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Thread: Things I Have Learned

  1. #21
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    Listen to that little voice inside you when you are apprehensive of the next step. Stop and think of a better way to do it. Don't push on because of a schedule you're trying to keep, cause if this goes upside down it'll take twice as long to fix. For the most part, there's no rush unless you are planning to start another type of hobby.

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    Always test your paints and glues on pieces of scraps before applying them to your models.
    (The voices I hear in my head may not be real, but sometimes they come up with a good idea.)

    Have fun.

    Moose

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    Always Label your underlayout wiring, Once the wiring is complete it can be real confusing as to what wire goes to what.

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  7. #24
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    Ok, I'll pop in.

    Do not join Flex track in corners, only in straights. If this is not possible, solder two peices together off the layout, and then install as a long peice.
    If doing DC, learn enough about DCC to make sure you don't do anything that will preclude a switch later.
    If doing DCC, learn enough about DC to make sure you don't do anything that will preclude a switch later.

    Do DCC!!! Higher power going through DCC'ed track makes up for a lot of dirty track. (Z Scalers use DCC almost exclusivly, because thier locos are so light, getting good contact is hard. )

    You've found one here so this is easy. GET A GOOD ONLINE COMMUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN.... THEN PARTICIPATE, don't just lurk.

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    Default Rattle Can Tips

    Most of us paint stuff on our railroads. For those of us who don't have an airbrush system, we are forced to use a spray can. Here's little tip to increase the internal pressure. Run hot tap water and set the can in the water for ten minutes or so. NEVER heat it on the stove or a heater! I learned this when I was a kid, and have yet to have a problem. The paint warms up and flows better, and the increase in pressure breaks up the paint. Always use a primer to give your object an even color playing field.
    Don't use 'self etching' primer as it can do wierd things to plastic. Common name primers work fine. Use dark primer for dark colors, gray and light gray for lighter colors.
    A bent wire coat hanger makes a handy holding cady. You can shape the hook and set a weight on it while drying. Enjoy!

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  11. #26
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    Strategy lessons:
    1. Take your time on foundation elements — benchwork, sub roadbed, and anything else that supports your track. Mistakes here just multiply as you build on top of them.
    2. You don't have to glue track right away. If you can temporarily tack down track, you can test it and make adjustments.
    3. Measure twice cut once.
    4. Think twice and be willing to sit back and miss a schedule if feel you are rushing.
    5. Your first target is to get your trains moving. Next is to do the main line. Don't bother trying to get it all done at once.
    6. Have fun, do it your way, enjoy the journey.
    7. Learn from others.
    8. Design for now and for the future. Keep an audience in mind, too.
    9. Don't make it too complicated.
    10. Get the tools.

    Technical lessons
    1. Most glues work great if you spread them out.
    2. White glue is strong, dries clear, and makes later disassembly easier.
    3. Paperboard has many uses.
    4. Don't let trains fall on the floor and don't think they won't. Make a fence if necessary.
    5. You can cut and reshape rail, ties, and joiners.
    6. Get good at soldering. Practice. Use flux. Be safe. Higher wattage irons work better.
    7. Clean track and loco wheels. Get that corner between the tire and flange or your loco wheel may have trouble picking up power in the straights.
    8. Foam is great, but keep a vacuum cleaner nearby when you cut or sand.
    9. Body mounted couplers seem to reduce accordian effect.
    10. Use gauges.

    Finally -
    Show people pictures — most people love model trains.
    Sit back, watch the wonderful things you have made, and smile!

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  13. #27
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    Calenril, How true. I have to agree with all of your statements.

    Especially taking your time if not quite sure how to proceed.

    Oh, and pictures we do like pictures.
    In fact I believe that being a member of NSN make them mandatory.
    Ken Price
    http://s567.photobucket.com/albums/s...ice/?start=all

    It's around 1996-1999. UP, MP, SP. South Valley Railroad. Some where in the west of Texas. Near San Angelo.
    Started in 2007, Super Empire Builder with radio throttles.

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    I only have a few...

    get a really good drill/screw bit, lowes/cobalt make one that's both a drill/countersink but when you flip it around it has a remove able screw bit...

    Next goto a woodworking store like Rockler as they sell really good lubricated screws with a square drive in side of a Phillips pattern, saves a ton of time.

    last but not least, join an nscale or other local train club, you will get a priceless education!

    matthew

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  16. #29
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    My few cents' worth:

    1. Never, ever, ever assume that, just because the article of clothing you are wearing now does not touch item 'X' it will not do so at some future date; clothes have a 'magnetic' attraction to things on N-scale layouts and can jump several inches without any provocation - especially if the N-scale items are either sticking-up, newly painted, or newly placed'.

    Clothes with a woolly or fluffy texture seem particulalry aflicated with this trait.

    (Based on many years of observation and experience of the phenomenon).

    2. A fault will ALWAYS occur when you have an audience.

    3. When displaying your layout/s at exhibitions, or when your layout is being viewed by a non-railway-modelling person, always assume that the worst thing that can happen will do so, multiply the possibiity by a factor of 10, then be thankful when nothing actually occurs.

    4. At exhibitions always assume that you will have trouble with the points you have installed. They may have worked perfectly at home and immediately prior to the opening of the exhibition-hall doors, but as soon as a member of the public appears they will cause problems.

    Corollary 1. to 4. The size of the 'fault' will be in direct ratio to the size of the viewing-audience: the larger the audience, the greater the problem and its effects on your operating/displaying.

    Corollary 2. to 4. The 'fault' will remain unsolved until the viewing-audience have dispersed, at which point it will mysteriously disappear.
    Last edited by Komata; 29th May 2013 at 12:04 AM.
    Komata "TVR - serving the Northern Taranaki . . . "

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    Just remember: Murphy was an optimist!

    Things are never as easy as you think they will be and always take longer (and cost more).

    I've relayed my track at least 3 times, still trying to get it right. Will keep on until it is right!

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  20. #31
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    I've learned a few interesting things along the way, some have been mentioned but perhaps I have a different view on a few.

    1. I always make sure my track is laid as perfect as it can be before continuing my layout: no dead spots, all turnouts work proper, and all trains stay on the track at all times. If you start ballasting before you have your track proper you are in for some headaches.

    2. There are many ways to paint scenery and a good technique for painting rocks is using small pump spray bottles. Rattle cans and airbrushes are not needed for the process.

    3. Understand the scenery you want to create, as stated all rocks aren't a simple gray, although some can seem to be no more than various shades of gray and white. Different areas of the world will have different colors to the soil, thus varying shades of rock.

    4. Black India Ink works very well for washing rocks and filling in the cracks to create depth. I use 1 cup of water to 1/8 teaspoon of ink. I spray it on with the pump bottle as mentioned above.

    5. I realized I don't care for Woodland Scenic's road bed, it's much too spongy, I will use cork for my extension board.

    6. I also realized I do not care for Woodland Scenic's Light Hydracol, it's much too fragile for my taste.
    C:\Users\debby\Documents\MILW_PCELogo new.jpg

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  22. #32
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    I think the one thing I have learned, is don't OVER DO the layout. I have a small area for a layout, and designed my layout to fit within 42"X72". But in my design program (Railmodeller on a Mac laptop), I threw on way too much track for the size of his layout! LOL I wanted a LARGE yard, I wanted 2 train operation with WIDE SWEEPING TURNS, I wanted NUMEROUS SIDINGS, I wanted MOUNTAINS & DESERTS, I wanted TUNNELS & BRIDGES. My list was endless! All on a 42"X72" layout? NOT very practical. I had problems with over/under clearances, not to mention my grades looked more like a rollercoaster track!

    So, once you design, check it once. Then check how much room you really have to do this layout! Once the reality sets in, take a deep breath, and try in again.

    Good luck!
    N-joy!
    Tred - (USN-Ret.)
    Kansas City, KS
    (Sent using @ 1000Mbps)
    "No matter where you go, there you are!"

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    Don't use Krylon on styrofoam. That goes for lots of other solvent based products.
    Keep laying track =======,
    Mark, from the north woods

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    I would have to say, the one most important thing I have learned is:

    Ballast:
    After hours of preparing and shaping ballast and just about ready to apply the glue ... you know that one last piece if ballast stuck in the turnout? No matter how tempting it may be ... DO NOT blow on it!
    - - There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I like to use that line as a jump rope. ... (unknown)

    Come visit my Layout Build Thread - http://www.nscale.net/forums/showthr...l-Build-Thread

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    Moose learn ... don't build a 10x10 foot multi-level layout for you first ever model railroad project when a much much much smaller layout or dioramas would do for learning mummy (darn auto check) ummm everything about model railroads...
    ~ Moose (Co-founder of the Mt. Tahoma & Pacific Railroad, located some where in the Pacific Northwest)

    "Beware the Train of Thought that Carries no Freight..."

    Click Here to See Moose's Layout Thread

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  29. #36
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    What a great thread. I have been out of the hobby for a little while and now that I am getting back into it, I will try to apply these lessons as I move on. When I make a mistake, I will refer to this thread and think, "see dummy." Lol.

    Biggest lesson I am learning right now is: you can't finish if you don't start. There is taking your time and wasting your time. Don't judge progress by how much you got done but by how much works correctly at the end.
    The S.A.N Railroad
    When it has to go Somewhere, Anywhere or Nowhere, Ship it on the SAN!
    serving the Tri-States and the Quad Cities near you.

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