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North Raleigh Model Railroad Club
Articles from TRAKing Ahead
Most brass diesel locomotives tend to be noisy compared to good plastic diesels. This is the result of vibrations in the brass parts and resonance of the brass shell amplifying motor and gear noise. Plastic shells are naturally sound deadening.
A common problem everyone faces at some time is how to join flextrack together in a curve without it being slightly kinked, or in some way imperfect.
Drill and tap the proper sized hole in the center of the mold mark under the vestibule. Then screw on a top-lid MicroTrains 1015 or 1016 coupler. No shim is needed, you avoid the rough-track problems of a long shank MT coupler, and they just plain look better. Body-mount couplers are required if you add vestibule steps to the car, such as from the Gold Medal Models dress up kit.
Do you have more than one locomotive with the same number? Do you want to change to another number? If so, read on.
After a several year's experience with the Kato 2-8-2 Mikado steam locomotive, several modelers have encountered various types of problems. This article discusses these problems and recommends solutions.
One final note. When assembling the locomotive, don't glue in the handrails or you will never get access to the stuff under the boiler. They and the front support rods have to come off again to get in.
Some recent Walthers car kits, such as the well cars and the coil cars have been assembled with metal floors. Be very careful and gentle when trying to remove the truck bolster pin, as they fit tight and break easily. If this happens, drill out the remainder of the original bolster pin and use a MicroTrains pin.
There are two distinct advantages for MicroTrains 1008 low profile wheelsets on N scale layouts: appearance and operations:
Tracking of low profile wheels appears not to be a problem. Testing indicates any trackwork that is bad for low profile wheels is also a problem with regular wheels. Kinks at joiners appear to be the most serious problem affecting N scale wheels.
Now that new locomotives are being released with number board numbers installed, existing locomotives are starting to look bare. Here's how you can add numbers to the number boards on your 'naked' locomotives.
This whole procedure is a pain, especially considering it is almost a 100% bet that the numbers you want are not in a sequence and you will have to place them one-by-one. But it is worth it. You may find it easier to save up the number boards, and do several in one sitting.
The light output from the LED headlights in Kato, Atlas and other locomotives is a yellow glow rather than pure headlight white. These LEDs can be easily replaced with 12 volt bulbs from Radio Shack (272-1092, 2-pack for $1.49). Simply replace the LED with the bulb. You must also remove the voltage-dropping resistor, connecting its end points with a piece of wire. The Radio Shack bulb has bare leads, so be sure to place some insulation over them to protect against shorts.
A common problem encountered by modelers who build their layout on a hollow door is how to wire the layout. The specific problem encountered is how to fish a wire through the hollow portion of the door. There are 3 ways:
Another option, of course, is to leave the wires on top of the door, covering them with scenery. This, however, creates a problem with future troubleshooting and/or replacement of the wires, plus you must complete all the wiring before starting scenery.
You can obtain N scale kangaroos from Robert Carpenter in Australia (where else?) for A$10 plus postage and packing. You will get 6 Roos (3 gray, 3 red, 6 different poses), painted pewter. Visa and MC accepted. Contact Robert at:
Seeing this ad triggered a thought: We have seen several modules featuring a circus or a fairground, but none with a zoo. These kangaroos, along with other animals from Preisser and others, could form the beginning of a zoo module. Anyone interested?
It is highly unlikely the color of ballast you use on your track will match the color of the cork roadbed. You can save on the quantity of ballast you will need by pre-painting your roadbed to match the ballast (you don't have to cover a darker color with a lighter color). This is particularly true if you roadbed is lighter in color than the cork. Pre-painting also gives the roadbed a more finished appearance until the time you can get around to laying ballast.
Successful and smooth operation of MT 6-wheel passenger trucks requires close attention to the mounting pin/screw above them. If the pin/screw extends down too far from the car it will interfere with the center axle. The MT instruction sheet addresses this issue.
Gold Metal Models makes their No. 16044 Detail Set for Rivarossi heavyweight passenger cars. It includes vestibule steps, stirrups for diner and baggage doors, four different observation railings/gates and more. Follow the instructions in the kit.
Peco Fine Scale (Code 55) track should become the standard for NTRAK module use if for no other reason than its near-indestructibility. It will make a much stronger anchor point for the inter-module connecting tracks. The Standards Committee recommends Peco Fine Scale (Code 55) for Club use.
Some modelers have had problems with reliable coupling and operations when a MicroTrains coupler joins to a Unimate coupler. Consider the following:
Maintain your couplers. Check them on a regular basis with the MT coupler gauge and trip pin height gauge.
If you don't want to use track nails to hold track temporarily in place while the glue is drying, consider using "map pins," available in any office supply store. The pinheads are a little narrower than the gauge of the track, and will fit between the rails nicely. The pin fits between the ties, can be placed a couple of inches apart, and is easily removed.
One advantage of plastic is that it can be molded in different colors hence the manufacturer can make the various parts of the kit in assorted colors. If you want your structure to look like the real thing, however, a good rule is "nothing in the box remains unpainted."
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