive to the scene...


Active Member
I haven't seen this one in the thread yet, and I'm not sure where I read it, but I needed some corrugated roofing material for my project.

Take heavy-duty aluminum foil, cut it to size and then put it on top of an old computer ribbon cable. Rub the foil into the grooves in the cable with your finger and blammo - instant corrugated steel panel. I'll have some photos in my build thread in a few days when I get the panels attached and painted. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.