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Joining Flex Track With EZ Track – Can it be done?

Stan asks readers:

“I I notice there is all kinds of track out there – Kato Unitrack, Bachmann EZ track and Atlas Flex track to name a few. My N scale layout under construction has Bachmann E Z Track, but a friend offered me some unused Atlas flex track and a small section of Kato Unitrack for a cheap price. I think he picked it up at a garage sale. The Atlas is code 80 so would it be ok? Any advice would be a help. Thanks.”

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Joe Shares Photos of His Model Railroad

joes model railroad

 

 

 

Joe sent in these photos of his model railroad to share with readers. He doesn’t say what scale it is but I’m sure we can all guess.

joes-railroad-layout2

 

Joe says: I had an area in my basement not being used. It took a little over year to complete. Here are a few shots of the layout.
joes-railroad-layout3

 

First pic is a railroad museum in New Hampshire that my parents took me to see when I was a child. I’m 68 but the memory came to life on my railroad.

joes-railroad-layout4

 

The other pics are the three areas I originated.

 

Left side is more country design.

 

Middle area is my plateau area. If you look close you can see the climbers almost to the top.

 

The right side of the layout is industrial with a small town and a freight yard behind it.

 

 

 

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Making Water for a Model Railroad

model railroad water

 

Model railroaders are known to be ingenious when it comes to constructing, creating, and improvising. Creating water effects is a good example of this. Various techniques get used to create ponds, rivers, streams, and even beaches and harbors.

Although it can be cheaper to use an old mirror, a discarded pane of glass, or just gloss paint – it’s not usually as effective as using one of the many epoxy resin based products available from hobby or craft stores.

making water for a model railroadResin products dry hard and clear so the surface under the resin still needs to be sealed and painted to add the illusion depth. However the final effect can be extremely realistic and closely resemble real water.

how to make water effects on model railwayProducts available include: Realistic Water by Woodland Scenics, Magic Water by Unreal Details, Aqua Water by Busch, KraftKote by Klockit. Other products are EZ Water (I’ve heard some bad comments about this product so would be interested in reader feedback), and Envirotex Casting Resin.

These 3 photos show how altering the base color can can dramatically change the perceived water depth.

If you would like to add your tips or comments on water making just click the comments link under this posting.

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Loco Stalling on a Helix

James asks readers:

“I have an HO BLI cab forward 4882 and am having problems with it running forward down the helix I just finished. It will stall 6 – 8 times going down the helix, but backing up the helix runs all 94 ft with no stalling. Track and wheels are clean. Any ideas please?”

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Model Train Accessories – Machine Screws

Murray asks readers:

“Where can I purchase tiny replacement N scale machine screws for locomotives and cars?”

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Getting Started In Model Trains

Frank asks readers:

“I have a grandson 5 year of age and I want to start him out in model trains. What gauge should I buy
him and all things to start him out?”

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Interior Lighting For Model Trains

Oscar asks readers:

“How can I do to put interior lighting in HO wagons in DCC?”

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Lost Wiring Instructions

Murray asks readers:

“I accidentally cut the wires between the loco and tender on my Berkshire N scale 2-8-4 Bachmann Kanawha train. Where can I find the wiring instructions. They don’t seem to be listed on either Bachmann’s site or Sound Traxx’s site. The decoder is marked with symbols R, M+, L+, L-, M- and L. What do they stand for. I’m new at this and any help would be appreciated.”

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What is the Minimum Radius for Trains?

Allan asks readers:

“Hi I am starting an HO layout on 4×8 or 5×9 board and want 2 levels but my problem is I want the track to climb 100mm (4 inch) in a complete circle. What I want to know is what is the minimum radius that I can climb to achieve this please? I am using strong engines and only about 5-6 wagons so won’t have much weight to pull up incline. Thanks for any help on this please.”

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Which are the best couplers for model trains?

Larry asks readers:

“I have some N scale Bachmann frieght cars,and some have a real looking coupler and some have Rapido couplers. What are good ones to get?”

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DCC Light Decoder

Murray asks readers:

“I’m new to modeling. I want to get a DCC light decoder for an N system that will light as many lights as possible. It needs to be compatible with an NCE system. Any help would be appreciated.”

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How To Replace Cogs Without Damaging Loco

Owen asks readers:

“Hi I have a loco (b12 4-6-0) that I need to replace a cog in and I can’t do that without taking off the rods that connect to the wheels and I don’t know how to take them off and put them back in without damaging it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.”

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What Is The Correct Glue Dilution Rate?

Barbara asks readers:

“What is the correct dilution rate of water to Elmers glue that will spray in a fine mist and stick?”

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Fixing A Track Power Problem

Josh asks readers:

“I hope this doesn’t sound stupid but I can’t get power on my HO tracks. I laid the track, and it seemed to operate smoothly. Even after I wired up my points it was working ok. I tested everything again before laying the ballast. After the ballast dried I tested it again with my only loco (yes I’m new to railroading!!) and got no power to the track. I then tried taking away some of the ballast near the contacts, but I still couldn’t get it to run. I feel embarrassed asking for help because I’ve probably made a stupid mistake somewhere along the line, but I’m stuck and don’t know what to try from here. Please help.”

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Interesting Way To Combine Rail Yard Structures For Increased Background Perspective

This new series of low relief railroad yard buildings includes 4 white buildings that jut out on an angle from the background, yet still only take up minimal space. The interesting thing is they can be arranged in a variety of positions to change the look of the complete structure… so the tallest building can be positioned on the end or in the middle. This short video shows how.

More details at http://www.modelbuildings.org/background-yard-structures.html

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What’s Better Than Scenery Made With Paper and Plaster?

Ernie has a question for readers:

“I am getting ready to build scenery on my layout and thought of using wads of paper under the plaster cloth. However I’m not sure what to do now after reading somewhere that paper will suck in moister over time. Is this true? What could I use instead of paper?”

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Problems Constructing A Helix

Sherri is planning a helix and has a question for readers relating to online helix calculators and uses the example of the free helix calculator at http://www.modelbuildings.org/free-calculator-tools.html to explain her problem:

“On the Helix Calculator “Item D” you can choose a ring width as small as 1″. This number is used to reflect how many sheets or fraction of sheets of plywood you will need as shown in “Item M”.

In “Item F” the formula adds 4″ to whatever radius size you choose in “Item A”. Therefore, I believe the minimum ring width would be 2″ plus one half the width of the gauge track you are using. At that calculation the inside edge of the track would be right at the inside edge of the ring. If you center the track in the ring, then I believe the minimum width of the ring would have to be 4″ instead of the minimum 1″ as shown in “Item D”. Am I correct, or am I missing something?”

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Why Do DCC Bachmann Locomotives Run In Wrong Direction?

Duane asks readers:

“I have Bachmann 2 DCC steam locomotives of the same kind. One of them started moving in the wrong direction. I was using a magnet (which is under the track) that came with the Bachmann train system track to uncouple the rolling stock. While, I was in the process of doing so the train was backing up. Then, it goes in the forward direction on its own and stopped working. Did the decoder die? The warranty is no longer good can this be fixed? ”

 

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