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Model Railway Express

Hints and Tips -

Locomotives and Rolling Stock

Updated August 11th 2011

The following Hints and Tips were contributed to Model Railway Express Magazine as a service where readers have been invited to submit "things they do" to keeps costs down, techniques they use to build their items and manage their railways in general.

These pages show the Hints and Tips categorised in the order they have been received by MRE mag. I am not promising "perfection" but as of the creation of these pages, these Hints and Tips page are also shown in order on Page 1... please click on this to access the hints in order that they have appeared in MRE Mag!

Click on the Menu to the area of interest to you.

SCENERY &
BUILDINGS

ELECTRICAL

TRACKWORK

COUPLINGS
& COUPLERS

LOCOMOTIVES &
ROLLINGSTOCK

LAYOUT BUILDING TECHNIQUES
& IDEAS

LAYOUT
OPERATING TECHNIQUES
& IDEAS

SUBMIT HINTS

MODEL CONSTRUCTION

WEATHERING

PHOTOGRAPHIC

Back to Main HInts and Tips



Hints & Tips No.3

Going round the bend

By Robbie McGavin (NZ)

I have affixed the added details to my Hornby N15 with superglue (steps, cylinder cocks, pipes, etc). It will run round Setrack radius 3 with no problem. It will also ‘just’ go round radius 2, but will derail unless run slowly. A beautiful model, indeed!

Hints & Tips No.5

Wagon tops

By David Chappell

If you have a collection of, say, closed vans, most likely they will all have the same colour roofs. Coaches are similar, especially if they are all from one manufacturer. Prototype vehicles all had different colours, bodies and roofs due to weathering, dirt, brake dust etc.I thought I would get over this 'out of the box sameness' easily.

In a small cupcake aluminium case (Mr Kipling and all that) I put a small quantity of adark grey paint of a darker colourthan the first van. I then brush painted the first vehicle. Then I added a few drops of, say, black, stirred the little case and painted the second vehicle - hence a little darker. Then I added a few drops of another colour (for example, brown) and painted the third: then a few drops of say orange and painted the fourth and so on. You can leave one in the manufacturer's original colour if you wish.Numerous wagons all with different colour roofs with very little cost and wastage of paint!

Paint choice is obviously up to the modeller - I use matton some occasions, acrylic on others. Colours can be to the modeller's choice – greys, browns, leather, gunmetal, orange, rust, etc. If you want to experiment first, cut a 12 inch long by 1 inch piece of scrap plastikard and practice onsmall areas of that before you let yourself loose on your wagons or coaches! It's good fun!

Hints & Tips No.15

Wagon loads

By David Middleditch

Line the interior of a wagon with three layers of clingfilm. Build the load inside this.

Pit props: Short thin buddleia twigs glued together with PVA.

Coal: Plaster base painted black with coal on top.

Timber: Matchsticks at an angle glued with PVA.

When set and painted, the load can be removed and the clingfilm peeled off. It should then fit back into the wagon with a working tolerance. With coal and similar loads, I also set in a small wire loop. This can be used to hook it out. Painted black it is quite unobtrusive.

Hints & Tips No.16

Tender problem

By Nicholas Rothon

There is a problem with some of the BR1C tenders fitted to the Bachmann Standard locomotives. The coupling seems to be toohigh to use with Peco and Hornby uncoupling ramps.

The problem can be resolved by substituting one of the stepped couplings from the Bachmann Mk1 coaches. Some may have been saved if the couplings on the coaches have been changed to Hornby close-coupling variety.

Hints & Tips No.21

Cleaning wheels quickly

By Trevor Gibbs

Cleaning wheels is not the most enjoyable task in the model railway field but there is a way of making it easier and minimising the amount of pick up and scraping you need to do.

1. Get some reasonable strength paper towel (the quilted type is ideal). Wet a small area of the paper towel with the white spirit. (Do not use Turpentine for this!

2. Lay your paper towel over the track with enough ‘slack’ that you can run your wheels on it.

3. Using a little pressure, move your vehicle up and down the paper towel by hand and watch the towel get dirty. Move your towel over a bit when the track of the treads gets dirty until no more comes off. Voila one cleaned vehicle in a few seconds!

You would expect that the towel would tear to shreds quickly and eventually it does, but it is very easy to get through a whole yard of vehicles. Every now and then you get a ‘severe case’ but your task is really minimised!

By judicious holding of powered locos, you can get wheel treads of these also clean by self powering the loco. Hope this helps increase your operating time and pleasure!

Hints & Tips No.37

Wagon loads or uncouplers

By Roy Thompson

The long wooden stirrers you get in McDonalds or Starbucks etc. make excellent plank loads when cut up.

Or you can cut and attach a square piece of scrap plastic sized to fit between your vehicle ends to one end of the stirrer and you have a wagon uncoupler. Simply place between the vehicle under the "striker" bars and lift when the couplers are slack.

Hints & Tips No.40

Weighting Model Wagons

by David Chappell

For improved running of model 00 wagons, I weight them all to about 50 grams. I have a small set of scales which covers the range. Where you put the extra weight (usually anywhere between 10 and 20gm) is up to you! In a wagon with a load, it can go under or in the load and van roofs often come off. Open wagons with no load are the worst problem, and one has to use 'liquid lead' (tiny lead pellets) glued in the underfame, however, it is well worth the effort. The local car tyre fitter will have small weights at 5gm and 10 gm (for tyre use) and will part with some for a donation to their tea tin! Their weights are self adhesive, too! Incidentally, I also weight kit built coaches to 150gm.

Hints & Tips No.43

"Scrap Metal Loads"

By Trevor Gibbs (Melbourne Australia)

Ever wondered if you could recycle your washed aluminium foil or foil chocolate wrapper? Roll your foil into tight balls about 1/2" or so diameter then take a pair of slip joint pliers and using the jaws mould them into cubes.

Being Scrap metal, they would be discoloured so paint them with a rusty orange/brown colour. A number of cubes and you therefore have a load of scrap metal for that otherwise unemployed open wagon... and you can enjoy your way on two fronts to make them!

Hints & Tips No.44

A Revised Way Of Cleaning Wheels

By Ted Allan (Sunshine MRC Melbourne Australia)

I use cotton cloths such as Chux with white spirit. This has a couple of advantages over using paper towels in that the surface is microscopically rougher so than it cleans the wheels better, the cloth lasts much longer so there is less mess and are capable of providing contact in the case of powered wheels through the holes to the rails.

(Note from Trevor - The paper towels in H&T No.21 were a very good idea when I first learned it... and this version from Ted becomes an even better idea!)

Hints & Tips No.73

Making Putty For Models
By Trevor Gibbs (Melbourne Australia)

If you are into using sheet styrene for scratch building, do not throw all your offcuts and shavings etc away. You can make a putty like paste by dissolving these etc in a bottle with some MEK which you can use to fill in imperfections, holes, joints and any other area requiring touching up prior to painting.

Wood modelers can also make a "putty" by mixing shavings or saw dust from your parent timber in PVA glue to make a paste which can be used for wood siding, planks etc where imperfections occur.

While I have not tried it, I have read from several sources that you can make another type of putty with super glue and baking soda which I assume you can use with Resin and white metal etc. However, as cyanide is a principal ingredient in the super glue, please remember to work safely with it including working in a well ventilated area and using eye protection.

Hints & Tips No.80

Making Brass Buffers Look More Realistic.

By Peter Betts, (Sydney, NSW)

If you receive brass buffers with a loco kit or coach kit, plate the buffer heads with solder as this will simulate the “polished” steel surfaces of the two buffers together. This is done by cleaning the surface, applying flux, touching the surface with a hot soldering iron, and then wiping off any surplus solder with a rag.

(Do this before inserting the buffers into plastic stocks and, of course, don't try it on plastic buffers - Ed)

Hints & Tips No.81 - Diode Protection for Sidings.

By Trevor Gibbs, (Melbourne, Australia)

Model Railway and Railroad conventions dictate that a loco will run forward when the right hand running rail is Positive. We can use this to our advantage to protect locos overrunning sidings which are close to the baseboard edge and doing themselves (and our wallets) a fair bit of damage. At a discreet distance from the end of the siding, cut the rail on the LEFT hand side (as you enter the siding) and insulate it, preferably with an insulated joiner. Now bridge the gap with a 1 amp diode (a 1N4004 will do) with the bar of the diode towards the dead end of the siding.

You will be able to drive in but hopefully not too far. However reversing your loco will have it able to be driven out. There is a bit of a voltage loss of about .6 of a volt but because you are starting the loco, I doubt that you might perceive it. If your loco goes the wrong way because you misunderstood these instructions, just reverse your diode and test it.

DCC operators cannot quite do this, but it is quite prototypical that engines had to use a small rake of wagons to get another wagon parked in a siding because of light rail, insufficient clearance over the cylinders etc. Protect your siding with an “Engines must not pass this point” sign and insulate as above. Now have a Normally Open pushbutton switch with wiring bridging the insulated gap. When you are sure that your loco is set to go the correct way push your bridging button and you can drive your engine out. It is not as surefire safe as with DC operations but it will do the trick.



Hints & Tips No.85

Glazed Windows.

By Jeffrey Wimberly (LA, USA)

I cut clear plastic from those hard to open plastic containers that shops put everything in. It takes a 20 minute demolition job just to get the thing you bought out.

I cut these to the sizes I need for the windows then spray them with Matte-Finish. Dull-Cote would probably work too. They dry to a nice glaze. They also enhance your structures interior lighting. Put a bunch of these into a building and it only takes a small light to light up every window that has glazing.

(Note from Trevor – this is a very good variation of an earlier hint and I will have repainted many of mine with a dull coat clear by the time you read this)


Hints & Tips No.90 - Joining two styrene surfaces using Waxed Paper .

By Trevor Gibbs, (Melbourne Australia)

When joining two pieces of styrene either using ACC (Superglue) or MEK, make your join over waxed paper and allow to dry. This way your styrene does not pick up another surface or paint with the glue or stick to the other surface which may mar the appearance of your model.


Hints & Tips No.97

Making Models on Flat Surfaces .

By Trevor Gibbs, (Melbourne Australia)

Depending on the level of kit or scratch building you are doing, the ideal is to work on a flat surface. Many kit manufacturers recommend using plate glass and it is well and good if you have this. However you can get a fair degree of dimensional flatness and stability by using at least 12mm MDF or Particle Board up to about 15 inches square or so.

If you are doing metal construction, a piece of MDF like this can work very well as a surface plate for marking. You can probably get an offcut from a cabinet makers work shop for zilch and even under the most prolific of hobbyists using Exacto knives or similar, it should last quite some time before it needs replacing.



Hints & Tips No.98

Extreme Wear and Tear .

By John De-Vries-Kraft, (Kamloops Canada)

Every railway has that extremely decrepit looking vehicle which although it may be "roadworthy" looks as if it had seen much better days usually sitting on a siding out of the way. I did help this guy with his shiny looking gondola... he said it looked too new and a bit toyish. We can all relate to that.

So,in a few moments I took the gondola and removed the wheels and couplers. I then ground it against a small rock, bent the sides of the gondola and scraped the ends so it looked as though it had taken a fair bit of punishment carrying stone etc... which it had by that time... just not carrying stone.

I then removed the "extra" plastic flashing from the scraping...presented it to the guy who was quite impressed. You could go one stage further and paint it a non descript grey and rust combination. Reinstall the wheels, add couplers, and voila, DONE and well used."

Hints & Tips No.110

Using Cartons for carrying rollingstock

By Brian Macdermott

Here in the UK, I have used some cardboard boxes from the supermarket which were initially used for the delivery of large baguettes for carrying rollingstock. These boxes are about 30" long, about 12" wide, and about 15" deep (about 750 x 300 x 375mm).

I store my boxes vertically with the end labels all facing the same way up. I also try to keep different the locos from different manufacturers in separate cartons.



Hints & Tips No.116

Running in a Locomotive

By Stephen McCallum (Coquitlam BC, Canada)

I have a section of track that I can just let my loco run on [an oval for instance] then I let it run for half an hour at about a third speed then a half hour at half speed. What this does is 'break in' the motor and gears. I then do the same thing in reverse. Unless there is something truly wrong with the loco I have found I never have a problem with the running ever after doing this.

Of course if you run it on a temporary track set up on the carpet etc it will pick up lint and such, but barring things like that, once broken in it will give you years of fun. That and maybe lube it once every couple of years.

(A Note from Trevor - Check out Stephen's website at http://fsm1000.googlepages.com)

Hints & Tips No.120

Locomotive Safeguards

by Martin Hollebone (TR Models North Hants)

A few basic pointers in maintaining your locomotives smooth running...

Never pick a locomotive up with your finger tips touching the running gear on the sides of the locomotive because it can damage the alignment of the running gear.

Never try to clean the wheels or electrical contacts with 'wire wool' or sand paper. Being made of steel the wire wool is attracted by the magnet and will cause damage. Steel wool also causes electrical shorts within the locomotive.

Never clean the track with wire wool as it will leave strands which will cause a short across the track and trip fuses and/or circuit breakers within the controller.

Hints & Tips No.123

Graffiti Decals from your Computer

by Brian Sheron (MD USA)


With the advent of home computers, you can now make your own decals. Obtain some clear decal paper compatible with your printer (i.e. ink jet or laser jet). Your computer will have a variety of fonts. Scroll through the fonts and you will likely see a number of them that resemble graffiti.


I also found a web site that has downloadable Graffiti fonts. Go to www.graffitifonts.com


Start typing typical graffiti phrases. When you have all the graffiti you need, hit the print button, spray the decal sheet with decal sealer, let it dry, and then apply graffiti to you rolling stock, retaining walls etc!


Hints & Tips No.126

Handling Small Screws

by John Rumming (Western Australia)

Small screws have a habit of moving and dropping off the screwdriver at the worst times. Use a tiny bit of Blu-tack or similar on the end of the screwdriver and this will hold the screw in place. Magnetised screwdrivers are also useful.

(A Note from Trevor – you can also temporarily magnetise a screw driver by stroking it with a magnet along its length for a minute or so... eventually the strength will go but it will be enough to do your pressing job)

Hints & Tips No.152

LEDs for Headlights

by Trevor Gibbs (Melbourne Australia)


I am still on DC because I like my throttles and like playing with controlling braking. Headlights are another issue as the old globes varied with the track voltage and were non directional. I have now fitted Golden White LEDs as Headlights to most of my locos. They are fairly constant with their intensity and look good.


Because you have to put a regular diode in line with the LED as well as the load resistor, if your motors are the sensitive type make a block with diodes in reverse parallel, that is Cathode to Anode at both ends and put this in series with your motor. Because Diodes drop 0.6 of a volt, your motor will need a higher starting voltage and you will hopefully be lucky enough that the loco will start just after the headlight goes on. If your Diode is sensitive, you may need two diodes in Series. But the headlight effect is worth it and they do not shine constantly in reverse!


Hints & Tips No.153

Auto Uncoupling MU Hoses and Power Cables

by John Rumming (Western Australia)


Use the insulation from wire to imitate Multiple Unit Hoses and Air Hoses for the trains. Remove the wire and they will drop naturally. If you keep the wire in them, you can bend then to the shape you require, providing that they are solid core wires

In larger scales in particular, if you would like moving and auto coupling Multiple Unit hoses and power cables, then do as above but add a magnet to the hose. On another loco or carriage, glue a small metal piece to the body which will act as a “receptacle” for the hose or cable.

These will hold together and create the look of true hoses. You cannot use a magnet on each item as well as the hose as they may repel each other. To uncouple, just release the coupler and drive away. The hoses will detach by themselves most of the time!


Hints & Tips No.154

Help With The Small Things Pt 3

by Bob Heath - Barchester (Spain)


Keep it clean : This doesn't just apply to the track and rolling stock wheels but to the whole layout. Don't let bits of rubbish and dust accumulate as it's the first thing that viewers see, either of the layout itself or in any photographs you take.

Knife blades : Try and get into the habit of putting the blade cover back on when you have finished using it, or sliding the blade back into it's holder. These blades are deadly when they come into contact with the users flesh.

Matchsticks : Same as kebab sticks, again depending on scale, wagon loads of cut timber, timber stacks in yards, it's imagination time. Matches come in a wide range of thickness.
Masking tape :
Has a textured surface that takes paint well, good for wagon and truck covers.


Hints & Tips No.182

Help With The Small Things Pt 9 - Wheel Cleaning

by Bob Heath - Barchester (Spain)

On trucks and coaches wheel cleaning is easy as the wheels are free moving but it can be difficult on power driven wheels. I use a shoe box full of soft cloth and turn the locomotive upside down on this and then I have a twin wire lead which I fasten to the live track with crocodile clips and the other two bared ends I touch to the motor's wheels to move them to a new position for cleaning. For the cleaning itself I use an old metal suede brush.

From Clive Greedus


The tip to use a wire suede brush to clean loco wheels is not a new one and the power supply to revolve them is the way I recall a Peco product did things (has this been discontinued now?). However, I have reservations about scratching pick up wheels in this way, as I believe a scratched surface will become dirty again, quicker. I also believe that some wheels may be coated to improve their conductivity and wire brushing will destroy this.


In the past I have used Carr's Electrofix, a chemical that fixes their metal blackening product and improves conductivity and "reduces spark induced oxides and deposits", according to the label. Some Bachmann wheels have the appearance that they have been through a similar process. So I will only use a cotton bud or cloth with track cleaning fluid and, if possible, get wheel movement by connecting electric leads to non moving pick up wheels or connected parts with crocodile clips. I have added pick ups to tender wheels, which helps, but there is also a case for making special connections, specifically for cleaning, on other types.


From Trevor Gibbs


There have been several wheel cleaning methods in Hints and Tips so far. Refer to H&T 25 and 44. Light scratching may sometimes be necessary and all cleaning provides a certain amount of scratching. It is a case of what works for you personally


Hints & Tips No.188

PVA Glue as Glazing

by Trevor Gibbs (Melbourne Australia)


You can use PVA type glue as a flush type glazing when it is built up in a window area. It is best to place something in the windowless hole to stop the glue leaking through which will not stick to the glue. I would suggest a shape of styrene assisted with a waxed paper covering.


Now take your window, for example a port hole on a locomotive, place your stop behind and keeping the “window” as level as possible lightly pour in some PVA glue. Gently wipe the excess and allow to dry thoroughly. Remove the backing and you should have a free standing flush fitting window glaze. The slight opacity will be very effective on steam locos in particular.



Hints & Tips No.199

Traction Tyre Replacement - An Alternative

by Geoff Stone (Sydney, Australia)

Use electrically conductive epoxy to fill the gap in wheels to replace traction tyres. When mixed, the engine can be run slowly in a cradle and the epoxy applied with a cocktail stick. When cured, the tyre can be smoothed with a file. Traction and conduction in one product.
http://www.mgchemicals.com/products/8331.html

Hints & Tips No.235

Using Conduit... as a Bridge Pier and a Pipe Load.

By Robert Ferus (NJ USA)

Using offcuts of 12mm (1/2”) electrical conduit would give you a reasonable looking pipe load for a flat wagon. A few longer lengths could look very effective as Bridge Supports for a modern bridge.

Hints & Tips No.237

Using Coins ... As Weights.

By Trevor Gibbs (Melbourne Australia)

A few of my locos have needed a little extra weight over the years. I would try to get some lead weights cast off car wheels etc and reshape them or use plumbers lead sheet. I then found that copper coins (when Australia had them) glued together made fairly effective weights in themselves. They were compact and neat and even 10 of them at a time would only have cost me 10 cents!

So if you too want to start a small coin shortage in your country...

Hints & Tips No.242

Simulating Panelling

By Howard Clarke

Stuck for a coach roof or a replacement wagon roof for older Triang Vehicles etc? Try a slat from a Venetian blind.

They come in handy lengths ready to cut to suit and have close to the appropriate curvature and width which can be bent further if necessary. Available singularly from your local manufacturer of blinds, or second-hand from your local council tip.


Hints & Tips No.243

A Cheap On30 Flat Car using What???

By Alan Rogers



To all those computer users that have added CD-ROM or tape back-up drives to their machines and now do not know what to do with that silly piece of plastic that used to cover the 5¼" hole. If you hold it flat on your hand, doesn't it look remarkably like a chassis for a flat car in On30”?



Removing the clips at each end should give you a coupling pocket and covering the deck and side with strip wood will give a quick flat car which only awaits bogies. The logical progressions are stake wagons, gondolas and cabooses but these will require more work obviously. Now watch the stampede for the local E Waste tip site!

(A Note from Trevor – The passage of time between when I saw this hint will well have made it superfluous in many areas. However, I have included it here to remind you to look at the modelling potential of objects you are throwing away.)



Hints & Tips No.249

Weighting Rolling Stock

By Loren Hall (Washington State, USA)

Need to weight your rolling stock? Go to your tyre dealer and ask for tape on wheel weights. They will usually give them to you. They are pre-marked in 1/4 ounce and are just peel and stick. As a precaution, make sure you wear gloves because they are lead.

If you want to make your own weights, ask if you can have some scrap wheel weights.



Hints & Tips No.258 -

A Simple Way To Identify Your Rolling Stock

by Mike Roque (NY, USA)

Sometimes identical rolling stock items from different owners get mixed up on club nights, in order to build up longer trains, etc.

To solve this problem, take two or three colours from your model paint range and three toothpicks. Use the toothpicks to make three different coloured dots on the underneath of each item.

In smaller groups, it is highly unlikely that anyone else would mark their models to the same combination of colours as you. Larger clubs could even have a register of colour codes.

The Model Railroad Club, Union, NJ, uses a three colour coded axle on the B end of each car. The advantage of this is that it is very simple, while the disadvantage is that you must turnover cars to see the codes. A possible solution to the latter is to use a dentist's mirror to examine the underside of the models while they remain on the track.


Hints & Tips No.270

Making a Test Vehicle

By Jim Shireffs (Michigan, USA)

There are many areas where trains can derail yet we have no rational explanation for it occurring because we cannot see the problem. I suggest you make a simple bogie flat car/wagon chassis from Sheet Acrylic (known as Perspex or Plexiglass in different parts of the world) to a standard wagon length, fit bogies (trucks) to it using a clear piece for the bolster and fit couplers if possible. A 4 wheeled version should be a possibility as well.

This way you can push it by hand and feel what is happening or run it with a group of other carriages, and see from the top and other angles through the “floor” how your wheels are running through your trackwork and therefore have assistance in locating and ultimately repairing problems.


Hints & Tips No.326

Replacing Brushes... an experience

By Don Sali

I have an Airfix Tender drive loco which had badly worn its brushes and was behaving very erratically. A friend had an old Bachmann motor originally in an American Diesel switcher that never really ran but kept it as spares for years. Thinking the two locomotives may have come from the same factory, he tried out the unused brushes and they fitted in as though they were meant to be there. A little undercutting of the armature to clean it and it was running very well. In fact, aside from the worn traction tyres, the Castle seems to have had a new lease on life... so check what you can recycle.


Hints & Tips No.334

Early Steam Engine Repairs.

By Trevor Gibbs

Early die-cast and plastic steam locomotives are usually fairly “bomb proof” but can develop a bit of a gait in their movement. Make sure that both the worm and the gear are clean of burrs which may stop the motor from doing its stuff. The other concern is binding valve gear.

Gently remove your valve gear and using a “larger-diameter-than-the-hole” twist drill, twist it with your fingers to de-burr your valve gear slot where the side rods are screwed to the wheels... and do not over do it!


Hints & Tips No.335

Locomotive Tuning

By Ted Allan (Sunshine MRC, Melbourne Australia)

I recondition my locomotive motor armatures by carefully dismantling my motors, putting my armatures in a lathe. Before I had the Lathe, I used to use a power drill held in a vice. While it is spinning use some Aluminium Oxide paper to true and smooth the commutator.

I then clean out the slots using a pin, making sure than I can see the mica insulation and that there is no copper residue. I then reassemble and lubricate the motor sparingly. The result in smoother running is worth the effort.


Hints & Tips No.351

Shimming Loose Driver Bearings

By Trevor Gibbs (Melbourne, Australia)

If your locomotive axles are a sloppy fit in your loco frame or have excessive side play through natural wear, try shimming them with a small length of aluminium foil wrapped around the axle. You could also use a pair of .020” wires which you would cut to the axle length and lay either side of your axle before putting the cover plate back on. This can act like a roller bearing. If the fit is tight reduce the diameter of the wire you use

Alternatively if they are the right sized axles and you feel comfortable re-quartering your wheels, you could try using Romford brass bearings over your axles to the outside of your frames.


Hints & Tips No.382

Staples as Lampholders

Several Modellers

Staples can be cut in half without being stapled and filed: these are then usable as lamp holders on locomotives, coaches and brake vans. You could create simple lamps from plastic sprue, even turning them with a power drill and using a basic file.

Hints & Tips No.383

Blue Tack

Several Modellers

We have found "Blu-tack" useful for making N gauge wagons and coaches heavier, as it has a high density and can be compressed into a small space. It is also useful for OO wagons.


Hints & Tips No.396

Making a Footplate

By Iain Lamb

I made a footplate specifically for a 4F but the technique will apply to other engines. Modelling one is quite straightforward. Firstly – as per the Hornby Instructions sheet – “From underneath, remove screw which attaches the drawbar to the tender chassis.

IMPORTANT – In this case and many others the locomotive and tender are permanently wired together. Do not try to pull them apart and take care not to strain the wires.

Turn the locomotive and tender onto their wheels and carefully lift off the tender body, from the front, to release the rear body clip. Using scrap paper make a template of the surface area of the cab floor and add 1cm to cover the eventual link to the tender.

Accurately cut the paper to give a snug fit inside the cab including the contours beneath the fire-box. When satisfied that a good fit has been created, cut back the extension to about 8mm from the end of the cab floor. Re-move the template and draw a curve at the tender end to avoid the eventual footplate catching the edge of the tender when on curves. On my model I came in by 3mm at the outer edges.

When you are satisfied that your template is correct use it to create from thin card or plastic an actual footplate. Try it for size and if happy glue to the cab floor. When dry, paint the footplate Matt Black. At this stage I also took the opportunity to paint the hand-rails (not forgetting the tender ones) using Precision paints tinlet No M 411 “Steel”.



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