Model Train Resources-4

Model Train Resources-4

How to Add Excitement to Model Railroad Scenery on Your Model Train Layout
Creating realistic scenery is the part that pulls your model railroad layout together and brings it to life. Little details can make a big difference, as many spectators will spend a lot of time watching the trains operate, so they will get to notice the little things that add to the overall effect. Your visitors will get see the vegetation that grows alongside the track and notice the signs on the buildings and the weathering techniques used on the trains.
Tunnels and a bridge will add interest to a model train layout. You will need a rail station too. Put operating signals at crossings. Use either a set of crossing flashers or a flasher and drop-arm combo. Kids (and adults too) are mesmerized by these ‘lights and action’ items.
Other ideas like a working grain elevator, water tower, coal loaders, or a control towers help complete a scene. Be creative, but specific, when making scenery for your model railroad layout.
Make sure any vehicles and rail crossings are from the right era. One idea is black washing the grilles and hubcaps to add depth and realism to the scene. Using a small brush you can also paint taillights, parking lights and door handles if needed. Then consider taking the cars apart and install drivers and passengers. Nothing looks more unreal on a layout than vehicles seemingly driven by invisible ghosts!
You can purchase miniature figures in male, female and child variations all molded in ‘flesh’ color. The arms must be attached by gluing. Then the figures can be painted. Sometimes, the figures will not fit between the steering wheel and the seat. It sounds a bit cruel but you simply cut the legs off with pliers and they fit just fine. Use flat (rather than glossy) model paint to make painted clothing and hair look real.
When buying adhesives for joining scenery, there are several choices in hardware stores and hobby shops. They are not all suitable for the same job.
When building scenery try using an acrylic matte medium or white glue as both of these modeling adhesives are water soluble. However, a contact-cement may be more suitable in some applications.
If you are going to use white glue, you may want to dilute it with water using 2 parts glue to 1 part water, or a 1 to 1 ratio, depending on its application. Try adding a few drops of liquid dish-washing detergent as this will help break up the surface tension of the water. Another thought is to add a small dab of latex paint to tint the glue and help hide any bare spots.
Always keep scenery, buildings, people, and structures to the right scale relative to the trains.
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Model Train Resources-2

 Model Train Resources-2

Deciding a Track Plan Before Building Your Model Railroad Layout
When planning construction of a model railroad there are all sorts of possible track configurations and plans to consider. It really depends on the space you have at your disposal and what type of train operation you would most enjoy.
 
Real railroads (prototype) run from one destination to another rather than go around in a circle. In reality, real railroads usually have hundreds, if not thousands, of miles of track to work with. Even in a scaled down form, most model railroads lack the space to fully replicate this, so a degree of adaptation and compromise is usually required.
Full-size trains often run for long stretches over a monotonous landscape, which if reconstructed on a model layout, would be rather boring. To give you an example, the Ghan Train in Australia runs 1,880 miles across the mostly barren desert. Imagine replicating that on a scaled down model railroad – it would probably stretch from one end of town to the other!
The main line begins at one point, and travels to another point, and stops, hence the term – a point to point railroad.
Although a point-to-point layout is necessary on real railroads, the format is not generally practical for the average home (or club) model train layout. Replicating the scale mileage of a true point-to-point railroad does not generally work that well.
To make things a little more practical (and interesting), prototype railroads have branch lines, sidings, and other subsidiary systems. Adding these to a model layout can be a good idea.
Before departure, the trains are turned around at terminals using yards, loops, wyes, and turntables. A single or double-track main line usually stretches from point to point.
When planning your point-to-point layout, you might want to include switches and yards at one end of the layout, and a turnaround at the other.
Most small layouts would not have enough space for two terminals, so use an “out-and-home” track configuration. An out-and-home layout accommodates only one terminal and is like a point-to-point layout double backing. The train journey would start at the terminal and it would pass through various landscapes, possibly a small town, and eventually arrive back at the same terminal.
Some might say it is cheating, but unless you have unlimited space (and money) for your layout, a little compromise is usually required.
Constructing an out-and-home layout usually enables a little more mileage between terminals. The train will still arrive back at the terminal in a reasonably short space of time.
You could add more realism and interest by combining an out-and-home, and point-to-point, format with continuous pikes. You would need a fair amount of space though.
Many model railroaders prefer a continuous layout because it allows for varied train movements which make an operation more interesting.
Whatever track plan you decide, the important thing is to have fun.
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Model Train Resources-3

Model Train Resources-3

Construction Planning For Model Train Layouts Explained
The hardest thing about construction planning on model railroad layouts is where to start. The project can seem so huge, it can seem daunting. Well, as the old Chinese proverb goes, “there is only one way to eat an elephant – just one bite at a time.” Constructing model train layouts is just like that. Take little steps at a time and do not bite off more than you can chew!
 
Model railroading is not a fad that you will grow out of in a few weeks. It will become a lifetime passion. Most model railroaders spend decades perfecting and expanding their train layout. So, you are not competing in a race to get your layout finished. It is better to take your time and do things well. Break your project down into small tasks and do each one carefully and thoroughly. You will experience fewer operational problems and avoid the frustration of when things fail to work properly.
 
Start by researching the section of full-size railroad that you will be modeling. Document it physically and operationally, and then scale it down to fit in a reasonable layout space.
 
The options are endless, but you will need to take the available space you have into consideration.
There is no point in trying to replicate hundreds of miles of a mainline track if you only have limited space available. Your available space may also dictate, to some extent, which scale you decide to model.
Popular themes to consider include an engine terminal, shunting yards, a horseshoe curve, town scene, industrial theme, or even an important railroading location from history. Researching your ideas before you get started can be a lot of fun and help you avoid making unwanted mistakes.
Careful planning may lead to better or even best results. Constructing a layout for a model railroad may be tough. You have to be considerate on the space and style of the layout you want it to appear. As advised, doing some research could help to gather important inputs to make your model train layout more appealing.
A model railroad layout needs to look good at a first glance, but it also needs to stand up to close inspection and scrutiny. The point is; spectators will get up close to your model train layout and they will start to spot the small details the longer they stay. Adding detail to your model railroad layout can be the difference between an average layout and an impressive layout. Take your time and do things well.
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Model Train Resource-1

 
Model Train Resource-1
 
Inexpensive Ways to Make Trees and Ground Cover For Your Model Railroad Layout
 
One of the most exciting aspects of model railroading is creating the scenery to enhance the landscape of a layout. The scenery is what adds the personality and interest to a layout to make it truly unique.
There are all sorts of scenery accessories you can purchase from online model train stores, but many things can be made from everyday items around the home. You do not always need to spend money when there are things around you for free.
Twigs from your backyard are a good example. They can be used for making small trees and shrubs, or be cut to resemble logs. There is no need to paint them because they are already the right color. Small wooden meat skewers (from the supermarket) can also be used to make logs and they are very inexpensive to buy.
 
The same goes for adding grass to your layout. You can purchase some very good products such as “Static Grass Flock” to provide ground cover, or you can make your own. Some model railroaders use a mix of ready-to-use grasses from the hobby store, and combine this, with there own homemade grass recipe.
Gather some fresh mulberry leaves and dry them in a microwave oven. After they are dried out, drop them in a kitchen blender and you have instant ground cover. The best thing is; it costs you virtually nothing to make. Store it in a plastic bag for when you need it.
The only disadvantage of making your own ground cover is you will not necessarily know how long it will last when compared to the bought stuff. Many of the ground cover products from a hobby store will have been treated to help them maintain their color and withstand temperature and humidity variances over time. Some of them are non-flammable and non-toxic, so you need to decide what is important to you.
A lot of model railroaders use dried kitchen herbs for leaves and ground cover. They mix different herbs (eg. thyme, oregano, and parsley) for different effects. When doing this it is best to lay some newspaper underneath, as it can be a messy process. That way you can catch and reuse any herbs that do not stick the first time.
 
Sea Foam (also called “Forest in a Box”) is a popular material for making small inexpensive trees. You can bend it to look like trees and then spray on some adhesive and sieve on some flock. It is usually best to mix a few little pieces together rather than use just one piece for an entire tree.
A fine brass wire can be used to strengthen the trunks and branches. Torn up pieces of masking tape can be wound around the tree trunk to add some width. This can then be sealed with a mixture of wall filler and PVA white glue.
You can even add sprinklings of kitchen herbs as mentioned earlier. You can then spray the trees all over with matt varnish, or spray them (upside down) with a mix of white glue and water. You then leave them to dry overnight.
Lichen is also ideal for making shrubs and trees. It is very versatile and looks good as mass foliage and undergrowth on a train layout. It is also inexpensive and easy to work with. You can purchase it in a range of colors that can be used separately or mixed together.
So, there are many, many ways to make ground cover and trees for your model railroad layout. It is a lot of fun and you might want to try some different options to see what works best for you. The point I am really making here; is that things on your train layout do not always need to be expensive. You just need to be a little creative in your approach. Have fun! 
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Model Train Resources-9

 

Model Train Resources

 
The Adaptability of Digital Command Control (DCC) In Model Railroading
A simple DC (Direct Current) transformer will give you a nice chugging locomotive going one way on your model train track, however, with a DCC (Digital Command Control) unit you can have the flexibility of having an entire train-switching yard happening right in front of your eyes! That is the adaptability that is available with this coming-of-age technology in the model railroad hobby!
Assuming you have already done all that you can with the standard controller that you got with your train set, whether that is a Bachmann, Kato, Marklin, Atlas or other brands and you want something new, what now? You know about the different types and combinations of wiring that can be used to make all the lights work, all the smoke come from the stacks to mimic the operation of your engines and the different things that can be accomplished with traffic control devices and lights, whistles etc. Now it is time to take your layout to the next step.
 
By using the Digital Command Control, you are doing just that. The DCC sends a continuous electrical current to all of the many things you have installed on your train layout board, just as you have had all along, however, now you have a digital receiver installed in each one of these items. You can thus control each and every one of them with the selectable controller and enhance the operation and, more importantly, the look and feel of your system. Click here for lots more clever model train layout ideas 
The technical side of the Digital Command Control is, actually, not as complicated as you might think. The digital nature of this very popular and gaining popularity every day. A DCC system is easier to wire than a straight DC system.
 
You will need to get power to all sections of the track, lights in all rolling stock, lights in all houses, streetlights, cars on the roads, trestles, drop bars at street crossings, smoke from chimneys in houses and stacks from engines. In summary; everything that is happening on your train layout board can be controlled with a Digital Command Control. All that is needed at this point is a digital receiver, in each of these, to make them accessible from your command center.
It will be a relatively easy task to “bundle” certain things to happen at the same time if needed and this can also be set up to activate in series so that it will duplicate the changing of time as people, (in your little world) get home from work, move about the board to go to grocery stores and just generally live their lives.
The ability to set up the activation of certain sounds, such as air horns, screeches of wheels on track and the normal operational sounds of a busy train yard can add to the realism that you have begun this very interesting hobby to bring about in your own “train room”. The flexibility of the Digital Command Control system will assist you in this endeavor.
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