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Author Previous Topic: MTH SD70ace Sound Issues Topic Next Topic: Boy Scouts - UP 2010 Locomotive
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JDL3

Posted - 2010 June 27 :  8:04:41 PM  Show Profile  Visit JDL3's Homepage
I was inspired by Tony Koester's new book The Allegheny Midland: Lessons Learned to start writing down some of the lessons I've learned over the past 23 years of being a model railroader--things like the philosophy of good enough, the importance of choosing an era, locale and railway, and the fact that even though the hobby is fun, building a layout takes work.

What lessons have you learned over your time as a model railroader?

You can read what I've posted on this topic so far at http://cprailmmsub.blogspot.com/

John Longhurst, Winnipeg

Country: Canada | Posts: 386

Mark R.

Posted - 2010 June 27 :  8:52:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mark R.'s Homepage
I've learned the amount of information available on the internet is inversely proportional to how much work I get done on the layout.

Used to be I'd lose track of time at the workbench .... now I lose track of time sitting in front of the computer !

Mark.


My Custom Painting Site

Country: Canada | Posts: 2000 Go to Top of Page

JohnDM

Posted - 2010 June 27 :  9:24:58 PM  Show Profile
The down side of technology is that it could kill our hobby. I spend all of my modelling time playing electronics technician to my and my friends DCC issues.

Trying to be more positive though, I have found that the project of building a MR is huge. I have learned to do things to a "good enough standard" rather than the standard I thought I wanted, and to make a list of things to do. When I go into the layout room I look at the list for something to do that appeals at that time, rather than looking at all the work that needs to be done and stressing.

John



Country: New Zealand | Posts: 186 Go to Top of Page

atsf_arizona

Posted - 2010 June 27 :  10:04:27 PM  Show Profile  Visit atsf_arizona's Homepage
Here's my list of Model Railroad lessons learned:

http://home.comcast.net/~j.sing/#Modeling_Tips

:-) Hope this helps.



John Sing
San Mateo, Calif
http://home.comcast.net/~j.sing
========
Modeling the Santa Fe's Peavine Line (Ash Fork->Phoenix, Arizona) in the 50s and 60s

Country: | Posts: 1869 Go to Top of Page

red P

Posted - 2010 June 27 :  11:13:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit red P's Homepage
Ok, heres a lesson I learned just a couple of weeks ago.
I was working on an Athearn Genesis unit. Had it just about done, sprayed it with dullscoat and it looked great. I just decided to clean the dullscoat off the windows. So I got to thinking that dullscoat thins with laquer thinner. So I used a micro brush dipped in laquer thinner to clean the windows. BAD IDEA

Now im waiting for a replacement window set from athearn.
P



Country: | Posts: 772 Go to Top of Page

Rossford Yard

Posted - 2010 June 27 :  11:23:49 PM  Show Profile
I was once told never to solder under the benchwork while wearing shorts and took the advice. Only problem is, soldering is still painful in even a few more places if you solder without shorts.

Everything layout planners say about avoiding access holes and hidden trackage and even long reaches is true. Over time, you will wish for simpler layouts and less maintenance, no matter how big a layout you need to achieve your model railroading dream.

Picking a prototype and sticking with it keeps the buying down.


Jeff

GM of the Indiana Harbor Belt - The "Expanding Belt Line"


Country: USA | Posts: 3470 Go to Top of Page

Dave Plummer

Posted - 2010 June 27 :  11:48:41 PM  Show Profile
Always lay track with the track power on.
Hot glue is HOT!
Start with a higher resistor value than you think you need.
You'll never be finished buying locos or cars.
Blood is a price you pay in this hobby.
Any dropped part becomes invisible when it hits the ground.
Model railroading is not cool.
Know when to call it a night.

Dave



Country: | Posts: 998 Go to Top of Page

CNW

Posted - 2010 June 28 :  12:12:26 AM  Show Profile
Dave, way too funny!

I'll echo the no duck-unders, no access hatches rule. If I can't walk around it, it ain't happening. Oh, model railroading is definitely NOT cool. When I tell some people I'm a model railroader they are surprised. Sometimes it's the last words I exchange with them too. ;>

Always give yourself the largest room for curves you can.

Always make sure your benchwork is level.

Always make sure you test your track with your biggest and shortest piece of equipment. (It will always end up to be the engine you like the most though that will give you trouble on a piece of track though so test that too.)

Kinks, poor trackwork, electrical problems, etc...will kill the fun out of the hobby faster than anything else.

Make sure your couplers are all tested on a height gauge.

Use metal wheels, there is just no substitute for them.

I like the advice of finding a prototype and sticking to it. Also picking a timeframe as well really helps keep the spending under control.

Finally, have fun, if you aren't having fun find something else to do with your time.


Rockford and Indiana Railroad - THE Chicago connection!

Country: USA | Posts: 4785 Go to Top of Page

ri_e8_652

Posted - 2010 June 28 :  01:43:25 AM  Show Profile


"Unless you’re Bill Gates or Warren Buffet (who can buy his own real railroad), you don’t have unlimited funds for model railroading. You have to set a budget, and stick to it."

Yup. This is the ultimate, undeniable truth of model railroading. Period.

Unfortunately, sticking to a budget can be tough. There’s always some great new locomotive or piece of rolling stock coming out—something you just have to have. What to do?

Panic? Punt? Procrastinate?

My solution was to choose a railway, time period and locale. In my case, it’s CP Rail in the early to mid-1990s in western Canada.

Here's another clue to the crux of prototype modeling.

How does this help me stick to a budget? Easy: If it wasn’t seen on CP Rail in the early to mid-1990s in western Canada, I don’t buy it. This mean that all those wonderful new steamers and modern diesel locomotives can stay on the shelf at my local hobby shop—and my money can stay in my wallet.

Easy for you to say. Hard in practice. It's like swearing off ice cream. You know that it's bad for you...it just tastes so good!

Some decisions are easy: No SD90s on my layout—too modern. But rolling stock poses a different challenge. When a new item in CP Rail livery comes out, I check the build date. If it fits my timeframe, I research where it might normally have been found on the real railway; if it wasn’t seen in the area I model, I don’t buy it.

Yup. Excellent disciplinary tactic. Also, if you're not sure, ask someone who may know!

Along with saving money, sticking to an era, locale and railway enhances plausibility. If you wouldn’t see Santa Fe Warbonnets in Manitoba in real life, why would you expect to see them on a model railroad? That livery is one of the best ever made, to be sure, but it would look wrong on the M & M Sub.

Another big clue to the crux of prototype modeling

Of course, when it comes to how you enjoy the hobby, everything is subject to rule #1 of model railroading: It’s your layout—you can run whatever you want.

Ding Ding Ding. We have a winner! It IS your railroad and you can do whatever you like with it.

But it seems to me that choosing an era, railway and location not only saves money, it makes the hobby more focused and challenging.

No buts here. It IS your railroad. However, if you would like others to buy into your concept, this is sage advice from the esteemed Mr. Longhurst

As a bonus, it also means you won’t have to rent a table at a local flea market to sell off all that stuff you never run.

True. However, it does not provide absolution from the sin of the unwise buy. For example, before I fell under the Tsunami spell, I reserved two Intermountain F's with QSI. Basically, they are nice enough and actually fit my locale and time frame nicely, except in the area of detailing and sound. Detail-wise, they are builder fresh F-units in 1970's paint with tinny QSI UFO sounds masquerading as an EMD 567.

They would be a bear to try to fix into something that would stand up to the rest of my F-unit fleet.

Oh...the pain of the unwise purchase.

In this day and age of "reserve it or you don't get it" this pain will surely grow.

Can my dog come to the flea market? Perhaps not, but these F's certainly will!


Tom Klimczak
Lemont, IL
...CC115 at JOLIET...got my signal from UD tower and now...heading east!

Country: USA | Posts: 298 Go to Top of Page

Mark R.

Posted - 2010 June 28 :  02:01:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mark R.'s Homepage
There's also the rule about the most inaccessable part of your layout .... this is where your train will derail the most frequently. This is also the same location where a switch machine will go bad.

Never again will I build hidden staging yards or scenes that are six feet deep. Next time (shudder) it will all be on a two foot wide shelf, multi-decked and out in the open where I can actually reach everything without crawling on the layout or popping up inside it !

Mark.


My Custom Painting Site

Country: Canada | Posts: 2000 Go to Top of Page

Spikre

Posted - 2010 June 28 :  11:08:59 AM  Show Profile
with Ornery kits introduce them to"MR Hammer" !!
with even more Ornery Kits introduce them to
"MR Bigger Hammer".
with Absolutely Ornery kits introduce them to
"MR Sledge Hammer" !!
then watch the shows when the deed is done !!
Spikre




Erie,America's 1st Trunk Line !!
Piermont N.Y. to Dunkirk N.Y.,1848 !!!
Waiting For Skip's Train To Pull Into Hillside Station !!



Edited by - Spikre on 2010 June 28 11:10:05 AM

Country: USA | Posts: 5356 Go to Top of Page

WDW

Posted - 2010 June 28 :  2:21:18 PM  Show Profile
To improve the sound on IM's F7s, glue a strip of transparent (clear) styrene to the inside of the grilles, adding some silicone around the edges (and the rear door porthole) to make sure that no openings are left uncovered.

This way you keep the see-through effect, but now the body shell acts much more like a baffle, giving considerably better sound reproduction.

Of course, a chip upgrade and replacing the speaker with a Hi-bass one further improve things.

WDW



quote:
Originally posted by ri_e8_652



True. For example, before I fell under the Tsunami spell, I reserved two Intermountain F's with QSI. Basically, they are nice enough and actually fit my locale and time frame nicely, except in the area of detailing and sound. Detail-wise, they are builder fresh F-units in 1970's paint with tinny QSI UFO sounds masquerading as an EMD 567.






Country: Haiti | Posts: 206 Go to Top of Page

J. S. Bach

Posted - 2010 June 28 :  3:24:01 PM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by Spikre

with Ornery kits introduce them to"MR Hammer" !!
with even more Ornery Kits introduce them to
"MR Bigger Hammer".
with Absolutely Ornery kits introduce them to
"MR Sledge Hammer" !!
then watch the shows when the deed is done !!
Spikre


Hmmm, that's how I ended up with my tankless tank car. A friend got so ticked off at trying to assemble the tank portion of the kit that he literally smashed the tank; lots of neat little pieces! He gave me the remains to fiddle with.


Later gator,

Dave

Here comes a Yankee with a blackened soul,
Heading to Gatow with a load of coal.
......Anonymous pilot during the Berlin Airlift

Country: USA | Posts: 613 Go to Top of Page

Rossford Yard

Posted - 2010 June 29 :  08:19:01 AM  Show Profile
Actually, learning to quit when I am tired was really a valuble self taught lesson, since I tend to get angry when frustrated. As a friend one said to me, it isn't fun anymore when it isn't fun, and to me, it isn't fun if I am tired, my back is sore, etc.

Another valuble lesson is to do things in small chunks, rather than wait for some big block of time which will likely rarely come. When I was in full layout mode, I would lay a few feet of track in the morning before showering, or paint a structure and set it aside to dry, and then glue it that night.

Those are just a few examples, but if you can lay just one turnout in five minutes, its one more done rather than waiting for more time.


Jeff

GM of the Indiana Harbor Belt - The "Expanding Belt Line"


Country: USA | Posts: 3470 Go to Top of Page

Bearcreekwest

Posted - 2010 June 29 :  11:43:42 AM  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by red P

Ok, heres a lesson I learned just a couple of weeks ago.
I was working on an Athearn Genesis unit. Had it just about done, sprayed it with dullscoat and it looked great. I just decided to clean the dullscoat off the windows. So I got to thinking that dullscoat thins with laquer thinner. So I used a micro brush dipped in laquer thinner to clean the windows. BAD IDEA

Now im waiting for a replacement window set from athearn.
P


Most people mask off windows and other areas before applying paint or Dullcote . . .
Any form of organic solvent will ruin plastic . . .


Don

PRRT&HS 7555
OERM 2133
SASME

Country: USA | Posts: 1551 Go to Top of Page

Mark R.

Posted - 2010 June 29 :  12:09:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mark R.'s Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Bearcreekwest

quote:
Originally posted by red P

Ok, heres a lesson I learned just a couple of weeks ago.
I was working on an Athearn Genesis unit. Had it just about done, sprayed it with dullscoat and it looked great. I just decided to clean the dullscoat off the windows. So I got to thinking that dullscoat thins with laquer thinner. So I used a micro brush dipped in laquer thinner to clean the windows. BAD IDEA

Now im waiting for a replacement window set from athearn.
P


Most people mask off windows and other areas before applying paint or Dullcote . . .
Any form of organic solvent will ruin plastic . . .



For future reference (should you still decide not to mask) - alcohol will remove dullcote and not hurt the plastic !

Mark.


My Custom Painting Site

Country: Canada | Posts: 2000 Go to Top of Page
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