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If You Want Truly Photo-Realistic Plans – You Won’t Find Better!

Nailing EZ Track to Plywood

Mike sent in this question. Perhaps you can help:

“I want to nail down to plywood my EZ track. I have some Atlas track nails which are long enough. Some of the track pieces need to be drilled in order for the nails to work. Do I use a pin vise or a mini drill? How do I determine the drill bit size I need? The hole is the size of the Atlas track nails. Thanks”


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Access To Train Wheels

Roco Traction TiresRobin sent in this question for readers:

“My Roco diesel engine (HO scale) requires traction tires part 40069 which I see I can get on eBay. Problem is; I can’t figure how to fit the tires. I can’t see any screws to undo thereby exposing the wheels? I know some other engines have tiny screws to undo to access the wheels. Any suggestions?”

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Track On Cork Difficulties

Ron W posted this question to challenge readers:

“This might sound like a stupid question but I want to lay cork using the center of the track. Marking the line with the track in position on plywood is difficult. I need some kind of tool to mark the center line accurately because my eyesight is not good enough. I thought of using a pencil through the hole but this didn’t work. I concluded the marking pencil needs to be securely mounted to the truck hole. Is there a better way of doing this or even a suitable tool available?”

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Model Train Passes Funeral Gathering

There’s an old rule in this hobby to add people and animals to model railroad scenery to bring the scene to life, but this is an interesting twist to that concept. This grave-side funeral gathering was spotted by Walter at the Balatonfüred International Model-Railway Exhibition, Hungary. It certainly adds interest to scene and is something a little different from what you are likely to see on most layouts.


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Wiring on a Reversing Switch

Franklin needs help and asks:

“I want to wire a reverse switch on my turntable (Atlas), and I wanting to know if there’s any problems I could encounter/avoid.”

Send in your question by clicking on the link below.

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Hornby 08 Shunter With Sound Problem

Rick S used the ASK A QUESTION form to submit this question:

“I model British Rail in OO gauge and have a Hornby 08 Shunter that is giving me problems. When I operate it with the sound switched on it stops and starts back up then just repeats itself over. When I run it minus the sound it works fine. What can I do please?”

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Electrical Switch Relay For LED

Peter M asks readers:

I would like to run LED street lights off of my garden railway track. As LED’s only work in one direction can any one tell me what I need in the way of an electrical switch (relay) to enable the lights to work when I change direction?

Post your answer below.

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How To Scale Model Buildings To Provide Realistic Perspective

house plans scale models for railroadsFor scale model buildings that are seen as up-close or positioned in the foreground they need to be seen at 100% size. If the model buildings are 100 – 500 yards (90 – 450 meters) away then the model building plans be reduced to 90% to 100% of the downloaded size to give real illusion of distance. If the model railroad buildings are supposed to be ¼ or up to ½ mile away then the models could be reduced to approx. 80% to 90% of the full size of the PDF. Buildings that need to appear to be a mile or two away could be 30% – 50% of the full PDF size. Understandably these sizes are a guide only.

So if for example; if an N gauge building is 5 inches (13 cm) tall close-up, it would need to be 4 inches to 4½ inches (10cm to 11.5cm) tall if it was positioned ¼ – ½ mile away.

That’s one of the huge advantages of downloading PDF plans of structures – they can easily be scaled down to a smaller size. Download a free catalog at https://www.modelbuildings.org

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Converting Dad’s Layout to DCC

Trevor H sent in this question:

“I inherited my late fathers train set and only have a limited knowledge of running trains. Watching my Dad operate the trains has fond memories for me, and if I could half as much pleasure from the layout as he did, I know I would be stoked!

I am keen to learn but would but the main problem I want to rectify is that my Dads layout was never set up for DCC. I don’t want to rush out and buy lots of things without first understanding what I can and can’t achieve in the way of converting the layout to DCC. I suppose the first question is can I run a train loco that has DCC on the layout? And, how difficult will it be to upgrade to DCC? The track is already in position as is most of the scenery and structures. Will I need to revamp everything and start afresh?

If all I need is DCC control and power pack then that would make things easy? If I can get the trains running on DCC then I can concentrate on converting lights and other accessories later. I am just thinking out load and trying to get my head around how difficult the conversion will be, not that I’m not up for the challenge, I just want to work through things logically and at my own pace. Advice from your experienced followers would be greatly appreciated thank you.”

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The Range Of Downloadable Scale Model Building Plans Just Expanded Some More

Just download and print these photo-reastic paper plans and stick them to card or corflute (the latter is best for backdrop structures). They look amazing and so real when constructed. The printable plans come in OO gauge size which you can very easily reduce to 87% to convert them to exactly HO scale, or you can buy the N scale versions which you can print same size for N scale. You can also download the latest free catalog. The new website still has lots of value-packed deals with savings of between 50% and 87%, or you can purchase plans individually. The choice is yours!

Visit the new look modelbuildings.org website with a great range of new designs to download.

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Rusting Track Problems

Michael G asks readers:

“My HO railway layout is in our garage. My wife doesn’t drive so we only have one vehicle which takes up the other side of the garage. The problem is that we live just a short walk from the coast, and although you don’t see the salt spray in the air, it has had an effect on our outdoor furniture, and there’s even rust developing on the mailbox. I do my best to keep my train track clean, but I think longer term I will be fighting a losing battle with the invisible salt vapors in the air. Does any one have any ideas for preventing the inevitable problem of rusting track?”

If you would like your question published, just submit it using one of the ASK A QUESTION shortcuts.

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Create A Realistic Scene With A Fire Damaged Building

17 new designs have just been added to the range of OO/HO and N scale plans at modelbuildings.org including a fire damaged background building and a city fire station. The fire damaged building is realistically detailed to show charcoal damaged wood around the windows, soot, and even broken windows. There are so many possibilities for the hobbyist to add to the scene with emergency vehicles, bystanders watching on etc. Now available on the newly designed ModelBuildings.org website.

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Problems With #4 Switches

Ron asked:

“I use Kato N-Scale Unitrack and like it. I’m just not sure about Kato’s #4 Switches, because I have been having some problems. The back end of the switch is confusing and I’ve got several power sections otherwise the engine will stop.”

You can submit a question for publication, but make it as clear as you can so that others can easily understand your question and hopefully provide you with a better answer. There are many ASK A QUESTION links for you on this blog.

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Just Released – Download Plans For 3 City Buildings

Just released are downloadable PDF backdrop plans to construct a cinema, department store, and two shops with apartments above. These plans are available to download in HO/OO and N scale. Exclusive to https://www.modelbuildings.org

scale model cinema city buildings

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How to Stop Decals Peeling Off

Online Model Train Club Member Allan posted this question:

“I have an old reefer that looks very authentic even with the decals flaking off. Trouble is when I touch the decals bits flake off so I fear being so brittle they will disappear completely. I applied several coats of Dulcote but the problem persists. I did a google search and couldn’t find replacement decals that I liked. Has anyone else had this problem and how did they solve it? I am not against fading or peeling decals and signages because it adds to the authenticity, but I am going to lose these decals forever if I don’t do something to keep them in place. Any ideas?”

Share your thoughts with the COMMENTS link underneath this posting.

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New Website Has 12 House Plans To Download


The https://www.modelbuildings.org website has just had a major upgrade to make it easier to find your way around the huge range of downloadable OO/HO and N scale photo realistic plans.


17 new designs have just been added with more on the way in coming weeks and months. You can now click on the various links on the HOME PAGE to check out the special buy bundle deals and individual plans in a range of categories including: Residential, Industries, Towns / Cities / Shops, Railroad Structures, Farm Buildings, Shipping Containers, Wild West / Mining, Wall / Tunnels / Bridges and more.

Here are 12 new house plans that have just been added to the range.

house plans scale models for railroads


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Hobsons Bay Model Railway Exhibition

Garry sent in this great photo to share from the Hobsons Bay Model Railway Exhibition in Victoria, Australia.

Hobsons Bay Model Railway Exhibition Australia

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How’s This for a Huge Roundhouse?

You don’t often see a photo of the rear of a large roundhouse. Reg sent in this photo he shot at the Guilherand Granges Model Train Show in France. You would certainly need a lot of space to accommodate such a structure. Very impressive!Guilherand-Granges - Model train show-France

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