Good choice Val. Her are a few tips that might help you. Some we've already discussed. 1. never use a soldering gun. no control, tip way too big. 2. use heat-controlled tip if you can, 700 to 800 degrees with pointed or slightly chizled tip. 3. always use flux. I use a water-based flux and apply to both surfaces with a small brush. The flux already in the solder is never enough. use either rosin-core or water-based flux solder, never use acid flux around electronics. 4. repeat, always use flux, even on nickle-silver rails since they can corrode. 5. repeat, always use flux, pre-tin copper wire by first applying flux, then heat, then solder. 6. heat the joints first, then apply solder. leave heat on joint a second or two after you think you've got a good solder joint. 7. do not move anything on the joint until the solder hardens. if the joint appears dull, you have moved something and now have a poor solder joint. 8. as pointed out, a good solder joint will flow, not ball. This is called a "cold solder joint", same goes if the solder doesn't flow up the wire, but surrounds or just meets it. Reheat the joint and add some flux if it isn't right. 9. control the solder. more solder doesn't make a better joint and looks really bad, especially when it starts to flow on top of the track or drip on the scenery. 10. Use solder-wick to de-solder a joint. 11. Alway, and I mean always, pick the iron up by the handle. The money you save in bandages and ointment will pay for a better iron someday.