Tips update: - We received a tip on White Metal Soldering by Ian McIntyre from Wagga Wagga.

When cleaning a soldered white metal model, try some cheap Home Brand CREAM CLEANSER from Woolworths. It costs about a dollar and is slightly abrasive. Scrub gently with an old toothbrush and rinse well..

We received a tip on ballasting by Tom PlaFair from Victoria. If any modeller needs to obtain any more information on the tip please email the author, not the webmaster.

I have taken an old grain hopper and designed It to be a working ballast laying wagon. The process is as follows:
Burn or drill a hole in the centre of a discharge door of your choice (preferably at the first or forth depending on how many discharge doors you wagon has). Cut a peice of brass tube approx 10 to 15mm long (mine is 7mm by 7mm wide but this can vary depending on the amount of ballast you are wanting to discharged, or how long you want to make it). Glue in the centre of discharge door so as to be in the centre of the track when working (it is recommended to be on an angle facing away from the direction of pull). It is best utilised when the end of the tube it about 1.5 to 2.5mm from the top of the rail ( this hieght can vary depending on your needs). The next step is to fill in the gap where the hole has been burnt out, any filler of your choice can be used. It is recommended that when doing this you fill the entire floor on an angle so the ballast can find it own way to the discharge hole. Now you are ready to ballast. Simply hook the wagon up to one of your locos and slowly move it up and down your track (it is advised that you do not run you locomotive over the ballast if it has not been levelled as this will lead to the locomotives' gears having ballast caught in them). Remember, the wagon lays ballast one way and may spread in an other direction. If you want to cut time, you may put a spreading plought immediatly behind the discharge shoot with two holes cut to compensate for the track (this process works best if the plough is in the shape of a vee facing the opposite direction of pull and is level with the rail spikes). Simply run a brush of your choice over the laid ballast. This makes the job quicker, faster, easier and more enjoyable with excellent results.

Question from Tom PlaFair.

I am currently building a layout based on the Main South of the NSWGR based on the line between Harden and Junee. It measures 16m by 3m. The layout basically rises on a steep grade from the north through a short station, over the level crossing, past a wheat silo and associated sidings then there is, what I refer to as a 7m long momentum grade before twisting through an 'S' curve then to the fiddle yards. I am almost about to start laying track and am having a great degree of difficulty trying to form am 13m long strait. I need your advice on how to obtain a near perfect straight, particularly on how to do this.

Answer from Keiran Ryan.

No matter weather the layout is modular or of a solid single board the best way for obtaining a straight line to lay your track would be to use a coloured chalk string line. These are normally used in the building & construction industry for exactly the same reason (to obtain a straight line for bricklayers or carpenters to work to). Place a nail at the starting point of the straight and another nail at the end of the straight . Tie the chalk coated string line to the first nail. Tie the line to the other nail and ensure that it is tight and close, but not touching the board. With two fingers, grab the string and pull it upward and allow it to hit the board on the rebound. This will leave a thin coloured chalk mark on your board that you can lay the track to. You will still need to check the alignment of the track by eye, but this will help to ensure that the track is consistant over the large distance.

While the following tips are not direct modelling tips, they do fall into the category of Motivational Tips and are a good way to start any project, so that you have the correct Mind-set. I hope they are helpful to you.

  1. Anything worth doing is worth doing Well
  2. "KISS",Keep It Simple Stupid.
  3. The only modelling limitation is your Imagination.
  4. If you can see it model it, if you can't see it, make believe it's there.
  5. You won't know if you can achieve something, until somebody tells you, that you can't - Don't listen to them.
  6. If at first you don't succeed, give it another go - after all, you never fail at what you do, it is just not the outcome you expected.
  7. Don't build 10 similar items, instead take the time to build one perfect example, and cast thousands of them.
  8. Always keep your mind open to new ideas then build on them.
  9. Strive for perfection then improve on it.
  10. Don't be scared to rebuild a model you thought was perfect, because your idea of perfect will change as your skills improve.
  11. When studying the prototype - take as many photos & measurements as possible, because over time, you will always find that even the most illogical photos will have something of benefit in them for future reference.
  12. As a modeller, your basic aim, should always be to improve both your Standards and your Skills
    "These tips were brought to you by an over active imagination."

  13. If you have any Hints & Tips - please send them to me via e-mail.

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a little help from:
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