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Make Your Own Scale Model Wild West Town – Very Realistic!

Hornby A4 Silver Fox Tender Needs Body Replacement

Bill P asks readers:

“One issue that is causing me some background concerns is that I have a near perfect Hornby A4 ‘Silver Fox’ in appropriate Jubilee livery. Sadly there is some damage to paintwork on the tender and I am keen to acquire a replacement as this is one of ‘key trains’. So, if you know where I could seek a body shell for the tender or locomotive & end advise would be appreciated. In the interim I will continue to monitor eBay etc.”

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Ideas for Making Roads

O scaler Daniel asks blog readers:

” I need some suggestions as to the best material to use for roads please. Thanks.”

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Using a Diluted Cement Mix as a Paint Wash – Will it Work?

Russell asks readers this:

“I have made some PVC pipe silos which are ready for painting and detailing. I will spray a gray color for the cement silos and paint on a metallic color for the rails, silo doors, elevator etc. After that I will try some washes with dry brushing effects and see how that looks.

I thought of using a heavily diluted cement liquid as a wash to make it more real and look weathered. Will this work? I know cement doesn’t affect plastic on a bucket so it shouldn’t affect the plastic parts – well thats what I assume?

I guess the alternative would be to just mix various shades of paint wash using a light gray, with a touch of light tan, and dab of black paint to darken it in places? Has anyone tried these various options?”

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How to Light Up a Building

This question comes from online Train Model Club Member Nicholas:

“I want to light up some buildings. What size/type of bulbs and electrical supply do I need?”

The ASK A QUESTION link is under every post if you have a question you would like published.

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Clever Ways To Combine Model Railroad Backdrop Buildings Against Your Background Scenery

Clever Plans For Backdrop Yard Buildings – Click Here

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Noch Briefcase Diorama 87090

Drdaro asks: “I purchased a Noch briefcase diorama the Tirol # 87090. To my surprise there are no operating instructions. Is there anyway I can retrieve one from the manufacturer?  I would appreciate any help. I am new at this Hobby.”

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Double Heading Engines – Any Problems?

double heading model trains enginesBrian asks:

“I am running 00 gauge and wondered is there any adverse effect running double headed engines?”

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Engine Problems With Train Set

Mark Rauen makes this observation of a model train set he purchased:

“I cannot speak to anything other than what I have but…

Bachmann Diesel Express Train SetI purchased a used Bachmann Diesel Express HO Train Set. In addition I purchased a new unopened Bachmann Track Pack (Steel Alloy E-Z Track with black bed.) When I run the train around the fixed circle track it runs fine, when I run it on an oval it is fine up to about 80% throttle. When I use the turnouts the cars derail almost every time no matter what the speed. These are remote activation turnouts. And here is what happens. (Gleaned from keen observation over a few hours of trying variations of numerous adjustments and work arounds.)

When the turnouts are set for the straight away the cars can be run up to full speed without derailing. When the turnout is switched to the curve the cars derail as soon as the trailing end of the engine starts the turn.

Here is my opinion of the problem; poor design and cheap construction.

Let me explain.

When my engine is traveling straight everything is fine, when the engine starts into the the 18″ radius turn the coupler moves a bit to the left or right. (I have the old style HO Universal Horn Hook couplers.) This pushes the coupler on the rolling stock coupler, which is still moving straight, to the right or left. At up to 80% throttle the rolling stock can handle this pressure and stay on track. At full speed it will derail 1 out of 5 times. When it hits the turnout it will ALWAYS derail at any speed. The reason is the locomotive coupler pushes sideways on the stock coupler too hard and the taper of the cheap plastic wheels forces the forward truck of the stock to move in the opposite direction of the turn. This causes the front wheels of the forward truck to ride up on and over the rail. The lighter the rolling stock the easier it is to derail. I tried adding weights to the front of the stock and saw a minor improvement, 1 out of 10 times it stayed on the track at up to 40% power.

This is where I place the blame squarely on the design. From my experience the rolling stock is far too light. They added a lot of weight to the engine for obvious reasons but then they made the cars as light as possible to save on cost. It would have been nothing for them to add a weight in the base of the car or even in the trucks of the stock themselves.

In my opinion this ‘toy rolling stock’ offers nothing but frustration to new people like me and my grandson. I suspect that the weight needed to keep these cars on the track would cost the manufacturer a few cents per axle? I think this is right because that is what I paid for the material and I am not a factory buying in large quantity.

I have bought my last Bachmann product, not even used.

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Can You Ballast Bachmann EZ Track?

Another Online Train Club Member Steve posted this question:

“I’ve finally got most of my track down. I used Bachmann EZ Track. Now that it’s down I wouldn’t mind having a go at ballasting. A friend warned me against it and suggested maybe just painting it to add realism. Has anyone ballasted EZ track with any success or is it a crazy idea?

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The Difference Between a Single Slip and Double Slip

Online Train Club Member Henry J sent in this question for readers:

“Maybe the old brain isn’t working right (not an uncommon occurrence :), but I’m confused about understand the differences between a single slip and a double slip and what each does?”

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Making The Most Of Your Layout Space

Free Catalog – Click Here

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Gaugemaster Q 4 Track Controller

Gaugemaster Q 4 Track controller

Brian sent in this question:

“I just bought a Gaugemaster Q 4 Track controller. When I switch it on makes a buzzing sound. Is this normal?
Thanks. Brian.”

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Which Couplers for Block Cars?

N scaler Roy asks:

“What couplers should I use that look realistic but will never be uncoupled?”

Add your comment, or see the comments of others, by using the COMMENTS link under Roy’s posting.

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Is Atlas and EZ Track Interchangeable

Ron asks:

“Is Atlas N scale and EZ track interchangeable? Yesterday I purchased a Bachmann set 24X44 with 8 rolling stock.”

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Tightest Radius for N Scale Circle?

Charlie sent in this question:

“What can be the tightest radius (in inches) of an N scale circle? I want to create a ‘pizza box’ layout but I want it to run reliably.”

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Replacing Old Couplers With Kadee Lookalikes

Ross wants to hear what others think:

“I am looking to replace the horn hook couplers on several older freight cars. I spotted some Kadee clones that will fit into the coupler mounts on the trucks. Am I wasting my time buying the knock-off clones which are cheaper, or should I stick with Kadee. I know sometimes you pay extra for a brand name. Does anyone have experience using both?”

Use the COMMENTS tag to add or view comments. Use the ASK A QUESTION tag to submit a question to he Blog Moderator for publication.

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Twister Wreaks Havoc On Layout

Online Train Club member Allan sent in these photos to share. He said they were taken at the National Railroad Association Train Show.

tornado twister on model railroad

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Cleaning Oxidized Track Ready For Soldering Droppers

Online Train Club member Erik has this question for fellow hobbyists:

“I want to clean some old oxidized track as I want be solder droppers on various part of the track. I had a go scrubbing it using a small stiff wire brush with borax powder and some sugar soap. I’ve only done a couple of pieces as it is such a slow job. Is there a easier and better way to bring the shine back? I thought about using a fiber glass pencil, but I think it would be messy and will wear away to fast. I thought someone might know of a ‘secret solution’ of chemicals I could use to make the task easier?”

Add your comment below if you can assist Erik.

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Model Train Help Ebook

Use Tiny Railroad Micro Controllers



A micro controller is basically a small programmable computer device to help the model railroader “make things operate.” It is clever way to realistically replicate the movements, actions and functions you are likely to see on a full size railroad.

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