Tips, Tricks & Techniques

Screenshot 2020-07-31 at 20.08.48Over the years we have amassed a collection of tips and tricks. Some of these date back to the early days of the Missenden gatherings, however the advice they offer is still relevant today.

Click on the subject headings below to explore our collection:

Soldering Metals

A set of tips and techniques from various tutors on the subject of soldering:Screenshot 2020-07-31 at 20.16.12

  • The Chemistry of Soldering – Bob Alderman delves into the chemistry that binds our models together.
  • Soldering by Bob Alderman – A comprehensive guide that covers the selection of soldering irons, the right solder to use, preparing your model for soldering and the actual technique for making successful joints.
  • Cleaning brass and nickel silver – Although not soldering as such, preparation of your material is one of the foundations of a good solder joint.
  • Soldering Simplified by Tim Watson – The CME of Copenhagen Fields and well known 2mm finescale modeller Tim Watson tells us his techniques for soft soldering.
  • RSU by Bob Alderman – Resistance soldering is becoming more popular amongst the modellers are Missenden weekends, here Bob gives the benefits of his knowledge on the subject.
  • Spirit of Resistance by David Brandreth – A comprehensive article by David Brandreth on the subject of resistance soldering.
  • Chemical Blackening – Tony Gee’s advice on using chemical blackening as a solder mask.
  • BluTack – Brian Cameron’s tip for holding things in place when soldering.
  • Acid Flux – Peter Storey’s warning regarding acid flux and his tip for an alternative.


Building Rolling Stock Kits

Screenshot 2020-07-31 at 20.18.07A collection centred around building metal rolling stock kits. The majority of these were produced by Bob Alderman and although they may have been produced a number of years ago the solutions they offer are as valid as when they were written:


Scenic Tips

Some tips on creating scenery for your layout:Screenshot 2020-07-31 at 20.22.11

  • Missenden Scenery – An extensive guide from Bob Alderman that takes you from bare baseboard to scenic layout.
  • Palette of Colours – A discussion on the colour palette and how it effects your model.

Some slides from various talks by Barry Norman:

A tip from Dave Wykes – “Simplify your scratch building by using bits of Scalescenes prints as cover layers on your own base.”


Mike Sharman's Sundry Snippets

Screenshot 2020-07-31 at 20.24.47Well known modeller and ex-Missenden tutor Mike Sharman wrote a series of short articles for ScaleFour News under the title “Sundry Snippets”. We reproduce a number of those snippets here:

  • Coupling Rods – The first of Mike Sharman’s “Sundry Snippets” series of articles tackles coupling rods.
  • Motor Matters  – Mike gives some words of wisdom on motor mounting and gear meshing. 
  • Chassis Construction – The third instalment in this series discusses matters of chassis construction.
  • Holding Things – Some notes on what can be achieved using basic hand tools.
  • Cylinders, Valve Gear, Signal Ladders & Sand boxes
  • Painting Models – Perhaps not a subject associated with Mike Sharman, some thoughts about painting your finished models.
  • Thoughts On Continental Exhibitions
  • Springing– Mike recounts the story of building his first fully sprung locomotive chassis.
  • Sub-assemblies – Ideas how to building either scratch built models or kits as sub-assemblies that can be bolted together. 
  • Lathes – A discussion on what sort of lathe to consider buying and what to do with it when you have bought it.
  • Raw Materials – Mike discusses various raw materials that we can use in our modelling.
  • Marking Out Materials – Some techniques for transferring your designs to the materials you are making components from.
  • Buildings – A discussion on the subject of buildings, in particular for Mike’s favoured modelling era, 1830 to 1870.
  • Reliable Electrics part 1 & part 2– Two snippets on the subject of building reliable electrics for an exhibition layout.
  • Radials Down Under – Mike discusses an Australian 8 wheel radial coach he wanted to model when he saw it in a museum in New South Wales.
  • Keeping it Simple – Mike continues his discussion on coaches.
  • The Biggest Turntable Ever
  • Quartering – Mike discusses that most important of subjects if you want a good running locomotive.
  • Tap Preservation – When tapping a thread it is very easy to break a tap, especially some of those smaller taps. Mike describes how to drill and tap holes without breaking your prized tap.
  • Chassis Terms – Confused by the terms you read in your chassis instructions? Mike presents a glossary of terms to help.
  • Trial By Exhibitions – a short piece on layouts not performing for their public when taken out to exhibitions.
  • A 7mm Story from Missenden – Mike Sharman recounts a tale of 7mm modelling from a Missenden weekend from some time ago.


Collections of Tips

Screenshot 2020-07-31 at 22.16.35A series of tips from the formative years of the Missenden Railway Modelling courses from Martin Brent and Bob Alderman. Plus a collection of tips from Mick Moignard.



Screenshot 2020-07-31 at 22.21.01Building your own track work makes a real difference to the look of your layout and is the only way to get realistic representation of a real location. Here we have some tips from the expert, Norman Solomon.



The use of more advanced electronics has been spreading within the hobby for a number of years now. The Missenden association with the MERG group has led to courses and materials from MERG being made available to Missenden Modellers.


Ready to Run Stock

The currently available ready to run stock is of very high quality and has been improving over the years, however there are still things that can be done to improve it or customise it to your needs.

  • RTR Wagons – Karl Crowther details ready to run wagons.
  • Upgrading RTR Models – Tim Shackleton discusses some upgrades for ready to run stock. Tim has asked us to point out that this document is several years old, the prices quoted are out of date and it may reference products that are no longer available but we think it still provides an interesting read. Tim’s current upgrading projects regularly appear in Hornby Magazine.


  • Adhesives – A guide to adhesives, where to buy them, what each type is best used for and how to use them.
  • BA tapping etc – A reference for BA sizes and standard wire gauges (SWG)