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Articles/Tips

Model Railroad Information

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Tips, Techniques, Articles, Blogs and Tracks====

 Here is your connection to tons of information about model railroading.

Continuously updated.

 

There are hundreds of "How-to" articles here - more tips and techniques than you can count. Model railroad news, journal reviews, product reviews, railroad history, photos, videos, references, resources, you-name-it. New information shows up several times a month. Browse to your heart's content!

  • Jan 16, Small N Scale Train Layout

    Step-by-step creation of a small N Scale model train layout - A great way to get started, or if you just want to take a break from the big layout.

  • Jan 12, Custom Train Hobby Table

    Custom Train Table Solid Wood 8x10' 2x3' (removable middle) In northern Cincinnati area, pick up only. $100 OBO

  • Jan 11, How to Get Locomotive Sound on a DC Analog Layout

    Question about How to Get Sound on DC Layouts: I have an analog layout... If I buy an N scale loco with onboard sound will the sound work on the track? Answer: The answer is YES, but not with a regular DC transformer. You will have to purchase a special DC transformer that has this capability. It is made by Model Rectifier Corp, called MRC Tech 6. It can operate DCC sound-decoder-equipped locomotives on analog track with all the usual DCC functions including the ability to change CVs and programming of the decoders. Here is a video explaining its capabilities. https://youtu.be/NW6ZAA02-Qc Another option would be to just switch over to DCC with a Digitrax Zephyr or NCE starter system. These can operate both DC (using “00” as the code) and DCC locomotives.

  • Jan 3, Tracks: January 2021

    Tracks - a model railroad newsletter with lots of great tips and tricks on how to build your own model railroad.

  • Dec 28, Model Railroading Questions and Answers

    Answers to questions about model railroading submitted by our readers

  • Dec 27, Tracks December 2020

    Tracks is a monthly newsletter containing short articles, videos, tips and techniques of interest to model railroaders of all ages and all scales.

  • Dec 13, Collector's Items

    We just received a large shipment of mostly brand new and mostly N scale items from a collector on consignment to sell. All the items are gradually being cataloged and added to the storefront. However, if you have any interest in obtaining any particular brand or road-name at markedly discounted prices, let us know and we'll send you some pictures and prices. bymrr@building-your-model-railroad.com

  • Nov 17, Need help on track

    I am just entering the world of N gauge and would like to start with a somewhat basic and small track setup. I have reviewed some scenes/layouts, but

  • Nov 17, San Diego Model Railroad Museum

    The San Diego Model Railroad Museum in sunny Southern California is not only home to award-winning layouts, but boasts an Online Gift Shop, full of apparel, mementos, and books for any train lover. Little ones will love sporting an engineer's cap, playing with a changeable trains-former, or reading classic stories like The Little Engine That Could. Grown-ups can sip their morning cup of Joe out of a Rosie the Riveter mug, show their love of the railroad with a fun t-shirt, or put some steam in their holiday baking with a locomotive cookie cutter! The best part? Every purchase you make directly supports the museum, helping to preserve the heritage and practice of model railroading for future generations! Visit https://www.sdmrm.org/shop to see the full selection and place your order. If you have any questions, contact giftshop@sdmrm.org. Happy Holidays! <img src="https://www.building-your-model-railroad.com/images/Engineer_hat.jpg"> <img src="https://www.building-your-model-railroad.com/images/jumpinghobocar.png"> <img src="https://www.building-your-model-railroad.com/images/LocomotiveCookieCutter.jpg"> <img src="https://www.building-your-model-railroad.com/images/Trainsformer2.jpg">

  • Nov 4, Tracks: November 2020

    Tracks: a model railroad newsletter with lots of information on modeling tips and techniques, article and product reviews, layout tours and other great videos.

  • Oct 25, Model Railroad Story

    Here is a nice little story about railfanning in the mountains from MRH... <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fgY3mGTCHUM" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  • Oct 3, Tracks: October 2020

    Tracks: A model railroad newsletter bringing new tips, techniques and interesting information to model railroaders of all ages and all gauges.

  • Sep 24, Tips on Model Railroad Tracks

    Tips on types of model railroad track to use, layout design, and how to lay the track

  • Sep 17, Halloween!

    <img src="https://www.building-your-model-railroad.com/images/Halloween-rail-station.jpg" Halloween is coming up soon! I know for a lot of people, Halloween is really the most fun holiday of the year for kids of all ages - Model Railroaders included. This is the time to start thinking about creating your own Halloween diorama or train scene so it will be ready by All Saints Day! There are some great Halloween train sets, structures, and figures that would be perfect for a temporary Halloween scene that you could put up, take down and have again for next year and for years to come. These items would be good for a lifetime of Halloween fun and could even be passed down from one generation to another. Click on the link below to find out more...

  • Sep 2, Tracks: September 2020

    Another great issue of Tracks, the newsletter for model railroaders of all ages and all scales.

  • Aug 22, Tracks: August 2020

    A monthly model railroad newsletter that's full of tips, photos and videos to keep model railroaders inspired.

  • Aug 22, Realistic Scenery from Aluminum Flashing

    This is an article by Goeff Green published on this site in 2015 that I thought was worth mentioning again. This would be a great way to develop mountains, cliffs, tunnels and other structures quickly and with less mess than using plaster. You could use it as a rocky cliff, or it could provide a base to which you could add ground cover, bushes and other vegetation. If you are in the terrain or structure-building phase of developing your layout, take a look. Also, read the many comments that follow the article..

  • Jul 15, Scratchbuilding Your Model Railroad Structures

    Scratchbuilding Tips for creating your own model railroad buildings

  • Jul 13, Train Photos / Gallery

    Gallery of prototypical and/or model train photos and model railroad layout photos

  • Jul 8, Layout Command Control

    First there was DC-Analog. Then there was DCC. And now there's LCC, which may be the future of layout command control.

  • Jul 5, Ads Minimized

    You Spoke, We Listened! The ads were interfering with content. (We didn't like them either.) It actually took a while to figure out how to stop them, but persistence paid off. So now you can actually read the pages without ads all over the place! Thanks for visiting!

  • Jul 1, Tracks Issue #10 - July 2020

    Model Railroad News: Lots of information, updates, tips, techniques, layout videos, photos and supply links for serious model railroaders.

  • Jun 24, Model Railroad Craftsman Kit Structures

    Model Railroad Themed Craftsman Structure Kits: Ipswich Hobbies is a small company that focuses on delivering laser cut craftsman building kits that are based upon prototype structures. Kits are also available pre-built.

  • Jun 14, Model Railroading Product Reviews

    This page, Model Railroading Product Reviews, serves as a conduit for visitors to explore the pros and cons of tools and other products commonly used by model railroaders and other hobbyists.

  • Jun 12, Milling Machines - Honest Product Reviews

    I received an email recently from the Outreach Manager of The Saw Guy website who thought the many product reviews on his site might be helpful to our visitors. I agreed. In fact I liked it so much that I thought it would be helpful to others to create a new section on the BYMRR site specifically for model railroading product reviews, which you will see in the near future. In the meantime, check out the many reviews on The Saw Guy site starting with the page on milling machines...

  • Jun 10, Placing Buildings on Your Layout

    Placing buildings properly on your layout seems fairly simple, but if you think about it, where and how you put your structures on your layout have a lot to do with the esthetics and the realism of your model railroad. First, you may want to consider building a foundation for your structure. Most kits don’t contain this element of a building. You can make a foundation easily by using strips of styrene covered with paper or cardstock printed with a brick pattern using software like ”Brickyard” by Evans Software. If your building is on a hill, use the foundation to allow the structure to be level while the foundation follows the slant of the hill on the bottom. Second, make sure your groundcover comes right up to the edge of the structure and that your surrounding scenery (bushes and trees) are placed around your structures in a realistic way. Don’t leave big gaps between the bottom edge of the structure and the layout surface. Don’t always have your buildings lining up with the tracks. It’s much more interesting to have them set up unparallel to the tracks with roads leading to or alongside the buildings. Add interior lights to your buildings before you fasten them to the surface. Or leave the roof unglued so you can get at the interior to install or change lights. Hold your buildings in place without gluing them down by inserting wooden dowels into the layout surface precisely where the inside corners of the building would meet the surface. Then you can lift it up and put it back down in exactly the same place. Make sure you have a suggestion of adequate parking for your buildings or industries. Create walkways, driveways, fences around houses. Look at reference photos to help in creating the look you want. Don’t forget the details like people, dogs, trash cans, mailboxes, traffic lights, litter on the street, etc. [Reprinted and edited with permission from Building Your Model Railroad Newsletter, May 2011]

  • Jun 7, Blasts from the Pasts: Great Tips that Still Work Today...

    <img src="https://www.building-your-model-railroad.com/images/2x4waterfall.jpg"> Wavy Water One of the better products available for making water that we don’t talk about much is the matte and gloss medium called Mod Podge. This is great to use if you are modeling water that is wind-blown or moving. It is a fairly thick liquid that will hold it’s shape as you apply it with a brush, so it’s easy to make waves that stay where you want them. It goes on white and dries clear. After it dries, you should then apply a high-gloss acrylic wax like Pledge Future Shine to protect the surface, which is otherwise prone to get scratched. Thinned matte medium is also great to use as glue for laying roadbed, track or even ground cover and can serve as a fixing agent when sprayed over scenery to help hold everything in place. (It can also be used as a glue and sealer for picture puzzle surfaces prior to framing and hanging.) (“The Scenery Clinic: Pt XV: Modeling Water and Evergreens”, by Paul Scoles, Railroad Model Craftsman, April, 2011, p74) For more info on creating water effects, rapids and waterfalls, visit the BYMRR pages on Waterfalls and Water Scenes.

  • Jun 1, Tracks June 2020

    Tracks is a newsletter published monthly by Building Your Model Railroad containing tips, techniques, news, photos and videos of interest to model railroaders.

  • May 26, Small Projects

    <img src="https://www.building-your-model-railroad.com/images/2x4freight2.jpg"><br> Small projects - Sometimes working on a big layout can be overwhelming. You begin to think that you'll never get it looking decent. It starts becoming a chore rather than fun. If this happens to you, try breaking up the big project into little ones. Just work on one thing or one scene at a time. If you get that one scene done so that everything works well and looks good in that area, then you will feel like you've accomplished something, and you will be more encouraged to go on with the next scene. Or break away from the big layout altogether for a while and do a much smaller project like a simple coffee table layout or a seasonal diorama. You may want to try your hand at a micro-mini layout. Or go an a rail-fanning trip and take a bunch of pictures. This will stimulate you to get back to your layout and perhaps try to emulate what you've seen using your new pictures as reference photos. There are so many things to do as part of this hobby, it's mind-boggling. (Re-posted from BYMRR Newsletter, Feb. 2011.)

  • May 25, BYMRR Hobby Center

    This is our online general hobby store owned by BYMRR - starting with trains and expanding to other hobbies over time.

  • May 21, Lights

    Incandescent bulbs can take either AC or DC power. If you use less voltage to power the bulb than what the bulb is rated for, you will have a much more natural light and it will last a lot longer (i.e., Use a 6-10 volt power supply for a 12V bulb) LEDs (Light-emitting diodes), on the other hand, require DC only. They have to be connected in the right direction with the longer LED being attached to the + terminal of the power supply and the short lead (flat side of the LED) connected to the – terminal. An LED must have a resistor attached in series with one of the leads or it won't last very long. Most LEDs operate at a max of 2V and 20mA. If you’re using a 12V power supply, then you will need a 560ohm ¼ watt resistor. If your LED has a different rating, the math is as follows: (Power voltage minus LED voltage) divided by (LED current in Amps) = Resistor value in Ohms. Resistors often don't come in the exact size that you need so choose the resistor that has the next highest value. For example, if you need a 500ohm ¼ watt resistor, choose the next highest which is 560. ("Very Basic Electronics", by Bob Kendall, N-Scale, March-April, 2011, p45)

  • May 17, Humor

    Despite these difficult times, we need to maintain our sense of humor and add some comic relief to our lives. Add some fun to your layout. There are lots of ways to do this. If your layout is freelanced, you can make up a funny story about how your railroad got started, frame it and post it in your train room. There are a number of humorous train signs that can be purchased and hung in your room as well. Create funny labels for your buildings and industries. Make hilarious billboards, or scenes of people being people, like arguing with police for getting a ticket, or farm crops full of cotton swabs, or add a few dinosaurs peeking out from behind buildings. Add sounds of a train wreck occurring just as a locomotive goes around a hidden bend. Add a car wreck scene. Consider a scene with a bunch of city workers standing around looking at a manhole cover. Take pictures of a lady tied to the tracks with a villain standing by. Use your imagination. Get your family to give you some ideas. They will enjoy watching your scene develop.

  • May 1, Tracks May, 2020

    Extra scale modeling tips and techniques to help with building your own railroad!

  • May 1, Animation using Arduino's

    The following links are two of my latest projects. I have a fire station with a burning building, moving fire trucks and guys coming down the fire pole.

  • Apr 17, Model Railroad Track

    How to lay model railroad track

  • Apr 15, Model Railroad Backdrop

    How to make a model railroad backdrop.

  • Apr 15, Ready Rocks

    √<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Woodland-Scenics-Ready-Rocks-Outcroppings-Pkg/dp/B00G5AXN0I/ref=as_li_ss_il?crid=2M4RSC0A23ZCL&dchild=1&keywords=ready+rocks&qid=1586857715&s=toys-and-games&sprefix=ready+rocks,toys-and-games,131&sr=1-2&linkCode=li2&tag=builyourmoder-20&linkId=41ffb6da4a22f5a36883717e4207c1c6&language=en_US" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="https://www.building-your-model-railroad.com//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00G5AXN0I&Format=_SL160_&ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=builyourmoder-20&language=en_US" ></a><img src="https://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=builyourmoder-20&language=en_US&l=li2&o=1&a=B00G5AXN0I" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> Ready Rocks by Woodland Scenics is a relatively new way of adding rocks to your layout - whether you need rock retaining walls, outcroppings or surface rocks. These are pre-made and ready to insert into your landscape. Read more about it at the bottom of the updated page on Making Rocks...

  • Apr 1, Tracks Issue #7 April, 2020

    Tracks #7 - The BYMRR newsletter for model railroaders - news, tips, techniques, pics and vids, and more

  • Mar 13, 3D Printing

    Looking for someone to make a special product or structure for your layout that you can't find anywhere else? Send your picture or drawing to John and he'll make it for you at a great price...

  • Mar 13, The New Chandler Woodburning-Solder Tool

    This new woodburning-soldering multipurpose tool by Chandler would be a great addition to your model railroading tool collection

  • Mar 7, BYMRR Photos on Flickr

    I recently organized about 2600 of my model railroad photos on Flickr. You can even use them as a slideshow on your computer if you wish...<br><a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/gp/building-your-model-railroad/d3a6zg" title="My Train photos"><img src="https://live.staticflickr.com/4848/45446831805_839e71d62f.jpg" width="476" height="252" alt="My Train photos"></a><script async src="https://www.building-your-model-railroad.com//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

  • Mar 3, Kitbashing with Scale Plans

    We've recently completed modeling the Monon Depot in Lafayette, Indiana. Someone mentioned to me that the main part of it looked like a bank, so I lopped

  • Mar 1, Tracks-006 Issue #6 - March, 2020

    This issue of Tracks-006 contains a ton of new tips, pics and videos all about model railroading.

  • Feb 29, Lionel O Scale Hopper -Black

    Another great Lionel product, used but in very good condition. O Scale hopper obtained from Mike Basto's antique train collection. Not sure when this

  • Feb 27, O Scale Rail Car

    This is a used O scale railcar made by Lionel. It is in very good condition. Would like to get $15 for it which includes shipping. Send me an email if

  • Feb 17, Chandler Heat Gun Review

    This is a product review of the Chandler Heat Gun.

  • Feb 16, MTH Rail King RDC Budd 2 car add on set O gauge

    This is an MTH Rail King RDC Budd 2 car add on set (non powered) O gauge (O/027) The markings are Port Authority of Allegheny County, from the Pittsburgh/Monongahela

  • Feb 7, Glue Gun Review

    This is a product review of the Chandler 100 watt glue gun

  • Feb 2, Tracks Issue #5

    February, 2020 Issue #5 of Tracks - a free monthly newsletter full of tips, techniques, photos and videos to enhance your enjoyment of model railroading.

  • Jan 28, Problems with paint adhering to models?

    Tip from Model Railroad Hobbyist: Sometimes model pain doesn't want to adhere well to models. To remedy this, you can spray the area you want to paint with an <b>adhesion promoter</b> that you can buy at most auto supply stores. Before it dries, use whatever color spray paint you wish to use. It must be <i>spray paint</i>. You can't paint over it with a brush.

  • Jan 22, Tracks Preview:

    <img src="https://www-building--your--model--railroad-com.proxy.sbiapps.sitesell.com/images/Stationyard.jpg?lastModifiedTime=1577104002384"> <br><br> Here is a preview of the topics coming up in the new February Issue of Tracks... Uncoupling Tips How to Install a DCC Decoder in Any Locomotive Building Decks to Hide Switch Machines How to Get Trains to Run More Smoothly How to Use Natural Materials to Create the Best Scenery More Pics from the Layouts We Love Videos of the Month Upcoming Train Shows and Events <center>*****</center>

  • Jan 3, Model Railroad Control Panel

    How to make a model railroad control panel with remote turnout switches, accessory switches, turntable controls, etc. for your model railroad layout.