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Greg from Mi.

Greg from Mi.
How about everyone posting some free or low price things you use on your RR.
I'll start with a few of mine:
Take tin foil and cut into about 4"x4" and roll it into a ball then use pliers and keep pinching until its a square. you can paint with rust color paint and fill a gondola car. Looks just like recycled cars smashed into squares.
Another tip I use is PVC caps from home depot. use different sizes for tanks at a chemical plant. Put decals and even use leftover spruces from old models as pipes.
Your turn. come on post some tips everyone

NH Mike

CEO & Wheel Cleaner
The small plastic cups that lunch box size servings of fruit or jello or pudding come in make great disposable mixing cups for 2 part epoxy, Envirotex, mixing latex paint colors for scenery, small batches of plaster, or anything else. When you're finished just toss them away. Popsicle sticks and some of the stronger coffee stirrer sticks make great mixing sticks and are free also once the ice cream and coffee is gone.


Active Member
if you have cats and are working on your trains, have a working spray bottle armed and ready or this can happen!

Water bottle broke. LOL


I like to use the little canisters of silica {emptied if possible} they put in medication bottles as "drums" of oil drums, etc.
They also can be used as loads in a gondola, or lashed down on a flat car.They come in several different sizes for variation.
The little "pillows" of silica can be used as Feed and seed bags.They aslo come in several sizes, the smallest works best for sacs.
Painting them is another story, rouff them up with sand paper and a good primer.


The Flange Squeal
sawdust for ground cover. i got 2 big garbage bags of it from home depot, for free. it was pretty messy to die it green (i probably wasnt doing it right) but it came out ok. then i tore down my layout and wont be building another one for quite some time - so i threw the excess out...but its definitly a good filler, especially if you have a large layout.

also, tyco and life like "toys" are good for practicing weathering. i find them at just about any yard sale for extra cheap.


I use
1. Sand,
Road beds gravel road

2. Straws,
Car loads of pipe

3. pebbles,
Loads, scenic effects

4. plastic wheels,
Car loads, crap metal

plastic sprue,
track bumpers

I'll add more if I come across anything.
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sawdust for ground cover. i got 2 big garbage bags of it from home depot, for free. it was pretty messy to die it green (i probably wasnt doing it right) but it came out ok.

Yeah I got a big batch of dust from my dad's house and used a light grey clothing dye (Rit brand) from a grocery store. This yielded a very nice green believe it or not!

Ummm let's see a tip... well i dont really have one i dont think other than this: use a good track planning tool to design your entire layout down to the detail and it will go much smoother! oxi-clean containers make great plaster mixing containers for small layout spaces where only a little plaster is needed.

Greg from Mi.

Greg from Mi.
pine trees by the 100,s........

Fake Christmas trees make great pine trees. For HO scale I cut mine 2 to5 inches, trim to a point and cover with green and a little brown ground cover. You can make tons from just one tree.
Got one from a co worker and one when my mom bought a new one. Keep your eyes open


Active Member
I wonder why cats like hanging around when working on projects. Here is my cat watching me build a boat (Whiplash Sport 20 Hydro)

he's a big boy or girl!

I planon working on my stuff in a bit. Right now all the cats are sleeping, one's on my lap now, others are passed out around the apartment. But the minute I goto the table to work they'll be waiting on it for me.


Long Winded Old Fart
Pine bark for rocks, pin stripeing tape for road lines, small brass & steel bushings for car loads, real small transformers out of VCR's & radio's for flat car loads, very fine black copper wire for hanging items above your layout(can't see in a dim lit room), string for cables(dry brush w/flat silver to look like cables), plastic stir sticks for pipe loads(5000 in a case for $19.95 at Sam's), wood stir sticks for wood scratchbuilding, clear silicone for fake water out of a culvert, fish tank gravel for streams, plants around the house for tree's & foliage dipped in Matte Medium mixed w/water & a dash of Dawn dish soap, Tower Fans for Skyscrapers, Elevated roads made out of old slot car tracks, Elevated road columns made out of slot car track parts, water tanks/towers made out of 2 funnels glued together, round water towers made from round Coca Cola bottles, Crushed brick Pavers for gravel roads & track ballast, diff. colored play sand for projects, dirt for roads & ground cover, small copper tubing for lite poles, wood dowels in many sizes for projects, small beads for barrels, aluminum roof flashing for scratchbuilt metal roofs, PVC caps for fuel tanks(2" to 8"), 1/2" Gray PVC pipe for Flat Car loads, Automotive bulbs for lighting in buildings(operate on 6 to 8 volts & only use in open structures), all kinds of small electronic board parts for roof A/C units & ground A/C units & whatever they look good for., Expandable Foam in a rattle can, 1/16th & 1/8th Flat dental Floss painted flat yellow for tie down straps & on & on.
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