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Quick Tips For Model Train Enthusiasts

Aug 2, 2008
Are you looking for some quick and easy tips to make your model train display look much better without having to spend a ton of money while doing it? Well look no further, here are some simple ones that can help you create and maintain a great looking and running model railroad without loosing money doing it.

Creating Realistic Trackwork

As one of the things that sticks out the most your track can draw anyone's eye rather quickly. As such you should make sure that your tracks look realistic enough that they can stand up to scrutiny whether you train is on them or not. Even if your train is in the shop people will still notice well laid out trackwork. One of the things that can help set your track apart is ballast.

Ballast is the gravel or broken stone that railroad companies laid on the railroad beds to provide stability for their trains. In model scale gravel would be impossible to use do to the size difference. As an acceptable alternative you might consider using colored sand. It can perfectly emulate ballast without having to try to color it as most sand comes in a wide variety of colors.

Sand makes a terrific alternative to traditional ballast material for a few different reasons. The first is cost. While gravel ballast can be quite costly sand is relatively cheap and easily available. It is also available in many different levels of coarseness which also makes it perfect for emulating gravel. Typically you will have to buy sand in a minimum amount which is usually about a twenty five pound bag but you will go through this much faster than you would realized. One note about safety. Some sand does contain metal particles. These particles can make the sand a good conductor. Take a magnet along with you and if any of the material sticks to it then avoid that particular type.

Aged Signs For Your Buildings

Have you seen modelers with great looking paper signs that look like they came out of magazines from fifty years ago or so? Well, know you can have the same kind of signs with just a little bit of hunting and some elbow grease. The first thing you need to do is to look through some antique magazines and look for advertisements that offer reproductions of old signs. They will often have little pictures of some of the signs they offer. Just what you wanted. Not the one to order, just the one in the advertisement! Carefully cut out the picture in the advertisement with a bit of extra material on the side.

Take the picture and turn it face side down and with a little bit of sanding rough up the edges a bit. Next take some white glue and mix it 50/50 with water. Apply a thin layer on the back of your sign. Next you can place it on the building wherever you want it. Let it dry completely and then dust it with a little bit of chalk dust to make it appear faded. To make it look like it is worn just take a bit of sand paper and very lightly sand the face.

Little tricks like these can help make the difference between a good display and a great one. Come up with some of your own and share with others!
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for model cars, model trains, and model trucks. You will find excellent hobbying and trading resources here for model car tricks and tips, model train tips and tricks, and model trucks.
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